How to Align Your Affections

Slide1As a family we try really hard to eat dinner together. There is something special about that time. We laugh, debate, recap our day, and even argue sometimes. I wouldn’t have it any other way. The dinner table has become a place where we learn how to do life together. Recently, there was one thing that completely derailed the entire experience. Green beans. For the most part, everyone has similar affections for the foods we eat. This particular night our 5 year old decided he no longer liked green beans. As my wife and I attempted to lovingly reason, compromise, and bargain with him – dinnertime transformed from a beautiful spring rain into a monsoon.

When your affections are challenged it can get messy fast. In 1 Corinthians, Paul was given a report that the Church’s affections were divided. The Church began to fix their eyes on people, doctrine, and tradition (to name a few). Paul wanted the people to align their affections to Christ alone.

These divisions still cause us to stumble. Lets take a look at what Paul suggested the Church of Corinth do to align their affections to Christ and alleviate the conflict. This can serve to help us better align to Christ and resolve conflict.

10 I appeal to you, brothers, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree, and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be united in the same mind and the same judgment. 11 For it has been reported to me by Chloe’s people that there is quarreling among you, my brothers. 12 What I mean is that each one of you says, “I follow Paul,” or “I follow Apollos,” or “I follow Cephas,” or “I follow Christ.” 13 Is Christ divided? Was Paul crucified for you? Or were you baptized in the name of Paul? 14 I thank God that I baptized none of you except Crispus and Gaius, 15 so that no one may say that you were baptized in my name. 16 (I did baptize also the household of Stephanas. Beyond that, I do not know whether I baptized anyone else.) 17 For Christ did not send me to baptize but to preach the gospel, and not with words of eloquent wisdom, lest the cross of Christ be emptied of its power.

1 Corinthians 1:10-17

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HAVE THE SAME MIND

Paul implores the people to have the same mind. He is not implying that they need to think, feel, act, and reason exactly the same way. Paul wants their minds to primarily be influenced by Christ, his teachings, and his Spirit. In Ephesians 4:16 he identifies this as love. “From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work.”

If the love of Christ permeates your thoughts and actions you can rest assured that you have the same mind as Christ. Our affections should be for Christ, and Christ alone, but many times our affections for Jesus are lumped into a group of other things that we care about. This illustration helps visually depict what this means.

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In actuality everything that we care about should flow through our affection for Christ. The way we interact with others should be an overflow of our relationship with Jesus.

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Where do your mind’s affections lie?

Is your life the overflow of your mind’s affections for Jesus?

HAVE THE SAME JUDGMENT

Our judgment is a byproduct of the affections of our mind. If we are able to accomplish the first part of todays message then the second will fall into place.

The single most debilitating factor in being like-minded and having good judgment is pride.

Romans 12:16 says, “Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position. Do not be conceited.” When pride is left unchecked it consumes our affections. We become self-serving, opinionated, self-righteous, and entitled. These lead to poor judgments.

The Church in Corinth sought to gratify their selfish desires. Paul wanted to graciously remind them of their first love. Without real, honest self-evaluation and prayer they would continue to cause division among the body of Christ. Their minds would be divided and their judgment poor.

Here’s another way to look at this. If we allow our pride and selfish desires to cloud our minds then we aren’t able to focus on Jesus. These distractions cloud our judgment.

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The remedy for this is to fix our eyes on Jesus. The answers to all of life’s problems are found through developing a personal relationship with Him. It should look more like this.

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We are so engulfed, consumed, and occupied by Jesus that any distraction is lost behind of our closeness to Him. What Paul wanted for the Church is what we need today. We need to align our affections to Jesus, giving us the mind of Christ and the judgment of the Spirit of God.

Does your judgment reveal your mind’s affections for Jesus?

What can you do today to better align your affections to Jesus?

God, fill us with your wisdom, knowledge, and understanding so we may represent you well. Help us to sacrificially serve, unconditionally love, and be recklessly abandoned to you.

Amen!

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