Faith produces affection. Faith in Christ is the fountain from which affections for Christ spring. A believer cannot trust Christ without loving him, nor can he love Christ apart from trusting him. The Psalms are full of examples of faith producing affection.
The writer of Psalm 42 and 43 desperately wants to be near God. His faith is pursuing finding his soul’s satisfaction in God. The psalmist opens his song by saying, “As a deer pants for flowing streams, so pants my soul for you, O God. My soul thirsts for God, for the living God. When shall I come and appear before God?” The structure of Psalm 42:1 is a simile.
So, in the NASB, it reads: “As the deer pants for the water brooks (a) , So my soul pants for You (b), O God.” In the same manner that a deer pursues the water brooks for survival and refreshment, so too, the psalmist’s soul “pants” for God. He pursues God by faith for real safety and refreshment.
Faith produces an affection for God in the soul of man. God’s power and ability to touch the deepest part of a person through faith are described vividly. When we remember and believe the wonders of God, our souls are utterly welled with affection. It is God who is ultimately responsible for the waves of trial, so it is to God that the psalmist turns to in faith for eternally satisfying relief. As Matthew Henry says, “When the soul rests on itself, it sinks; if it catches hold on the power and promise of God, the head is kept above the billows. And what is our support under present woes but this, that we shall have comfort in Him.”
The Psalmist’s faith in God produces affection for him. So much so that his soul “pants” for God with powerful affection. Knowing and trusting in how wonderful and awesome God is produces affection for God.
That affection strengthens the faith of the believer to trust God more. That affection demonstrates itself in godly practice. One such godly practice is praising God. The writer of Psalm 95 erupts in a song of praise to God on the basis of his faith in and affection for the greatness of God. He says:
Oh come, let us sing to the LORD; let us make a joyful noise to the rock of our salvation! Let us come into his presence with thanksgiving; let us make a joyful noise to him with songs of praise!For the LORD is a great God, and a great King above all gods. In his hand are the depths of the earth; the heights of the mountains are his also. The sea is his, for he made it, and his hands formed the dry land. Oh come, let us worship and bow down; let us kneel before the LORD, our Maker! For he is our God, and we are the people of his pasture, and the sheep of his hand.
From affectionate hearts for God flows godly practice. There is no greater godly practice to be done than that of worship. Praising God is a form of worship, but only if it flows from a heart of affection for and faith in God.