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Read:

  • Amos 1:1-6:7

“Seek Me and live…seek the Lord and live…Seek good, and not evil, that you may live; and so the Lord, the God of hosts, will be with you, as you have said.” –Amos 5:5, 6, 14, ESV

Convicted. Reading Amos, conviction raises up from my heart. It first started with shame; shame that though Amos spoke tremendously difficult words, I cannot seem to speak life-giving words of the gospel. But the Spirit of God does not shame. He brought me through to conviction. Not for what I do not say, but rather, for how I should love.

Amos did not relish speaking words of destruction over Israel, but he understood the greater truth. Amos understood that each word chosen meant another opportunity for the people to turn back to God. Whether the words spoke of destruction or restoration, the prophet’s message from God consistently resonates as this: turn back to God.

It is not my words that need fixing. It is my heart. Do I love the people around me enough to discern which words to speak and which words to keep? Do I love the people around me, the ones the Spirit presses on my heart to pray for salvation, do I love them enough to put aside my wondering thoughts of how they will take the message? The answer, unfortunately, has been I do not.

If I cannot love my neighbor, can I love God? Maybe by taking the pressure off of the person before me and instead focusing on the call God gave me…but I feel it an escape route. If God wants to develop a deep love for neighbors, I cannot shy away from the true purpose. To repackage it as legalistic obedience ruins the very heart of the action. And that is the source of my problem. I so wanted it to be a checkbox that I hesitated to say anything. And maybe the Spirit allowed that to protect the poor soul to whom I am to show love, letting me get my mind together first so as not to ruin the chances set before me.

Remembering why:

“Hate evil, and love good, and establish justice in the gate; it may be that the Lord, the God of hosts, will be gracious to the remnant of Joseph.” –Amos 5:15, ESV

That the Lord God may be gracious to my neighbor. That the Lord God may be gracious to me.

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