I have just had the privilege of attending a conference this week in Cardiff hosted by Acts 29, a church planting network based in the USA which is now doing some cool stuff here in the UK and Europe. I had taken some annual leave and the conference coincided with my break so I decided to go to hear from one of my favourite preachers, Matt Chandler, the president of Acts 29.
I just wanted to share one thing that he talked about which I believe would really impact us if we grabbed hold of it…
We have just finished our 28 Days To Change Your Life series, where we attempted to inspire and equip people in their personal walk with God – Bible reading, prayer etc. We had loads of great feedback and I think we’ve seen some genuine growth in people’s personal spiritual lives. There’s one thing that I’d like to add which I think will help us keep going in our pursuit of a thriving, vibrant, powerful relationship with God… it’s called ‘feeding your affections’. Simply take a few minutes to consider what feeds your affections for Christ and what robs you of your affections for Christ. Then, simply programme and plan time in your life in which to do the things that feed your affections, and work on cutting down (or cutting out) on those things which rob your affections!
Things which feed my affections – good worship music, that lifts my heart above my circumstances and fixes my eyes on Jesus. Books that stretch my thinking and provoke my heart to engage with God. Epic movies where evil fights good… and loses!
Things which rob me of my affections – sleeping in, watching too much TV, playing too many computer games (I’m a sucker for Football Manager).
If we looked at our personal walk with God in this way, I think we’d be much healthier Christians. Instead of the measure of our success being “how much of the Bible have you read this week?” or whatever, the measure becomes “how much more in love with Jesus am I now than I was last week/year etc.?” If we looked at it that way and simply fed our affections for Christ, I wonder if we’d end up praying a lot more out of a heart overflow. I wonder if bible reading would be such an effort and a chore if our hearts were overwhelmed with affections for Christ?
So here’s the challenge – feed your affections for Christ. Do the things which inspire your heart to love and worship Him. Rid yourself of the things which rob your affections for Christ – whatever that may be, get rid of it because He is far more satisfying than any of those other things.