Good music always makes me peaceful, especially music with outstanding cello work. There’s something about cellos that sounds yearning, waiting for the dawn to break, waiting for the hero to deliver. I can’t describe it. When I hear cello my heart is pulled upward, as if awaiting my redemption. Why? I don’t know, but everyone has something like this. Maybe yours is harmonica, or piano, or perhaps not a musical instrument at all but instead smells that bring back memories that remind you of home, of hope. I believe deep within, even in the most hardened person, there is a sight, a sound, a smell, a taste that raises our affections.
The strongest affections in life lead us.
If nothing else, life is a series of dueling affections. One affection draws us to this, another to that, and in this competition, the strongest do indeed survive. We are wired this way. The strongest affections in life lead us. Indeed there are times when we look around our lives and as, “How did I get here?” Often (not always) one must only trace back the trails of their affections. What you have loved has led you to where you find yourself.
“Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might.” These words have echoed through the ages – the call to the most powerful, most enthralling, most enduring affection in all of creation. Repeated again by Jesus and hailed as the greatest commandment, this affection is to be nurtured, and held closely as one would hold to a life ring in the middle of the raging ocean.
Your affection for God, your love for Jesus, when nurtured, when cultivated will overpower and drive out the weaker affections of this life. Have an affection for lust? Have an affection for money? Alcohol? Drugs? Or maybe it’s something more seemingly benign. Love gossip? Love being busy in other people’s business? Love being the center of attention? Love being the answer guy or girl that everyone goes to with questions? Whether you know it or not, these things drive your life. They drive your choice of friends, your choice of career, your recreational choices, everything is driven by your affections! So the question really is, who or what do you love most?
Misplaced affections need to be replaced by the far greater power of the affection of the Gospel.
An old Puritan once said, “Misplaced affections need to be replaced by the far greater power of the affection of the Gospel.” The sermon this statement came from was titled, “The Expulsive Power a New Affection” and the title couldn’t be clearer. Want your old affections to be replaced? Love Jesus more than your old affection. Believe that he is far better than the affections that have led you thus far. Nurture your affection for Christ by immersing yourself in the Gospel. In doing this your affection for God will rise above all of those old affections, effectively supplanting them. The competition will continue so far as the old affections will constantly tempt you to reinstate their former position, but so long as you continually nurture your affection for Christ, they will not succeed.
How? For some, drastic immediate changes are necessary. New playmates, new playground, new everything will be required in order to effectively break free from the power of old affections. But everyone has to make many small changes. We all must remain in the Word, in prayer, in fellowship with other believers. Beyond that, find those things that lift your affections to God. Mine is good music, especially music with cello. Anything that lifts your affections beyond the gift is legit. You don’t just love music, your love is elevated to the One who made us musical. Surround yourself with things that elevate your affections beyond the gift to the Giver of all good gifts. Let the Gospel of Christ be fresh in your heart in and through all the things in life that you cherish.