Again with the affections

I would like to back to yesterdays topic and further clarify my point.  I want to be clear that I do not think that the Christian life consists of warm fuzzies and teddy bear hugs (whatever that means).  In order to live the Christian life it requires a mental and intellectual understanding of the doctrines of Scripture.  That being said we must not buck our heads to hard in the opposite direction.  We cannot discount the part that our emotions (affections) play in our Christian life.  A strong case can be made for this from scripture.  Let me take only one passage from James, which we have been working through on this blog, to look at this briefly. 

James 4:4
  You adulteresses, do you not know that friendship with the world is hostility toward God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God.

Here we see that misplaced desires described as adultery toward God, hostility toward God, and emnity toward God. (For more on this verse see here , here, and here)

But lest we go too far on one side look at what v. .5 says:

James 4:5
Or do you think that Scripture speaks in vain? He jealously desires that spirit which he has made to dwell in us. (my translation)

Here we see the problem is that these people did not know what Scripture says. Not only were there desires (affections) misplaced, but there knowledge of Scripture was also misguided.  I think that we can glean from this that these two aspects of man (affections and intellect) must work together in the Christian life.  Our desire to pursue God will drive us to His Word, and an intellectual understanding of what it says.  Our intellectual growth in Scripture and doctrine will result in our affection being set upon God.  The two go hand in hand.

Let me leave you with 3 quotes from Jonathan Edwards’ Religious Affections:

1) We may hence learn how great their error is who are discarding all religious affections, as having nothing solid or substantial in them.

2) …hence religious affections in general are grown out of credit with great numbers, as though true religion did not at all consist in them.  Thus we easily and naturally run from one extreme to another.

3) For although to true religion there must indeed be something else besides affections, yet true religion consists so much in the affections that there can be no true religion without them.

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