Purposeful Choices

Do two walk together, unless they have agreed to meet? Does a lion roar in the forest, when he has no prey? Does a young lion cry out from his den, if he has taken nothing?
Does a bird fall in a snare on the earth, when there is no trap for it? Does a snare spring up from the ground, when it has taken nothing? Is a trumpet blown in a city, and the people are not afraid? Does disaster come to a city, unless the Lord has done it?” Amos 3:3-6

This passage, written by the shepherd Amos, describes cause and effect he has observed in his pastoral profession. He is perceptive to recognize them from both vantage points: we accomplish with others what we plan and agree to do, and all that happens is a result of first being set in place. Over all is God the Sovereign, Who has good plans that He puts in motion piece by piece. He intends that we be purposeful in the decisions we make, understanding the times and the likely results of our choices.

Obedience and charitable living don’t just happen; they must be intentional. My natural penchant to sloth or selfishness will always win out without my deliberately offering my body a living sacrifice to God. My limited vision and horizontal thinking will always propel my choices unless replaced with the mind of Christ and His eternal perspective. My heart will spill over in crabby ugliness and sharp words unless it is clean through and through. (Romans 7:25;12:1-2; 1 Corinthians 2:16; Ephesians 6:13-18; Luke 6:45; Psalm 51:10)

In the same vein, discord, misunderstanding, discouragement, irritability are often the result of complaining, focusing on the negative, ingratitude, a huffy demeanor, expectation of the worst in others. We set the trap by rolling the eyes, sighing in condescension, belittling others, and griping– how can we be surprised at escalating tensions and sour results? When we feed on what stirs fear and arouses anger, through conversation or an appetite for media, how can we expect peace and contentment?

Gracious God, You are the One Whose purposes are redemptive and always good. Please grant me understanding to make wise plans and the will to execute according to Your purposes. Make me keen to discern the results of my choices, and cause me to make those that bring glory to You. (Daniel 2:11)

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