Stirring your Affections for Jesus
Barely trying to love with my all
A large part of me is still in limbo, in a land between struggle and expectant joy. I'm in a place where loving God and seeking Him is not easy. There is an incongruity in my mind where I am uninterested in nurturing my relationship with God and yet I long to be close to Him. I walk around aimlessly and thirsty for Him, yet I am distracted in my prayer and time with Him. Does anyone else do this?
And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ (Mark 12:30 ESV)
The Holy Spirit reminds me that I ought to love God, which is to pursue a knowledge and relationship with Him, with all my heart, all my soul, all my mind and all my strength. I've barely tried to love God with my all. Still, He reminds me to do so with my everything, even when my desire doesn't come easy.
A Fear of Sin Revealed
Historically, when I look back at my past, I go in cycles of a desire to be affirmed work towards position or place within the body, and when I'm acknowledged or affirmed as a leader, I shortly have a big burn out and break down. Listening to this sermon earlier from a Desiring God Conference, I'm convicted that I have forgotten the gospel in that cycle. My affirmation should not come from having a place or position in the body, and secondly, having a position of leadership doesn't mean you have to have it all together. Usually when I've been affirmed in the past as a leader or deacon within the body, shortly after I realise how far I fall short. Instead of turning to Christ for my forgiveness and repent and having my affections for Christ stirred in me, I turn to works to try and cover up my sin and wretchedness.
But I have this against you, that you have abandoned the love you had at first. Remember therefore from where you have fallen; repent, and do the works you did at first. If not, I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place, unless you repent. (Revelation 2:4-5 ESV)
I realise that now in my six and a half years of being a Christian, the joy of the salvation and forgiveness that I had in Christ is not as when I was a young believer. Somehow I fear that man would discover how ugly my heart still is uncovered and I don't believe that I ought to be in any position of leadership with the sin I still have. Somehow I have a false perception of how I view my leaders and feel that I don't measure up to them.
I remember this verse from the Psalms and am reminded that not only is the joy in the Lord my strength but that God can restore to me the joy in my salvation.
Restore to me the joy of your salvation, and uphold me with a willing spirit. (Psalm 51:12 ESV)
Finding the things that stir my affections for Jesus
I'm also reminded that I ought to pursue those things that stir my affections for Christ and acknowledge and discern the things the rob my affections for Him. If I am to consider the things that make me delight in the person and work of Jesus, here's a brief list.
Things that stir my affections for Christ
Spending time in the word and having the Holy Spirit reveal a deep truth to me through it
Geeking out in theology
Long walks with conversations about Jesus
Speaking the gospel into situations
Finding and taking photos of the beauty around me on long walks or drives
Writing/blogging about the person and work of God in my life
Teaching the Gospel and the person and work of God to people
Watching dogs or animals play and experience joy
Hearing and reading about Christian testimonies on storyframes.org or other sites
Being able to observe people who are being transformed by the gospel
Ministering and serving those who are struggling
Being bored and quiet where I can think and process
Spending time in prayer and intentional face-to-face time with Christ
Reminding myself of what Jesus saved me from and how He saved me
Things that rob me of affections for Christ:
Being concerned about web traffic or my "fame"
Busyness and chasing after distractions
Binge-watching TV shows
Allowing myself to participate in slander and gossip
Obsessing about the latest gadget, travel destination, style
Comparing my life with others through social media
Being ensnared on social media
Belittling and refusing to put my sin to death
Being distracted and not fully present with those I'm with
Failing or refusing to bring my sin to the cross
How about you, what stirs or robs your affections for Jesus?