God created us as three-part beings of spirit, soul and body (1 Thessalonians 5:23). Within each and every believer God has also placed holy affections.

The love that the apostle John repeatedly writes about in his epistles is the Greek word “agape”. This word agape is a verb, for we see in Scripture that the love of God (John 3:16,17) and the love for God (John 14:21) are expressed by actions. But these actions on our part are not just cold, “Mr. Spock”-like acts of obedience, although at times we indeed need to command our bodily members to yield to God’s truth (Romans 6). They are what have been known throughout the history of the church as “holy religious affections.” For example, the holy affection of the love of God shed abroad or expressed in our hearts (Romans 5:5) is what drove Paul to reach the lost (2 Corinthians 5:14-20). That same holy affection of love is what compels us to minister to others in need (1 John 3:16-18).

A true child of God will also experience holy affections of tears (Acts 20:19; 2 Corinthians 2:4) and joy (Romans 14:17). This new life that we have in Christ is what caused the early church to experience sweet fellowship and the holy affection of gladness with one another (Acts 2:46). To rejoice in Christ Jesus (Philippians 3:3) is not some sterile truth that is void of verbal and facial expression, but is a holy affection that cannot be contained because we know that our names are written in heaven (Luke 10:20).

While God does indeed declare that our love for Him will be expressed in heartfelt holy affections, it must also be noted that these holy affections expressed within their biblical context will never cause a child of God to emotionally lose control of his or her faculties, for the fruit of The Spirit includes self-control (Galatians 5:22-23).

As we grow in grace and in the knowledge of The Lord Jesus Christ (2 Peter 3:18), may we continually experience and express that deep love of God with holy affections which bless The Father and each other as well.