3 Things I Do to Grow My Affection for Jesus
The Christian life is hard, but cultivating it doesn’t need to be a white-knuckled clawing to the finish line. Most of the time, growing in your faith in that way is defensive and reactionary. More helpfully, the Christian can be proactive or offensive in how they grow in faith and holiness.
Men colossally more intelligent than I am—like Edwards, Keller, and Tripp—have written wonderfully on the biblical insight that our heart is the root of our behavior (Luke 6:43–45). All of life is worship: we are either worshiping Jesus or any number of hollow substitutes (i.e. idols). In regards to the Christian life, one good shorthand is to say that since we worship our way into sin, we worship our way out. So, when it comes to cultivating my own spiritual life, I approach it with the goal to grow my affections for Jesus. Here are three things that help me do just that.
1. READING AND STUDYING
It blows my mind that the God who created quasars and DNA, love and humor has revealed himself to us in his story in the Bible. God’s Word is sharp in its depth (Heb. 4:12) and broad in its application (2 Tim. 3:16) because it is ultimately all about Jesus (Luke 24:27; John 5:39). When I read, I love to ask a series of questions that I got from Pastor Mark Driscoll.
- What does the Scripture say? (Scriptural question)
- What does it mean? (Theological question)
- Why don’t I believe it? (Apologetic/heart question)
- How is Jesus the hero? (Christological question)
- Why does this matter for my mission? (Missional question)
Practically, here’s what that looks like:
- I like to use the ESV reading plan. I appreciate how the readings show the unity of Scripture and God’s redemptive plan.
- I use Evernote as my journal since it is accessible from multiple platforms.
- In addition to trying to read every morning and evening, I have times set aside on Monday morning and Friday morning to dig in more deeply.
2. WRITE TO MY WIFE
Sometimes cultivating a horizontal relationship with someone in your life affects your vertical one with Christ. For example, my wife appreciates when I encourage her or show her affection with my words so I started setting aside time before our date nights on Fridays to write her a letter telling her what I’m seeing in her, what I’m thankful for, and so on. While I started to do it to love and serve my wife and to continually build my affections for her, what I found as I did this was that every time I wrote her I was overwhelmed with thankfulness to God for the gift that she is. This builds my affection for not only my wife, but also for the good God who brought us together.
3. CELEBRATE WHAT JESUS HAS DONE IN OUR CHURCH
Throughout the Old Testament, and especially the Psalms, God constantly calls his people to remember who he is, what he had redeemed them from, and what he had done for them. Buildingregular times to celebrate as a team and as a church body has been a great practice for Mars Hill Orange County.
What does this look like practically? Here are some things to do.
- Share evidences of God’s grace as a congregation on Sunday. Hang on to the mic, but go with the Ghost.
- When we plan an event with our team, we plan time on the backend to tell the stories and celebrate what God did.
- When we gather our leaders for monthly syncs, we often tell the stories of what God is doing in our Community Groups and around the church.
Making this a regular practice makes sure that everyone knows who the hero is—Jesus—and leads us in to thankful worship.