Personal Effects

Affect

"They zealously affect you, but not well; yea, they would affect exclude you, that ye might affect them. But it is good to be zealously affected always in a good thing, and not only when I am present with you." (Galatians 4:17-18)

Paul is speaking to the Galatians here, of manipulators. Those who want what's (rightfully) yours. People who shamelessly flatter and build up, only to feed off the worship and admiration that the flattered person will return in kind. It's a horrible downward cycle. One that happens everyday on every level of society and human interaction. Keeping one's head (and keeping it above water) can be hard.

Effect

What is it that keeps you focused on God? Everything from a passage or verse of scripture the Holy Spirit has made real to you. An abiding presence, a dream, a vision, a person? What about an object that everytime you see it, reminds you of something God did for you in the past? A touchstone, of sorts.

There was this book I had as a kid called Everybody Needs a Rock. Byrd Baylor was the author. She published many children's picture books but that one was by far my favorite. It spoke right to my heart when it described the need for a small stone that you keep in your pocket to...remind you. I think of God ("The Lord liveth; and blessed be my rock; and let the God of my salvation be exalted." Psalm 18:46). Whatever it may be, some personal effect that keeps you focused on the Lord can be a huge blessing. Now, this doesn't mean that you reject the physically intangible things of the heart. "For the Kingdom of God is not meat and drink; but righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost." (Romans 14:17) No physical object can replace the abiding presence of God. But if we view our possessions as gifts from God, then they'll always cause us to look back to the One who gave them to us.

Effete

And here's how the two can cross paths: "Give not that which is holy unto the dogs, neither cast ye your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet, and turn again and rend you." (Matthew 7:6)

Whenever we get a gift from God, you can be sure that those (from the devil, on down) who are unwilling and unable to receive from God themselves, are going to desire that gift, that favor. Don't let them have it. If it means that you don't exhibit or display the gift until inside you're sure that you can keep it safe, then hide it. We're not referring here to the light of your salvation and "put[ting] it under a bushel" (Matthew 5:15), we're talking about a gift whose beauty will fade if you show it off too early. You'll know. The Holy Spirit will help you. But if you find "friends" coming out of the woodwork to flatter you and you don't know why, the reason very well may be that you have something you haven't taken the time to fully make yours.

And whereas effete is essentially the opposite of "zealously affected" (it means listless, powerless and lethargic), remaining true and grateful to God for His gifts will keep us in a state of awe and wonder at His generosity. If you find yourself effete and miserable, maybe you gave something away? Don't worry, God will give it back to you and then show you how to maintain and retain it.

"And ye now therefore have sorrow: but I will see you again, and your heart shall rejoice, and your joy no man taketh from you." (John 16:23)