A couple of weeks ago we looked at “Where Our Affections Should Be Placed.” In this study let’s concentrate on some places that our affections should not be placed.
First, our affections should not be set upon self. In Luke 18:9-14, we read one of Jesus’ parables. It is about a Pharisee and a publican who went to pray. Luke gives the reason for the parable in these words: “And he spake this parable unto certain which trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and despised others”. The Pharisee, instead of expressing appreciation unto God for the privilege of prayer, told God just how great he was. His mistake was trusting in himself, that he was righteous and despised others. From what he said, it is not hard to determine that he was “sold” on himself. Other examples can be found in Simon in Acts 8:9, where it is said that he was “giving out that himself was some great one.”
Second, our affections should never be placed on money. We are warned in I Timothy 6:10 that “the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.” Jesus spoke of the difficulty involved in this also: “how hard it is for those who trust in riches to enter the kingdom of God!” (Mark 10:24). In fact, He states, “It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God” (Mark 10:25). In Acts 5:1-11 we read how money caused a man and his wife to lose their life.
Third, we must not place our affection on pleasure. If any generation has ever needed this instruction, it is the present generation. This age is pleasure-oriented. This is true even in worship. It is all about what I want, and what “feels good” to me. But at the most, pleasure is only “for a season” (Heb. 11:25). And it causes spiritual death. Paul spoke of widows dedicated to pleasure, and said, “she who lives in pleasure is dead while she lives” (I Tim. 5:6). And what he says in II Timothy 3:4 seems to indicate that this misplaced affection will ultimately lead to one becoming estranged from God; “Traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God”.
Fourth, we should never place our affection on pre-eminence. Christ is to “in all things have the preeminence” (Col. 1:18). This was the downfall of Diotrephes (III John 9). And it will be the downfall of every person who tries to usurp the pre-eminent One. Preachers may be the number one candidates for this sin. Every preacher should read and study often I Corinthians 3:5-9 which says that “neither is he that planteth any thing, neither he that watereth; but God that giveth the increase.”
We should not place our affection on the praise of men (John 12:42-43); nor on the wages of unrighteousness as did Balaam (II Pet. 2:15). Space forbids discussion further of these. But let us end with Paul’s instruction: “If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God. Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth” (Col. 3:1-2).
Paul M. Wilmoth