It is absolutely impossible to go through life without any affection for anything. Many of us have experienced these affections in relationships or family, in the first car we received, in the new pair of shoes we just bought, or fill in the blank. Whether we like it or not, there are people that we will have more affections for than others; there are commitments and there are some tangible things that we will show more love to than other things. An online dictionary defines affection, simply, as,
“A tender feeling toward another; fondness.”
If that’s the case, then shouldn’t we have major affections for God? Isn’t He the One, if anyone, who deserves our affections? I’ve never heard of a loving relationship that has zero affection. Let me visit some key ways to increase your affections for God, and the result of doing so.
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Prayer is one of the most important ways to grow in our affections for the LORD. Jesus says in Matthew 6:9-13 that,
“When you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you.
And when you pray, do not heap up empty phrases as the Gentiles do, for they think that they will be heard for their many words.
Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him.
Pray then like this: “Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name.
Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread,
and forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.
And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.”
Prayer is a way that God reveals Himself to us. It is not used to change God, but to change us and make us more like Jesus. Simply put, prayer is communication to the Most High, and shows utter dependence on Him. It communicates that He is the only one that can make it happen. We can praise God for His character, victories over sin that we have been having, our families, jobs, school, or anything else we can think of.
Prayer shouldn’t just be used to ask God for stuff we want. You know that person that will only holla at you when they need/want something? Yeah, don’t be that guy. The Bible says we should be praying continuously. Keep praying because you will keep hoping.
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The Bible is the living word of God; it communicates to us who God is and this is where He reveals Himself and His plan for the free gift of life that He has given us. If you want God to tell you about Himself, this is where it’s at! Open that bad boy up. 2 Timothy 3:16-17 tells us that,
“All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.”
There’s nothing more humbling than looking at Jesus and seeing how much I fall short of Him. My affections grow for the LORD because as I see His holiness, I in turn see my sinfulness and how much I need Him daily. I see more and more what Jesus loves and what He hates as he transforms my heart through scripture. Chew on these scriptures to see how important the word truly is in growing with God:
So Jesus said to the Jews who had believed him, “If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”
Therefore put away all filthiness and rampant wickedness and receive with meekness the implanted word, which is able to save your souls. But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who looks intently at his natural face in a mirror. For he looks at himself and goes away and at once forgets what he was like. But the one who looks into the perfect law, the law of liberty, and perseveres, being no hearer who forgets but a doer who acts, he will be blessed in his doing.
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When you study the Bible, you’ll meet the Author. You can study Huckleberry Finn all day but won’t ever meet Mark Twain.
Have you ever been around a person for so long, that you begin to pick up habits they do? I definitely have.
Not only should we be influencing the people we hang around, but they also influence us. There is just something about the contagious phrases, actions, attitudes, and passions that we pick up from the folks we hang around. My question to you is, are the people you chill around most people who increase your affections for God? Or are they people who dial down your affections for Him? Let’s see what the Bible has to say about this.
1 Corinthians 15:33
Do not be deceived: “Bad company ruins good morals.”
Whoever walks with the wise becomes wise, but the companion of fools will suffer harm.
Depart from me, you evildoers, that I may keep the commandments of my God.
Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the wicked, nor stands in the way of sinners, nor sits in the seat of scoffers;
but his delight is in the law of the LORD, and on his law he meditates day and night.
He is like a tree planted by streams of water that yields its fruit in its season, and its leaf does not wither. In all that he does, he prospers.
The wicked are not so, but are like chaff that the wind drives away.
Now this is not saying that we shouldn’t be with unbelievers. How can they believe, if no one preaches, Romans 10 mentions. This is saying that we need to be wise with who we call companions. We need to check and guard our hearts to make sure we are being challenged, encouraged, and corrected by the company we keep, while balancing pursuing unbelievers and showing them the love of Christ. I encourage you (if you haven’t already) to find a solid, biblical church that pushes discipleship and life groups and just serving one another. Though I have not reached the prize yet, as Paul said, most of my growth has come from being in community.
Remember that if we love one thing, we hate the other. If our affections for God are growing, then our hatred towards sin is also growing.
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I hope you are uplifted by this post, as I was encouraged even as I wrote it. I don’t write as one who has mastered all of this –I struggle with sin and its root as any other believer does. I only write as I reflect on this standard myself, and try to help others to do the same.
Continue in repentance and bearing fruit brothers and sisters.