Edwards definition of "affections" is – the passions that move the will to ACT. He cites metaphors like running the race (Gal 2&5), wrestling with God (Gen 32), and striving for the prize (1 Cor 9; Phil 3). "The exercising of the will is nothing more than the AFFECTIONS of the soul."
Edwards writes that "every true disciple of Christ loves him above father and mother, sister and brother, spouse and children, land and possessions and even their own life."
I found this statement from Edwards quite interesting especially in light of the fact that he wrote it in the middle of the 17th century, over 250 years ago:
"When we look at the world, we see that people are exceedingly busy. It is their affections that keep them busy."
This was before radio, tv, internet, cars, electricity! Imagine how much more busy we are now that we have all this stuff to keep us distracted from the pursuit of God. To align with Edward’s theme, these things are increasingly vying for our "affections."
Edwards brings it home by tying the concept of affections into a practical reality. He writes, "a person who has a knowledge of doctrine and theology only – without religious affection – has never engaged in true religion."
This statement goes right along with something I tell myself and others with regularity. It is the journey from Head to Heart which seems to be short, but can often be the longest journey of all. If we are not living out those things which we hold dear than our faith is dead.
The final segment in this reading illustrates that "there are thousands who hear the Word of God, who hear great and exceedingly important truthes about themselves and their lives, and yet all they hear has no effect on them, makes no change in the way they live."
Are you allowing the Word to guide your life and fill you up with compassion for humanity today?
LOVE GOD, LOVE OTHERS – Deut 10:12-22