The God of all affection abides in me, without interruption. The question is, What is the measure to which I am emitting His manifest presence?To be more specific, Does my wife sense an abiding affection coming from my heart to hers? Affection certainly has a physical expression, but in the Biblical sense, it is primarily the tender emotions of the heart, demonstrated in compassion, and warmth. The need for affection is gender inclusive. Thus my wife abiding in affection towards me, is desirable as well. Abiding affection is way above my pay grade, in terms of my being able to produce it. I’ve discovered that it’s only possible as I see and feel through the lens of affection that continually proceeds from Jesus.
Partnership in the Gospel
Here is a Bible passage by which I hope to set a context for our topic. “I thank my God every time I remember you. In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now.” (Philippians 1:3-5) Even as Paul was grateful for the church in Philippi, I feel the same towards my wife, for the very same reason. She has been a faithful partner for decades. Our partnership in the gospel is the strongest bond we share. We both seek to have our eyes fixed on Christ, and then fueled by that purifying gaze, we more rightly see one another (see Hebrews 12:2).
The Apostle Paul goes on, “It is right for me to feel this way about all of you, since I have you in my heart and, whether I am in chains or defending and confirming the gospel, all of you share in God’s grace with me. God can testify how I long for all of you with the affection of Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 1:7-8) There’s the connection. I long for you, with the affection of Christ. When I am aligned with what Christ in me feels towards my spouse, I tap into a supply of supernatural affection.
This is the key to abiding affection – the source being the Spirit of Christ, whose abiding affection is unbroken. Perhaps another translation of this passage (from the Message with my emphasis) will lend insight. “It’s not at all fanciful for me to think this way about you. My prayers and hopes have deep roots in reality. You have, after all, stuck with me all the way from the time I was thrown in jail, put on trial, and came out of it in one piece. All along you have experienced with me the most generous help from God. He knows how much I love and miss you these days. Sometimes I think I feel as strongly about you as Christ does!” (Philippians 1:7-8)
I desire to bring an atmospheric change into the environment of our marriage that enhances the measure in which my beloved feels cherished. Abiding in affection, requires my daily “wearing” of Christ. “Rather, clothe yourselves with the Lord Jesus Christ, and do not think about how to gratify the desires of the flesh.” (Romans 13:14)
The increase of God’s manifest presence, the consistent flow of divine affection, is ours to apprehend. Pastor Bill Johnson says that, “We can experience the measure of presence we are willing to jealously guard. Whatever you will jealously guard, that is the measure you will have on a consistent basis.”
I’ve often heard this appraisal of a spouse in a difficult marriage: “I don’t feel any affection; the chemistry just isn’t there.” One of the first questions I ask is: “Are you interceding for him/her, asking to see them in the same way that Christ does?” We need to invite Holy Spirit to reveal and convict, of any obstruction that we’ve allowed to sabotage our heart-connect, both with God and with our spouse.
Lord, give us eyes to see one another through the lens of Your eyes. Let an abiding affection, a greater measure of mutual admiration and honor, be released in our relationships.