Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Mortification According to Amos

I looked up the word mortify and found 3 different definitions:
1. to humiliate or shame, as to one's pride or self-respect
2. to subjugate (the body, passions, etc.) by abstinence, ascetic discipline, or self-inflicted suffering
3. to practice mortification or disciplinary austerities
I have been thinking about the mortification of sin in my life most recently. I am quickly becoming convinced that Christians (in America, especially) are not appalled by their sin as the Lord is. Ecclesiastes 3:8 calls for an appropriate time to hate. I believe that the action of hating sin falls into this time frame. The minor prophet Amos preached to the Israelites, "Seek good and not evil, that you may live...Hate evil, love good..." (Amos 5:14-15). Amos was a prophet under the reign of Jeroboam II, which was a time of peace and prosperity, but also during a time that the Israelites lacked true worship and justice. Their worship was ritualistic and routine as they were not pursuing the Lord with their hearts (4:4-5; 5:4-6). Why does God have Amos tell the Israelites to hate evil and love good? Probably because hating evil is hating evil in all capacities, even in our own hearts and lives. If I truly hate evil, I will hate it anywhere I see it. If I love good, I will love it in whatever capacity I am able. Sure, I hate things that are evil (murder, separation from Christ, etc.), but does this really mean that I hate evil? Not if I do not hate the manifestations of it in my own life. In chapel at the beginning of the semester, Joe proposed the thought that "struggling" with sin is merely "putting up" with sin. When I am putting up with sin in my life I am not hating evil and loving good. Ridding of sin takes mortification. It takes hating all that is evil, not just evil things, and loving all that is good.

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