Natural Affections

Are your natural affections submitted to the Will of God?

Set your affection on things above, not on things of the earth. Colossians 3:2

The Lord Jesus loved us so much that He gave His life for us, so we may live. One of the two greatest commandments is to love our neighbor as ourselves. Love and affection are part of God’s kingdom. That’s who He is and that’s what He desires from His children and from the church. However, we must set our affections on the things above or we will not be able to fulfill God’s purpose in our lives!

From that time Jesus began to show His disciples that He must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things from the elders, chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and be raised the third day.Then Peter took Him aside and began to rebuke Him, saying, “Far be it from You, Lord; this shall not happen to You!”  But He turned and said to Peter, “Get behind Me, Satan! You are an offense to Me, for you are not mindful of the things of God, but the things of men.” Matthew 16:21-23

Jesus loved His disciples very much. He had spent 3 ½ years with them in ministering to them. He ate with them and shared His heart with them. However, He knew that those relationships had a much greater purpose than to just have natural affections for them. If He were to be moved by His own emotions, He would never have wanted to leave them. He loved them deeply, but He also knew that the same God who gave Him the privilege of having these relationships was the one that would one day ask Him to surrender those relationships in order for the will of God to go forth.

Job declared, The LORD gave, and the LORD has taken away; Blessed be the name of the LORD.” Job 1: 21 This is the heart of Jesus.  He was going to be crucified and His relationships with His disciples would forever change. He was willing to do what the father had called Him to do because ultimately that was better for the disciples and for the entire world!

In each of our lives, there are seasons of blessings that come our way. The Lord blesses us with close friendships and relationships that we enjoy and grow from. Then a time comes that the Lord wants the relationship back. It is a test of our faith and our obedience to stay in step with the Spirit and do what God calls us to do. There are times that the Lord tests us to see what is in our heart; to see if a relationship has taken an ungodly place in our lives. This was the case with Abraham being asked by the Lord to sacrifice Isaac (Genesis 22). Isaac was God’s idea for Abraham, but oh how quickly God’s idea becomes our passion!! The Lord had to test Abraham to ensure that Isaac had remained God’s idea and not Abraham’s idea!!

At other times, the Lord wants the relationship back because it has lost its fruitfulness and it no longer produces good fruit. As a matter of fact, at times it could produce bad fruit or poison in the life of one or more people. This is when the Lord wants to cut a relationship off. When God asked Lot to leave Sodom and Gomorrah and to take his wife and two daughters, it was because the relationships in those two cities had become dangerous and poisonous to this family and God was about to judge those two cities (Genesis 16). Unfortunately, Lot’s wife still had affection to the things of the city and the people of the city and didn’t want to let go of them. This caused her to look back and she turned into a pillar of salt.

It is best to cooperate with the will of God even when it is difficult. He may call you to let go of a relationship that has been near and dear to you for a long time. Sometimes the Lord wants to change the relationship because one or both parties have changed. We need to stay in tune with the Holy Spirit and not allow our natural affections to impede the work of God in our lives. Losses are not enjoyable, but we need to remind ourselves that what the Lord asks of us is for our good and for the good of others who are impacted with this decision. Our obedience is always a blessing to us and those around us.