“Behold what manner of love the Father has given unto us, that we may be called the sons of God.”
Consider it, look at it, perceive the love of God for us, that is what 1 John 3:1 KJV is telling us to do. The NIV says: “How great is the love the Father has lavished on us…” calling us to consider the immensity of love on us, but goes on to use the word “lavished” which is to bestow something in generous or extravagant quantities. The Lord holds us in love and desires the affection to be returned.
Affections meaning in relationship 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 today, 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. David sets an example 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.
The wonderful thing about God is that His faithfulness does not change with my mood, or my circumstances or even my attitude. God remains faithful, because He is “I AM.” He does not change or shift (James 1:17). Just because I stumble and fall over one of His promises, simply because I don’t believe it, does not make Him any less faithful in keeping His promises.
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 the immense blessing of being in 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 Psalm 103. Like counting your blessings, naming them one by one, “and you’ll be surprised at what the Lord has done!” Why not take a look at Psalm 103 right now and see David’s list.
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?
- When last have you considered the attitude of your heart towards the Lord, are you still affectionately His?
- When last did you consider all the benefits of being in a relationship with Him, or considered all the times He has been faithful to you, when you have not been faithful to 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 be Yours and only Yours. May my inmost being know and experience Your love and delight in the benefits of being in relationship with You. You are compassionate and gracious to me, forgiving my errors that are so prominent to me, but instead lavishing me with Your love. Ever faithful in keeping Your promises you satisfy my desires with good things. As high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is Your love for me. May my spirit be grateful for all the blessings of knowing You in my life. I remain affectionately Yours for all eternity.