Daily Choosing Life
Seek good, and not evil, that you may live . . . Amos 5:14
At the end of my junior year of high school, I told myself I was going to lift weights every day that summer in preparation for my senior year of football. I was going to get bigger, stronger, and faster. When football started that fall I had lifted weights only once or twice and absolutely nothing had changed. Though I made a choice in the spring, that choice meant very little in the fall, as my daily behavior never changed.
This is similar to the Israelites in today’s passage. If you asked them if they were followers of God, they would have said yes. They offered sacrifices and they attended their version of church. Amos however, said that God was unimpressed as they did not live for him, but rather followed themselves. Like my good intentions of working out, their theoretical faith never led to any actual life transformation.
Amos told the Israelites that they were pursuing their own misery and admonished them to repent and seek God, so they may find life instead of destruction. The same applies to us. We may have once decided to follow Christ, but that does not mean we are doing it now. The Christian life is not just a decision we made once. It is daily abandoning evil to seek God.
Every day, we make choices to turn us towards God or towards ourselves. If we are tired of the misery of following ourselves, then we must heed Amos’ words to daily seek good and not evil, so that we may live. This doesn’t mean that if we are good enough that we will be rich and avoid trials. It means that when we pursue God, we find him. To know God is to know eternal life here and now (John 17:3).
Following God doesn’t mean life will be pain free. It does mean that we’ll stop causing our own disasters and it means that we can know joy and peace despite the trials that inevitably will come. If we want to know true life, following God is not a once-for-all decision that we make only in the spring. It is a choice we must make every day.