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What stirs your affections?

November 4, 2009

869617_84392121We’re interviewing Matt Chandler this weekend at the LeadNow conference here in Dallas. I was preparing some interview questions yesterday and was stirred by some things he’s said in an article with Leadership Journal. At The Village Church where Matt pastors, he believes that sanctification begins by answering two questions: What stirs your affections for Jesus Christ? And what robs you of those affections?

Those questions reminded me of my post from Monday on simplicity. I think the bottom line of what I wrote on that post deals with my own affections. And most importantly, what things might be robbing me of putting my full joy and delight in Christ alone?

In the LJ interview Matt goes on to say that “Many of the things that stifle growth are morally neutral. They’re not bad things. Facebook is not bad. Television and movies are not bad. I enjoy TV, but it doesn’t take long for me to begin to find humorous on TV what the Lord finds heartbreaking…”

I appreciate Matt’s honesty in that he’s not exempt from certain affections that could stifle his growth either. It doesn’t matter if he’s a pastor of a renowned church. The reality is that he’s human. And no one is exempt.

I was reading this morning in Proverbs 4 and in verse 23 it said to “Watch over your heart with all diligence, for from it flow the springs of life.”

I was reminded once again of where I’m placing my affections. What am I allowing myself to see with my eyes, hear with my ears, believe in my heart, ponder in my mind, and then what do my actions reveal? If someone were to take a sneak peak inside my heart, will they see that my deepest affections are for Jesus?

I hope so.

It goes on to say in verse 26 to, “Watch the path of your feet and all your ways will be established.”

It’s a challenge to watch over my heart and the path that I tread each day, but the command is there for protection so that the fruit of my life will be what God wants- not my own fleshly desires.

I’m excited to see if Matt will hit on this at the conference at some point. I’m hoping he will!

7 Comments leave one →
  1. Anna permalink
    November 4, 2009 2:40 pm

    I think this is one of the biggest obstacles that Christians face today. It makes me think of how certain cultures (3,000 years ago, or in different places, or even the Amish) are so much SIMPLER and we see that as a lack of technology or a lack of opportunity. But if I imagine myself in a world without cars, computers, internet access 24/7, errands, meetings, and image maintenance, what I’m left with is time for developing affections for Christ, for God’s word, for family and intimate friendships. Even something like a weekly Bible Study can become an obstacle if Christ isn’t my motivation. Not that I’m looking to move into a hermitage or shun all modern technology or anything. 🙂 But I think you’re so right that when we are at our simplest, we’re closest to God. It makes sense when you think about it. God created us for one purpose. Can’t get much simpler than that! It’s funny how if someone asked me what my purpose is, my first thoughts would not be so simple.

    Ok, kind of a rambling comment. 🙂 Thanks for stirring up my thoughts!

  2. November 4, 2009 3:25 pm

    Anna- I absolutely love your comment. It’s not rambling at all. Isn’t it so true about “image maintenance”? Wow. I like that term you used. I think I need a little less of that for sure.

    Simplicity definitely makes sense and it’s so foreign to our culture and to us but it’s a necessity and worth fighting for.

    Thanks for sharing your great thoughts.

  3. November 8, 2009 9:26 pm

    While I completely agree with you, Samantha, it is easy to get caught up in things like technology and as Anna said, “image maintenance.” But where I disagree is thinking that it may have been simpler in a different era or even today but in a different culture. The bottom line is that we are human and we are sinners. So no matter what there is around us, be it iPhones and billboards or tractors and hay, or even nothing but desert for miles, we will find something to preoccupy us from our primary purpose.

    I love the old hymn that so boldly states, “Prone to wander, Lord I feel it. Prone to leave the God I love.”

    Things ARE vying for our attention, there is no doubt of that. But we can not blame the things around us for our wandering hearts. We need look only to ourselves. The verse that has come up over and over for me in the past few weeks is, “Seek first His kingdom and His righteousness….” Seek FIRST! Not after we check email. Not after we bake bread. Not after we…..anything!

    Even if we set out to the wilderness with nothing but our bible the problem is that our hearts and mind come along and I know I am easily distracted even by my own thoughts! That’s something we can’t get away from. So I think the solution comes not in trying to rid our lives of “things” (thought that may be appropriate for different individuals and different times) but rather turn our gaze to our heavenly Father and only then will the things of this earth grow dim in comparison.

    Just some thoughts….

  4. November 9, 2009 2:57 pm

    Rhonda, thanks so much for those thoughts. I really like what you said about how “we will find something to preoccupy us from our primary purpose.”

    For me, I don’t want to blame those things, I’m really drawing attention to the fact that those things act as temptations to draw me away from Christ. I definitely know my heart is the real issue.

    I can see where the “simplify” theme though can get confusing where I’m trying to rid my life of “things.” In a sense, I really am because I do feel closer to God that way. For example, my husband and I just sold a bunch of our stuff to move into a small apartment on campus at his seminary. Because of the less clutter and stuff, I feel like my focus is more clear and it has taught me about how much I already have without those things.

    But maybe I should better communicate that I’m trying to figure out how to simplify in a sense that I’m not letting my heart wander into being too excessive with those things (checking email too much and not spending time with family), etc.

    Man, I’m definitely on a journey and don’t have it figured out. But I am striving to be obedient in what I know God wants me to do, especially as I was talking about in my former post about online habits 🙂

  5. Anna permalink
    November 10, 2009 1:31 pm

    I was thinking of a way to describe my sentiments better than “technology is bad” which was not the intent. I completely agree that affection and wandering are heart issues and that the products are not in any way “to blame.” On kvrk this morning they played a radio short (I think by Jason Anderson? Taking a minute? Not sure.) I’d heard it before but today it had new meaning. He talks about Abraham and Lot and where they chose their land – and what the consequences were. I think sometimes in my life I too often choose “Lot’s portion.” The attractive, easy, good looking portion when it would be more to my spiritual benefit to choose a portion that may not LOOK as attractive, but is of more benefit to my relationship with Christ. So maybe simplifying is really about repositioning.

  6. November 10, 2009 2:39 pm

    I agree with both of you completely! Our north american culture is oversaturated with business and it’s certainly hard not to get caught up in it all.

    I hope you didn’t take my thoughts as criticisms on what you were saying – that was not the intent at. all.
    I think that it only points more into what is going on in MY life and not at all a reflection on yours.

    Believe me when I say I think simplifying is fabulous! I believe it is unbiblical to be living beyond our means both in money and time. You said it perfectly, Samantha, “not letting my heart wander into being too excessive with those things” That’s briliant!

    I think the issue that was stirring up in me is that of pride. There are many people in our world who live simply but not for the sake of Christ – for the sake of being recognized as simple livers. It’s pride. And there are many beautiful Christians who love Jesus and seek to honour Him in all they do who have large fancy houses. Neither is wrong.
    I think it’s Mark Driscoll who did a sermon on something like this. He described there being 4 types of people:
    1) unrighteous poor
    2) righteous poor
    3) unrighteous rich
    4) righteous rich

    Blah. Now I’m rambling. What I’m saying is, the three of us, we’re all on the same page. Yay!

  7. November 10, 2009 5:52 pm

    Great way to define the meaning more Anna.

    Rhonda- I didn’t take anything as criticism- your comment helped me better understand what I was saying.

    I love your transparency and agree with you totally on rich people who love Jesus and have fancy houses. My parents are actually in that camp! I also like how Mark writes that. So true. It all goes back to the issue of an obedient heart.

    I love that we get to go deeper in conversation with each other- all from a simple blog post.

    By the way, thanks so much for your email today. I look forward to writing you back.

    Thank you both for challenging me today!

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