When I first started preaching I spent a lot of time pointing out what we did wrong and what we should do right. This approach starts with the assumption that Jesus died for us, rose for us, and reigns for us, and if he did all that then we should obey him. If we replace the bad things we do with the right things he calls us to do then we should be ok. But Jesus doesn’t work like that.
I think a lot of preaching goes the direction of focusing on behavior even if we don’t intend it to. The central task of preaching is to see hearts changed by Jesus. That means that the heart is the core of the matter. If we want to see lives remade by Jesus, then we can’t simply preach to behaviors or we will create a new breed of Pharisees.
If we are going to preach to the heart then we need to preach to the affections. The affections are the desires longings and appetites that produce the behaviors that we call sin. But sin is much bigger than our behaviors. So we have to dig a little deeper to get to the affections, but if we do, it will not only change how we preach but how our preaching changes others and us through Christ.
Check back in on Thursday to hear about a few things I’ve learned about preaching to the affections.