I'm thinking a lot this week about timeline. Are you blessed because you are poor in spirit or are you blessed to be poor in spirit or are you blessed so that you can handle being poor in spirit?
Does God require doing justice, loving kindness, and walking humbly in that order? Or can I walk humbly first and then love kindness and do justice?
Pride is A#1 on my list of recurring deadly sins. I struggle with it every single day personally and professionally. It usually takes the form of envy, but often I'm thinking more of myself than I ought (eg. "If only they would listen to me...") As I reflect on the requirements of God as laid out in Micah 6:8 in light of my own prideful nature, I think that it would be really hard to walk humbly with God if I was already doing justice and loving kindness all the time.
In the words of the great Meatloaf, "two out of three ain't bad."
But in reality, two out of three is only a 66% and, at least in the house I grew up in, a D was a lot worse than "ain't bad."
So can I work on humility first and then look for works of justice and kindness to love? Probably. This is probably less a prescriptive timeline than it is a cycle of life. If you are walking humbly with God, you are doing justice and loving kindness out of habit and humility, and when that pride monster starts to sneak up on you, the works of justice and loving of kindness morphs into works of self-congratulation and the love of accolades, which, as far as I can tell, the Lord doth not require.
I guess I'll get back to work on the humility thing because 0 out of 3 ain't an option.