March 6, Saturday

REPOST Today’s AMI QT Devotional, provided by Pastor Matt Ro who formerly pastored Journey Church in Atlanta, was originally posted on May 18, 2013.  Matt is a graduate of University of Pennsylvania (BS) and Biblical Theological Seminary (M.Div.). 

Spiritual Food for Thought for the Weekend

“Religious Affections”

Romans 12:11 (ESV)

“Do not be slothful in zeal, be fervent in spirit, serve the Lord.” 

Jonathan Edwards teaches us that the intellectual life and the passionate life should be friends, not enemies.  Without the slightest contradiction it is possible to be both tough-minded and tenderhearted.  What we learn to do is descend with the mind into the heart and there wait in anticipation for the heavenly Whisper.  We worship God with brain and viscera!

We today desperately need this lesson because a modern myth abounds that true objectivity must be passionless.  As a result, we analyze and dissect the spiritual life without the slightest personal involvement or commitment and think we understand it.  But the spiritual life cannot be understood in this detached way.  We understand by commitment.  And we enter into commitment and sustain commitment by what Edwards right calls “holy affections” 

—Richard J.  Foster

Here are some excerpts from “Religious Affections”

  • Engagement of the Heart

The kind of religion that God requires, and will accept, does not consist in weak, dull, and lifeless “wouldings” – those weak inclinations that lack convictions—that raise us but a little above indifference.  God, in his word, greatly insists that we be in good earnest, fervent in spirit, and that our hearts be engaged vigorously in our religion: “Do not be slothful in zeal, be fervent in spirit, serve the Lord.” (Romans 12:11 ESV).  “And now, Israel, what does the Lord your God require of you, but to fear the Lord your God, to walk in all his ways, to love him, to serve the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul” (Deut. 10:12 ESV).  This fervent, vigorous engagement of the heart is the fruit of a real circumcision of the heart that alone has the promise of life.

  • Holy Affection

If we are not earnest in our religion, and if our wills and inclinations are not strongly exercised, we are nothing.  The importance of religion is so great that no halfhearted exercise should suffice.  In nothing is the state of our heart so crucial as in religion, and in nothing is lukewarmness so odious.

  • The Spring of Action

The nature of human beings is to be inactive unless influenced by some affection: love or hatred, desire, hope, fear, etc. These affections are the “spring of action,” the things that set us moving in our lives, that move us to engage in activities.  A person who has a knowledge of doctrine and theology only – without religious affection—has never engaged in true religion.  The reason is this:  they are not affected with what they hear.  There are many who hear about the power, the holiness, and the wisdom of God; about Christ and the great things that he has done for them and his gracious invitation to them; and yet they remain exactly as they are in life and in practice.  True religion is a result of affections, namely, the affections of fear, hope, love, hatred, desire, joy, sorrow, gratitude, compassion and zeal.  

Prayer: Dear God, empower me to love You with all my heart, with all my soul and with all my mind.” Amen.

Bible Reading for Today:  Acts 22-23

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