Set Your Affection
(Jer. 9:23-24, Col. 3:2, Gal. 6:14)
The apostle Paul had a singular focus upon the Lord Jesus. Considering His experience with the Lord on his way to persecute the church, I think we should not be surprised. Blinded for 3 days after hearing the Lord so directly speak to him got his full attention. The Greek in the reference in Colossians gives the idea that we are to be disposed to the things above and it is emphatic. Translations express it as the title says. We must first have our spirits quickened by the Holy Spirit, by Christ. It may not be as intense as Paul’s experience, but without His Spirit, the words I reference from the Bible hold no meaning for us.
We must, having begun in the Spirit, continue to seek after God as Paul wrote. Keep seeking the things above not the things upon the earth. And here his emphasis is on the One who sits on the throne. Where is your affection? I ask myself where is mine? Let’s not stay in the question. Let us choose and set our affections, our mind, our disposition upward toward the One Lord, Jesus Christ. He is alive. He has all authority. Apart from Him we can do nothing. And we can know our place with Him in heaven, in the kingdom of God.
The earth is full of distractions. The Lord has created it and in the earth He gives much that we can enjoy. So we must remember to set our affection above. We are easily distracted and take up causes, social, political, environmental, medical, legal, educational, and other concerns. All are true concerns and we may be employed in such arenas. And of lesser or little importance we follow entertainment, sports, and celebrities. For me, some of these lesser earthly things have been a diversion but much of it has lost its luster, its attraction. That is not complete, I admit. I still watch sports.
I get concerned at the volume of Facebook posts by believers that amplify the earthly, especially political issues. In our day, one cannot separate earthly government from politics and the struggle for earthly power and agenda. Jesus is not there. He never went there and does not go there today. Of course He has people who work there but what is His purpose? What does it mean that the Spirit asks, “Can a nation be saved in a day?” Really, we think a collection of a certain people in a particular geographic boundary, under a particular form of government can all be saved in a day? Nonsense. When Abraham was one, I called him, says the Lord and he left the world of his day. That process has never changed. Were 3000 saved in a day at the time of Pentecost? Yes. But others mocked.
Believing that one political nation is better than another is a distracting thought at best, and spiritually dangerous at worst. It leads to exalting an earthly system that will ultimately pass away. To be sure those governments which allow personal freedoms and acknowledge freedom of conscience allow for the gospel to proceed. But it also allows for every bad choice. Don’t we see that today? Every government in the earth is part of the world and we are told not to love it. I hear believers boast in their country. Read the referenced scriptures and read their context. We are to boast in one thing, that we know Him. And I would remind us it is a two way street, we are to open our hearts that He, Jesus, would know us.
Through Jeremiah, the Lord spoke of those among Israel who were not circumcised in heart. Read the rest of the referenced chapter. That heart circumcision is the work of the cross as Jesus comes to know us and search out our true affections. He would clean us out, searching the thoughts and intentions of our hearts. If we claim to be believers, the words of Jeremih are for us if we have not, like Paul, learned to boast in the cross of Christ, by which we are crucified to the world, and the world to us. This is process, but it must have its work in us. Let us press on to know Him, and be known by Him. And let us boast in Him and His lovingkindness, and His justice, and His righteousness. Set your affection on things above where Jesus is seated.