Thinking back on Thanksgiving day is sometimes a somber time. It reminds me of the reality of even the poorest of poor have so much in God’s providence, especially in America. It reminds me of all that God allows us to have, dream of and establish in our lives and at the same time, it is a conviction of these things.
I was considering my short life thus far this morning and this thought came to my head, “When my life is over, whenever that may be, I want those who knew me to surely grasp where my absolute affections laid.” As this thought mulled over in my mind for about twenty minutes, I begin to sort through affections and places I give my attention in life to see what others might say.
Sadly, I have been shown the real and present need of God’s grace in that I have too many affections that divide my time for the glory of God. I guess that is why Paul speaks so bold in regards to giving “glory to Christ” in all things and why Jesus speaks of “seeking first the Kingdom of Heaven” so that our lustful hearts will continually strive in His power to love Him above all things.
This kind of thinking requires, for me, a listing of things that often times get in the way of my ultimate treasure who is Christ and can easily be mistaken as my absolute affections, especially if I am not here to defend against them. So for the record and for my own worship, I wanted to expose a few of them that maybe someone else might glean for themselves some idols. I am also aware that many who read this will say, “this guy is crazy, these are not “wrong” to love”. And you might be correct, but be warned that if you love them above Christ, they are your treasure and HE IS NOT. God’s mercy abounds in our unbelief and ignorance – praise be to God!
My short list of affections that sometimes take first chair can easily be seen in my children and my bride. Although I am to love them as Christ loves the church and lead my children in the ways of the Lord, my family is not Christ and I do not want to be known for loving my family above all things, but second to Christ. This is a problem with many Christian families in that they put themselves and their relative homes in front of the gospel of Christ and in turn become worshipers of the idol of family. Something interesting to note is that the children in our care are given to us by God that they might grow up and “leave” the parents and “cleave” to another thereby displaying a miniature picture of the gospel. Then our marriages and theirs, are to reflect the eternal nature of the gospel of Christ and will one day cease. This tells me that even our families are dying things and our affections for them above Christ is a dying affection placed on perishable things. Something to consider.
With this being said, our entire purpose on this world is to give glory to Christ and long for the day when we see Him face-to-face. That day when all that we have done is over and what we have left to do is worship His majesty. This is the legacy of a true child of God, to leave behind an unmistakable reality that their affections were for Christ above all things and my prayer is that my dying day would usher in that thought into all who morn by departure.
I read through 2 Corinthians as I finish this post and resign with these words:
But we have this treasure in jars of clay, to show that the surpassing power belongs to God and not to us. We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed; always carrying in the body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be manifested in our bodies. For we who live are always being given over to death for Jesus’ sake, so that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our mortal flesh. So death is at work in us, but life in you.
Since we have the same spirit of faith according to what has been written, “I believed, and so I spoke,” we also believe, and so we also speak, knowing that he who raised the Lord Jesus will raise us also with Jesus and bring us with you into his presence. For it is all for your sake, so that as grace extends to more and more people it may increase thanksgiving, to the glory of God.
So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.
(2 Corinthians 4:7-18 ESV)
For His Eternal Glory
James H. Tippins