As we dive deep into the book of Amos, we might find ourselves surprised by some of what we hear and read. The themes in Amos are weighty and sobering and, at times, overwhelming.
So, maybe it’s time for a little check in. How are you responding to this series?
Some of us may be tempted to just avoid the subject – to bide time through this series until we can get back to something more encouraging. That’s a natural reaction! Certainly no one would call this series “fun.”
Others may be left throwing up our hands in despair. “Injustice is everywhere and has been for thousands of years! Is there really any hope for change?” Again, that is an understandable response. Trust us, we get it.
We know that it’s not always easy to know what to do in response to a series like Blind Spots, and we want to help you. Here are a few suggestions based on your natural reactions to the series.
- First, it comes back to grace. Charles Yu’s opening message about grace should be in our hearts and minds always as we go through this series. There is absolutely nothing that can make God love us more or less. That is grace. But that grace is meant to lead us to transformation, and that change isn’t always easy. In Charles’ own words…
By choosing to follow Jesus, you’ve given God permission to mess with your life. I’m not exaggerating. God messes with people. He’s been doing this for thousands of years. You can see it clear as day on every page of church history. Story after story. If you think you can become a Christ-follower and keep God at arms-length, you are deluded. If I’m sounding like this is personal, that’s because it is.
When I became a Christ-follower, I wanted salvation; I did not want transformation. During my high school years, I occasionally went to the church high school group, and I was always the one sitting way in the back, totally disengaged. And that’s because they were always talking about stuff like becoming more humble or gentle or kind, and I’m sitting there thinking, ‘What is this stuff? This is crazy! Why would I want to become humble? What a strange thing to want?’” I liked feeling superior to people, thank you very much. I liked being contemptuous of other people, especially other high school students. (Those of you in high school, you know what I’m talking about.) And I went through high school thinking I don’t have to change anything to follow Christ.
And then God messed with my life. And so here I stand telling you that if you think you can follow Christ without being transformed you are deluded. Don’t you realize what you’ve done? You’ve given the creator God of the universe permission to turn your life upside down. And he’s good at it. He’s had a lot of practice. So I don’t recommend fighting him. I recommend cooperation.” Charles words are definitely challenging, but they show that we are not alone! You are in this transformation process with others who are figuring out what it means to follow Christ and be open to transformation.
- With that message of grace in mind, for those who feel a natural temptation to “look away” and carry on with life as usual, we would encourage you to try to keep your eyes and ears open throughout this series. The Western world continually tells us that our personal comfort is of utmost importance. The message of Amos is very different from that, and it feels unnatural (and uncomfortable, to say the least). Recognize that the message of Amos is still the Word of God and important for us as we follow Jesus.
- For those who are tempted to despair, don’t give up! Yes, matters of injustice and tribalism and true worship are daunting, but God has not left us alone in them. He has given us the Holy Spirit to empower us – to guide and give us hope. Practice remembering that (and reminding others of the same!).
We’ve written a prayer to use both individually and as a community to help us, no matter how you’re feeling in response to Amos… Our hope is that you would pray it regularly throughout this series. Let it provide words, helping us talk to God about what we’re learning together, as well as to ask Him to help us see in new ways.
Some ideas on how you can use this:
- Put it in your Bible to use in your regular time with God.
- Pray through all or parts of it with your family or roommates at dinner.
- Consider recording yourself praying it on your phone, and then listen to that recording on your way to work or school.
- Pray through parts of it, or all of it, with your life group.
You can download the prayer by clicking the images below.
We’ve also created one you can download onto your phone.