Our Affections

WHERE should our affections be centered? “Set your affections [or mind] on things above, not on things on the earth.” (Col. 3:2) And the preceding verse exhorts: “Seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God.” Beautifully clear also are the words of Jesus: “Seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness.” “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.”—Matt. 6:33; 22:37

Many people have set their affections and built their hopes upon earthly things, only to find them but mocking delusions, leaving the heart at last broken, crushed, and barren. The treasures of wealth, fame, social distinction, of houses and lands, of friends, home, and family, of power and influence are subject to change and decay. Such possessions may vanish in a night. Friends long trusted may suddenly grow cold and even become enemies. The love that glows upon the home altar may flicker and become dim or extinct. Many have found the affections and high hopes of youth and early life turn to ashes in a few years or months.

To all such the Word of the Lord should appeal with special force, when it calls them to come to him with their burdens and their broken hearts. “The Lord is nigh unto them that are of a broken heart; and saveth such as be of a contrite [sincere sorrow for sin] spirit.” (Ps. 34:18) God’s love and precious promises are very sweet indeed to those who, sad and disappointed in their earthly struggles, come to Christ for rest and comfort. There alone true blessing and safety can be found; there alone is the real treasure, far exceeding the choicest treasures of earth. Jesus said: “If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him.”—John 14:23

“Lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven,” not upon the earth. (Matt. 6:19,20) One of the chief treasures is the personal love and relationship of God and of his dear Son. They become to us an unfailing refuge in every time of need—our daily joy, solace, and comfort. Here is a love that never grows cold. This is love from which nothing—apart from our own unfaithfulness—can separate us, not even death, which to his loved ones now during the Lord’s presence will mean our blessed change “in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye,” to the divine nature, immortality.—I Cor. 15:51,52

Jesus, through the Revelator, has promised, “To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne.” (Rev. 3:21) Treasures of mind and character, too, we shall find laid up in heaven; for nothing that is good and true and worthy of preservation shall be lost to those who have committed their investments to the Lord. Very sweet also will be the spiritual relationship with others, which, begun and cherished here below, will bloom and blossom in still greater vigor when transplanted into the heavenly atmosphere beyond the veil.

Many and beautiful are the blessed and inspiring promises with which the Father and the Son cheer each of the truly consecrated: “Thine eyes shall see the King in his beauty.” (Isa. 33:17) Ye “shall be mine … in that day when I make up my jewels.” (Mal. 3:17) “Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you.” (John 15:16) “Be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life.” (Rev. 2:10) “Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection: on such the second death hath no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with him a thousand years.” (Rev. 20:6) Such heavenly treasures call for special zeal and faithfulness, under every trial and test of the present time.

As heavenly pilgrims nearing home, we are to press along, keeping our affections set more and more upon the spiritual, eternal things, laying up treasures where moth and rust cannot corrupt and where thieves cannot break through and steal. (Matt. 6:20) If our hearts are upon the heavenly treasures, the disappointments and afflictions of the present life cannot overwhelm us. We care not for the illusive bubbles of this poor world, so soon to burst and disappear. We wisely “touch lightly the things of this earth; esteeming them only of trifling worth.” They are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us. By the Lord’s help we faint not by the way but press along the heavenly road until we reach the goal of our hopes.

To be a child of God does not mean that we shall be free from all earthborn tendencies. There is a continual fight within us—the new creature against the old. “For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other.” (Gal. 5:17) Indeed the world, the flesh, and the adversary oppose our way as new creatures in Christ Jesus. Not only must our affections of the old mind be torn from their earthly props, to which they naturally cling, but they must be trained heavenward and be held there by the cords of faith, love, and devotion toward God. Our Father must be first, all else subordinated.

The old mind rebels against this requirement. But the new creature sees this obligation in a special light, which leads to the making of a full consecration to the Lord and his glorious cause. This involves enlistment under the banner of Jesus to fight a good fight against sin, entrenched in the flesh, requiring faithfulness in this warfare even unto death. In making this consecration, the Christian puts God first, Jesus next, and himself as the servant of these and the principles they represent, seeing his flesh as devoted, consecrated, given over to death in the service of God and his will, his plan, his ways. Nothing is to be done through strife or vainglory, but all to the glory of God.—Phil. 2:3

To give the heart to God is to surrender all that we are and have to his will, at any cost, even of self-sacrifice, should his will and his work require it. To take this definite and wise course is, therefore, to meet and measurably overcome all the coming temptations at once because of such a complete surrender to the will of God. Those thus fully consecrated may implicitly trust divine wisdom, love, and power and hold fast the exceeding great and precious promises. All things shall work together for their spiritual and eternal welfare. Only those thus consecrated can and do have the deep peace and joy of heart that the passing storms and difficulties of the present time cannot disturb. These keep the center of their affections right, true, and pure, remembering that a double-minded man (whose affections are not centered in God) is unstable in all his ways.—James 1:8

For all mankind there is a natural attraction to earthly things. The true Christian, however, must not only keep planting, or setting, his affections on heavenly things but he must keep rooting out the weeds of earthly desire and attraction. Ours is a life of new desires and affections. As footstep followers of Christ we seek to attain a share in God’s kingdom with our dear Redeemer, a share in that millennial reign, as the bride of Christ, to sit with him in his glorious throne for the blessing of all the families of the earth. Meanwhile, by divine help, we continue faithful to the present mission of the church—“the perfecting of the saints for the future work of service; to develop in herself every grace; to be God’s witness to the world; and to prepare to be kings and priests in the next age.”

Dawn Bible Students Association
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