We are not flogged into loving Him
Spiritual Death and a Hidden Life")
"Set your affections on things above,
not on things on the earth." Col. 3:2
Where are your affections to be set?
Are they to be set on "things on the earth" . . .
those perishing toys,
those polluting vanities,
those carking cares,
which must ever dampen the life of God in the soul?
The expression, "things on the earth," takes in a wide
scope. It embraces not only the vain toys, the ambitious
hopes, the perishing pleasures in which a gay, unthinking
world is sunk and lost—but even the legitimate calls of
business, the claims of wife and home, family and friends,
with every social tie that binds to earth. Thus . . .
every object on which the eye can rest;
every thought or desire that may spring up in the mind;
every secret idol that lurks in the bosom;
every care and anxiety that is not of grace;
every fond anticipation of pleasure or profit that the
world may hold out, or the worldly heart embrace
—all, with a million pursuits in which man's fallen nature
seeks employment or happiness—are "things on the earth"
on which the affections are not to be set.
We may love our wives and children. We should
pursue our lawful callings with diligence and industry.
We must provide for our families according to the good
providence of God. But we may not so set our affections
on these things, that they pull us down from heaven to
earth. He who is worthy of all our affections claims
them all for Himself. He who is the Bridegroom of
the soul demands, as He has fairly won, the unrivaled
love of His bride.
But how are we to do this?
Can we do this great work by ourselves? No! it is only the
Lord Himself, manifesting His beauty and blessedness to
our soul, and letting down the golden cord of His love
into our bosom, that draws up our affections, and fixes
them on Himself. In order to do this, He captivates the
heart by . . .
some look of love,
some word of His grace,
some sweet promise, or
some divine truth spiritually applied.
When He thus captivates the soul, and draws it up,
then the affections flow unto Him as the source and
fountain of all blessings.
We are not flogged into loving Him, but are
love into love. Love cannot be bought or sold. It is an
inward affection that flows naturally and necessarily
towards its object, and all connected with it. And thus,
as love flows out to Jesus, the affections instinctively
and necessarily set themselves "on things above, and
not on things on the earth."
Jesus must be revealed to our soul by the power of God
before we can see His beauty and blessedness—and so
fall in love with Him as "the chief among ten thousand,
and the altogether lovely One." Then everything that . . .
speaks of Christ,
savors of Christ,
breathes of Christ,
becomes inexpressibly sweet and precious!
In no other way can our affections be lifted up from earth
to heaven. We cannot control our affections—they will run
out of their own accord. If then our affections are earthly,
they will run towards earthly objects. If they are carnal and
sensual, they will flow towards carnal and sensual objects.
But when the Lord Jesus Christ, by some manifestation
of His glory and blessedness—or the Holy Spirit, by taking
of the things of Christ and revealing them to the soul—sets
Him before our eyes as the only object worthy of, and
claiming every affection of our heart—then the affections
flow out, I was going to say naturally, but most certainly
spiritually, towards Him. And when this is the case, the
affections are set on things above.