The word affection comes from the Greek word phroneo (fron-eh'-o), which
means "to exercise the mind, entertain or have a sentiment or opinion,
to be mentally disposed more or less earnestly in a certain direction,
to interest oneself with concern or obedience, to set your affections on
an object." It is the trafficking of the mind. To set our affections
on things above, we must stop meditating on temporal things. Where our
hearts are, there our conversation is. Whatever is most important to
us, whatever our priorities are, is that which traffics our mind. If
something is trafficking your mind that indicates that Satan is holding
a dialogue with you, flee from him! "Set your affection on things
"If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above,
where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God. Set your affection on
things above, not on things on the earth. For ye are dead, and your
life is hid with Christ in God." COL 3:1-3.
God has endowed the soul with two main faculties: the understanding
(whereby we discern, view, and judge things) and the affections (whereby
we are inclined toward the things that we perceive and view). We have
been given a sound mind, which means that we can understand the
difference between right and wrong and can pass judgment. Our
affections incline us to do or not do. Our affections control the
puppet strings of our hearts, which direct our actions, thoughts, and
traffic of the mind.
Webster says the word affection means "the state of being affected; in a
general sense: love, hatred, fear, hope, desire, joy, sorrow, and
gratitude are affections of the mind." Your affections are more than
just love. The mind can be affected by joy, by something that
gratifies, by hatred, and by fear. That which we hate has been included
in our text as well as that which we love. The things we fear or hope
or desire affect our minds as well as love. We are to set our
affections, our fears, our hopes, our hatred, love, desires, joys, and
sorrows on the things above and not on the earth.
Some people worry their hearts out thinking that someday Russia or
another country may take over the United States and make us a communist
country. They are setting their affections on things below. If they
would fear God, who is able to kill both body and soul, they would not
be concerned about what Russia might do. Other people set their
affections on things below by enjoying the things of this world, like
entertainment or wealth.
Our affections do not pertain to the things that we are indifferent to,
but they are our inclinations to like or dislike, approve or disapprove,
or accept or reject a thing. Setting our affections on things above
means that we approve or disapprove or accept or reject the things that
go through our minds based on the things that are above.
Our affections incline our minds and wills. They can also be considered
the desires of the heart. The Lord says, "Son, give me thine heart."
What is your heart set upon? What is more decisive of whether or not
you have been risen with Christ than that you have become dead to this
world and have been risen unto a newness of life?
True religion, which is to "seek those things which are above...set your
affection on things above," consists in vigorous and lively actions
through the inclinations of the soul or exercises of the heart. We must
examine our hearts for those inclinations. Have we been raised with
Christ above the things of this world? Do our hearts still linger after
the things of this world? Are we like Lot's wife, looking back over our
shoulders because we do not want to give up what lies behind? Where are
ROM 12:10-11 says, "Be kindly affectioned one to another with brotherly
love; in honour preferring one another; Not slothful in business;
fervent in spirit; serving the Lord." What are the desires of our
hearts? Do we desire the things that God has commanded us in the law of
love? Do we prefer one another above ourselves in brotherly love? Is
the desire of our souls to serve the Lord in the law of love, loving God
above all and our neighbor as ourselves?