Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Spiritual Growth, pt. 2

There is a dynamic at work in the human heart that I'll term the Allegiance-Affection Dynamic.  Essentially, I understand this dynamic to display for us how the two (allegiance and affection) play off one another.  I'll state the relationship like this:
Allegiance determines affections.
Affections promote allegiance.
I'll take the first one and point you to Matthew 6 where Jesus states, "Where your treasure is your heart will be also."  Do you see the principle in that verse?  Where your treasure is your heart is.  Where your priority is your passion is also.  Where your allegiance is your affection will be.  Whatever you give yourself to you will have affection for.

Admittedly, some want to say that you live according to your passions.  That's true in this sense:  if you worship your passions, appetites, desires, or longings, you will live according to them.  And whenever you see people "following their passions," you can be sure that their allegiance is to seeing those passions fulfilled.  Even then, their allegiance to themselves has created affection for themselves.  But it begins with allegiance.  You don't wake up one day with passions and affections.  They are created as you follow your allegiance.

On the good side of that, I'll point to people who have walked through horrendously hard times in marriages and because of their allegiance to one another have affection for one another on the back side of it all.  I can think of two couples in our church who have lost babies and despite the statistics being against them, are still together and have wholesome, healthy, affectionate marriages.  Allegiance determines affections.

And affections also promote allegiance.  They don't have the determinate power that allegiance does over affection, but there is the prominent work of promotion.  Think of meeting that guy or that gal.  You have a few laughs and make a memory or two on the dance floor.  And then you go home and cannot quit talking about them to your roommate, friends, and everyone else who will listen.  You spend your time thinking about them and planning to see them again.  Your affection has promoted your allegiance.

On the spiritual plane, this is why we determine to do whatever it takes to follow Christ after a great camp or retreat experience.  The mountaintop high that is the fear of every student pastor actually can promote greater allegiance in the student.  The heights of that marriage retreat and the closeness you feel there can make a difference in the level of commitment once you get back to the warp and woof of life.

I wrote yesterday on the need for Jesus to be the treasure of our lives.  That's the allegiance question we must answer multiple times each day.  But what about affections?

Let me ask you two simple questions.  What is it that stokes your affections for Christ?  What is it that douses your affections for Him?

For me, it's pretty clear.

Affection killers:  not enough sleep, too much TV and internet and general "entertainment," and not enough eyeball to eyeball time with my wife.

Affection lighters:  consistent time in the Scripture, experiential worship, good books, a solid conversation (especially with my wife), an inspiring story, and watching kids play.

The good part is that when you identify them, you can go to work on them.  And avoiding the killers and engaging the lighters is the right prescription to see the Allegiance-Affection Dynamic work.

But that's just me thinking thoughts...

1 comment:

  1. This from the gadfly, "Great post!"