Last weekend, Katharine, Ryan and myself ventured down to the cold of Stanwell Tops to attend the AFES (Australian Fellowship of Evangelical Students) apprentice conference. Over the weekend, we looked into God’s character and how we can see through the bible his emotions and his affections towards the world. We looked at questions such as:
What aspects of God’s character do we see in the bible?
What are emotions and what are affections?
What emotions and affections does God show in the bible?
How can we have godly emotions and affections?
We learnt the difference between emotions and affections (emotions being a response to external circumstances and affections being the powerful inclinations that influences how we think and act) as well as looking at how these impact our ministry and relationships.
We see throughout the bible that God has shown people grace and mercy, even when their sin has grieved him. His “affection” was to show us such mercy by NOT ignoring our sin but giving an answer for our sin and that was Jesus. We learnt that the good news of Jesus influences how we think and act, not only towards God but to those around us. To express our emotions and affections in a good way, this would mean lining up our hearts with God’s.
This has been helpful for me thinking through how to do uni ministry. I’ve realised how important meeting one to one with students and discussing how they understand the gospel and whether it is transforming how they respond to things, particularly with regards to emotion. Also through hearing about God’s affections (i.e. that is for people to accept his mercy and be in relationship with him), it was a reminder that the vision for the bible talks (TBT) is to live for God’s affections. We serve at Southern Cross Uni to tell people about Jesus and encourage the TBT students to live as Jesus did, having compassion for those around them and sharing the good news of eternal life.