What causes us to sin? What moves us to holiness? What part of us initiates belief? What is it inside of us that generates doubt? There is only one thing - our hearts.
So what is the main problem in our fight against sin and our lacking in faith? Paul says it like this in our passage for today:
“You are restricted in your own affections.”
In this short, seemingly off the cuff comment, Paul cuts to the heart of everything - the heart.
In this chapter, Paul is pleading with the Corinthians to believe the Gospel. He has done everything in his power to share the good news of Jesus with them, but there are people still dragging their feet. Why?
Their affections are restricting them.
How can our affections restrict us? It’s simple really. We don’t do anything we don’t want to do. We only ever do what we want.
Now, that doesn’t mean we only do things we like or prefer. It means that our actions always follow the prevailing desire of our heart. That is why, throughout the Bible, God is chiefly after our hearts.
Our affections restrict us all the time. Our hearts are not all-in. That is why we sin. That is why we doubt. That is why we struggle with our faith and walk.
So how can we change? How can we beat sin and live for God? We must take the restrictions off our affections.
The only way to do this is with the Gospel. Only the Gospel is beautiful enough to change our hearts and produce in it all the affections that will cause us to live new lives.
Reflect on all God has done for you in Christ. Rejoice in the fact that your sins are forgiven by the precious blood of the Son of God. Revel in the truth that you have been adopted into God’s family at the high price of the cross.
When we do this, new affections will spring to life in our hearts. We don’t fight sin by stifling our desires and feelings. We fight sin by taking the restrictions off our affections. We need to feel more, not less. And these feelings need to come from the Gospel.
Throughout this study, we will see how everything comes down to the heart. For more information I invite you to get my full book on this topic: Rewire Your Heart.