Seek good and not evil, that you may live; so the LORD God of hosts will be with you. – Amos 5:14
In the story A Christmas Carol, the hard-hearted Ebenezer Scrooge receives a visit from the Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come. The ghost takes Scrooge to visit his own grave and shows him the contemptuous responses of people when they hear of his death. Scrooge trembles, falls to the ground, and pleads “Good Spirit, your nature intercedes for me and pities me. Assure me that I yet may change these shadows you have shown me, by an altered life!”
This is what the Lord is looking for from Israel: an altered life. He has given them a glimpse of their own funeral, a picture of their own doom, and called them to seek Him. That is the first aspect of biblical repentance that Amos teaches us: “Seek Me and live” (vs.4). He is the only One who can deal with our sin. Forgiveness and life-change are found in Jesus Christ.
The second aspect of repentance, or the other side of the same coin, is a changed life: “Seek good and not evil, that you may live…Hate evil, love good” (vs.14,15). Those who have believed in Jesus for forgiveness will obey His commandments in love (John 14:15). When we have been rescued from eternal hell, clothed with the righteousness of Christ, and brought into favor with God, we will also desire to do His will. Those who persist in rebellion without repentance reveal a heart unchanged by grace.
Trust and obey for there’s no other way to be happy in Jesus.
Suggestions for prayer
Pray for the living fruit of repentance in your life. Pray for the Spirit to lead you into the joy and freedom of walking in the ways of the Lord.