Your Affections

 “How about your heart, is it right with God? That’s the thing that counts today. People only see you, just as you are outside. Jesus really knows you, for He sees inside. So, how about your heart, is it right with God? That’s the thing that counts today.” So go the words of an old hymn, How About Your Heart?  As used in Scripture, heart refers to the mind, thoughts, feelings, desires, sentiments or affections.  It refers to the “middle” of our being, or the control center–the “Central Processing Unit” (CPU).  It is where we make the decisions that affect what we do, how we act, and what we are  becoming. The Psalmist wrote: “Delight yourself in the LORD; and He will give you the desires of your heart” (Psa. 37:4). John Piper said, “The will is ultimately governed by the delights of the soul.” 

     Every day there is a battle for our affections. We are being pulled in many directions.  In the Old Testament, Solomon warned us to “Watch over your heart with all diligence, for from it flow the springs of life” (Prov. 4:23).  In the New Testament, Jesus, in the “Sermon on the Mount,” told us not to lay up treasures in heaven rather than on earth, saying: “for where your treasure is, there will your heart be also” (Mt. 6:19-21).  And the Apostle Paul wrote: “Set your mind (affections) on the things above, not on the things that are on earth” (Col. 3:2). 
     We recently had a missionary at church who spoke on three affections about which Jesus spoke. First was The Affection for a PLACE, based on Mt. 8:18-20. A scribe had said to Jesus, “Teacher, I will follow You wherever You go.” To which Jesus responded: “The foxes have holes, and the birds of the air have nests; but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay His head.”  In other words, Christ should have a greater place in our life than any physical place on earth. We are aliens or sojourners here, as Peter wrote in his first epistle (I Pet. 1:1; 2:11).  As Paul wrote in Phil. 3:20, our true citizenship is in heaven. “This world is not my home, I’m just a passing through…”  Too often we are unwilling to leave the comforts of our home and location to follow the Lord’s leading in our lives, indicating our affections are not set on things above but on things below. Are you willing to go wherever God should lead you?
     Second, we have Affections for PEOPLE.  In Mt. 8:21,22, we read of another would-be follower of Jesus saying, “Lord, permit me first to go and bury my father.” Jesus replied: “Follow Me; and allow the (spiritually ) dead to bury their own (physically) dead.”  We have the natural tendency to put our affections for people above our affections for the Lord. In Luke’s gospel, we read of another who said, “I will follow You, Lord; but first permit me to say good-bye to those at home” (Lk. 9:61). Jesus responded, “No one, after putting his hand to the plow and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God” (v. 62).  Then later in Luke we have a rather difficult statement of Jesus recorded: “If anyone comes to Me, and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be My disciple” (Lk. 14:26).  So primary was the disciple’s love for Christ to be that his affection to his closest kin, and even himself was to be “hatred” in comparison. Abraham, remember, when he was called out of Ur of the Chaldees, had to leave both his PLACE and his PEOPLE to follow the LORD’s leading.  How often have believers been held back from “Taking up their cross and following Jesus” because of affections for people. But, remember Jesus’ promise in Mk. 10:28-30: “Peter began to say to Him, ‘Behold, we have left everything and followed You.‘  Jesus said, ‘Truly I say to you, there is no one who has left house (place) or brothers or sisters, or mother or father or children (people) or farms, for My sake and for the gospel’s sake, but that he shall receive a hundred times as much now in the present age, houses and brothers and sisters and mothers and children and farms, along with persecutions; and in the age to come, eternal life.”  Even if we have to leave places and people to follow Christ, God has a big family and we meet new “brothers and sisters.”  Give your heart (affections) to that which really matters–eternal things–and you will be fulfilled.
     And also, when you think about it, when we hesitate to speak out for Christ, to witness to someone, it is often because we are  more concerned of what people may think or say or do than of what Christ thinks.
     Finally, Jesus spoke of The Affection of PURSUITS.  Going back again to Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount, Jesus gave this exhortation: “But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness…” (Mt. 6:33). He was saying, “Make My pursuit your ultimate affection, not careers or money or fame or family or friends. What are you pursuing in your life?  Where do you find your significance?  Is Christ the focus of your life, of your pursuits?  Are your willing to take a risk for Christ? It costs to be disciple of Christ. Are you willing to count the cost to follow Him?
     Jesus cares about our “heart condition.” If He has our heart (affections), then the other areas will fall into place: our affections for Place, for People, and for Pursuits. Is Jesus first and foremost in your heart?  “How about your heart, is it right with God, that’s the thing that counts today” (cf Psa. 73:25,26). 
 
                                                                                                        Forever His,
                                                                                                            Pastor Dave
 
    
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About Pastor Dave

Until my retirement 2 years ago, I pastored an independent Bible church in Northwest Montana for nearly 38 years. During that time I also helped establish a Christian school, and a Bible Camp. I am married and have children and grandchildren. The Wisdom of the Week devotional is an outgrowth of my desire to share what God is doing in my life and in our world, and to challenge you to be a part.
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