Walking Through Life God's Way

Monday, January 14, 2013

Jonathan Edwards' Religious Affections...shepherd to many

Jonathan Edwards was a theologian and Christian preacher. He was also a Godly man that had a heart for the people he was blessed to serve. (For more on Jonathan Edwards click: Jonathan Edwards) Edwards lists and describes nine affections that Scripture encourages us to have: holy fear, hope, love, holy desire, joy, religious sorrow, gratitude, compassion, and zeal. It is these affections that Edwards describes as motivation or as he labels, "the Spring of Action." These affections cause us to move and take action for the purpose of participation and engagement into our typical activities.

The three that I have found most often in my life are holy desire, gratitude, and zeal. First is holy desire. From a very young age, I have had a strong desire to know Jesus more. I think it comes from a healthy church family and healthy Christian family. I also know that my parents were models in this area for my sister and I. I want to be known as being a good person that was good because of his love for God. That was not something intrinsic to me, but something that the family demonstrated to me and what I see as holy desire. I truly desire to be holy, set apart for God and God's purpose.

The second is gratitude. Again, I tribute this to living in a family that did not have large amounts of wealth, but was very wealthy in graciousness. We had very little when I was growing up, but mom and dad always made a way to give and to be gracious. I remember after school in my Jr. High years going to the local food bank Monday through Thursday to restock the shelves. The food bank closed at 4:00 PM and we would work to fill the shelves from 4:00-5:00 PM. It was a large food bank in Central CA. It was good exercise for me as I was the one with the dolly and bringing in the boxes of canned goods and such. I also remember that Mom was actually on staff at the food bank as the purchaser, so we had an investment in the working. My parents were "go the extra mile" people and they demonstrated to us a graciousness that has become a normal for us as adults. Most evenings we would leave the food bank and go to the church for a meeting, bible study, or some event that always took us to another level of giving and graciousness. Through all of those experiences, I do not have one memory of my parents complaining about it. In fact, I look on these days very fondly.

The third is zeal. I think this is somewhat natural to my DNA. I am a pretty driven person. I easily become zealous about something I am passionate about. I praise the Lord for good mentoring, solid teaching, and godly people around me that have helped me to grow in a Godly zeal for the kingdom and for the advancement of the Gospel. It is evident in our marriage and children, but the recognition goes to those that thought enough of me to invest their time and effort so as to guide me in a zeal for God's Spirit and Kingdom.

I think I would like to see holy fear grow more in my life. I have loved the Lord in all that we do, but I could grow in areas that show more respect and discernment in listening to the holiness of God in every part of my life. I also want to be known as a person that loved. I want to love on others. I possess a desire and zeal that engages the flesh to leave compassion and love behind.

In all these things, I truly see these affection in a new light and will seek to discover them in more of my everyday life. You Know I Love Ya, Don

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