Affections of Your Heart

Affections of Your Heart

So above all, guard the affections of your heart, for they affect all that you are. Pay attention to the welfare of your innermost being, for from there flows the wellspring  of life. Prov. 4:23 (TPT) Every individual would do well to aspire to this exhortation, for the sake of our personal and relational health. In a recent post entitled, A Loveless Marriage, I make this point: When it’s just you and Jesus, alone in prayer, can you grasp the fiery affection that Jesus feels towards your spouse? In the realm of your marriage, this is the fire of love from which all other fires catch their flame.

Relationships are bolstered when the affections of your heart are connected to the affections of HIS heart.

New Heart

As a young believer I was directed to a passage in the Old Testament, which reflected the born again experience. I will give you a new heart, and I will put a new spirit in you. I will take out your stony, stubborn heart and give you a tender, responsive heart. Ezek. 36:26 (NLT) What I learned was, that once your life is fully surrendered to Christ the affections of your heart are under the influence of the Holy Spirit.

True to Ezekiel’s prophecy, millions of us have received a spiritual heart transplant. I received mine forty eight years ago and I’ve grown healthier by the year. Charted by graph, this would not look like a long “upward only” line; but I can say that by His grace my heart has been enlarged.

Inside Out

Let’s compare our spiritual heart to our natural heart.  The heart pumps blood throughout our bodies, providing oxygen and nutrients.  If this process is hindered, you will weaken and eventually your very life will be threatened. Spiritually, we need to have a continuing stream of life flowing within us. If this process is hindered, you will weaken and eventually die spiritually. The pure source by which the affections of your heart become life giving is the Presence of the Holy Spirit inside of you. Christ abiding in us fuels this inside-out process of life.

But along with supplying life, the blood being pumped through our bodies, carries away carbon dioxide and waste. Jesus makes it clear that we need the same type of process in order to keep our hearts pure.

Whatever comes from [the heart of] a man, that is what defiles and dishonors him. For from within, [that is] out the heart of men, come base and malevolent thoughts and schemes, acts of sexual immorality, thefts, murders, adulteries, acts of greed and covetousness, wickedness, deceit, unrestrained conduct, envy and jealousy, slander and profanity, arrogance and self-righteousness and foolishness (poor judgment). All these evil things [schemes and desires] come from within and defile and dishonor the man. Mk. 7:20-23 (AMP)

Graft Rejection

The greatest risk facing natural heart transplants is “graft rejection.” Approximately 20% of transplant patients are no longer alive two years after the operation due to the heart being rejected. When a transplanted organ comes into your body, your immune system considers it an infection and fights against it. The old organs are in essence saying, “We were here first and you don’t fit in. We are not about to change and adapt to accommodate you.” The main issue at stake is medically controlling the rejection.

The Book of James describes the spiritual heart transplant. With a humble spirit receive the word [of God] which is implanted [actually rooted in your heart], which is able to save your souls. Jas. 1:21 (AMP) With a sensitive spirit  we absorb God’s Word, which has been implanted within our nature, for the Word of Life has power to continually deliver us. (TPT)

It’s the new heart coming to replace the old, yet not without resistance. I sometimes hear the refrain of rebellion from within me, my old false self, the old organs, musing as to whether or not they want to surrender to being replaced! My carnal DNA rages against the new seed of Christ forming in me.

Graft rejection must be controlled and conquered.

Growth Conflict

The new heart given to us by God must have dominion. We must not tolerate dual ruler-ship of soul. The Spirit is waging war against the flesh and the flesh is waging war against the Spirit, all this on the terrain of our hearts. Conflict is actually proof of process. Let’s make a choice today to engage in the battle. The affections of your heart are in the balance.

Train me, God, to walk straight; then I’ll follow your true path. Put me together, one heart and mind; then, undivided, I’ll worship in joyful fear. Ps. 86:11 (MSG)