Affection is defined as fond attachment, devotion or love. It is a recognition that my deepest heart belongs to someone. A feeling that is emotional, yet goes beyond mere reason, it just is. It is what has me rain kisses on my children whenever they will let me—in “abandonment to affection!” It is the mature tenderness that looks at my husband and remembers years of faithfulness and constancy that I have learnt to count on.
“Bless (affectionately, gratefully praise) the Lord, O my soul; and all that is [deepest] within me, bless His holy name!
It is like saying to God: “I love you with all my heart.” The deepest within me, is affectionate towards the deepest of Him (Psalm 42:7 “deep calls to deep.”) As I have been reflecting on God’s love here at Heart Treasure, this is what loving God is all about for me. David seems to be talking to himself and calls upon his soul to bless the Lord. It sets an example for us, that reminds us to focus our deepest affection towards Him. This affection, immediately translates into remembering His faithfulness, His constant presence in my life and how I have come to rely on Him.
This unexplained love for my husband and children is much like the love of God to me, it just is. Like God is just love. However, love on earth changes, but God’s love does not change. It generates the next response while blessing the Lord, the Amplified expands it to “gratefully praise.”
It seems the two (affection and grateful praise) go hand in hand as we focus on the Lord. It speaks to a heart that is sincerely grateful for all He has done, grateful for life with Him and relationship with Him.
The scary part is that when we cease to be able to focus on our affection and gratefulness towards Him, that our love, our affection for Him grows cold.
So it makes sense that in the next verse David tells his soul “Bless (affectionately, gratefully praise) the Lord, O my soul, and forget not [one of] all His benefits.”
For to me, it is precisely when we are not affectionately and gratefully orientated towards Him that we are likely to forget the benefits of walking our lives alongside Him. Not just one benefit, but David goes on to make a list for himself in this Psalm. Like counting your blessings, naming them one by one, “and you’ll be surprised at what the Lord has done!”
So, I say: Bless the Lord, O my soul. My heart—change your attitude and focus on the Person of your affection and your gratefulness to the Lord. I am to be affectionately His, with all of my heart. May He dominate the territory of my soul, be established as the focus of my love, my one true king. May gratefulness fall over my lips like a waterfall, gushing from a heart that has no end to the desire to say thank you. This is what it means to bless the Lord, O my soul.
Do you have reason to bless the Lord today? Is your heart affectionately and gratefully orientated towards Him? Do you need to focus on Him until your heart starts to count your blessings? Have you forgotten all the benefits of being in relationship with Him?
Change my heart O Lord, make it ever true to You. May my affection and devotion be ever focused on You. May my heart delight in the benefits of being in relationship with You. May my spirit be grateful for all the blessings of knowing You in my life. I remain affectionately Yours for all eternity.