Opposing Affections

Posted on April 11, 2023 by Elizabeth Welte in Victory Call

I read a great book by Mike Wilkerson, Redemption[i], in preparation for a seminar/class I took.  I came across this quote that was so good I just had to pass it along.

“The Puritan preacher Thomas Chalmers, in his sermon The Expulsive Power of a New Affection,[ii] said that desires for God and desires for sin cannot coexist in the human heart.

They are two opposing ‘affections’–one will always push out the other.

So, he said, ‘the only way to dispossess [the heart] of an old affection, is by the expulsive power of a new one’ (see Gal. 5:16-17).

You can’t just “stop it,” because the “it” is always more than behavior.

It is always rooted in your affections, in what you love—what you worship.

Chalmers points the way forward: “we worshipped our way into this mess, and by God’s grace we’ll worship our way out.”

I don’t know about you, but this pierced my heart.

Are you battling sin?

Does a besetting sin or perhaps multiple besetting sins have you feeling bound in chains and irons?

Or perhaps you have long since given up the battle and just succumbed to the temptation so many times that you don’t even recognize it any more, or if you do you have ceased to put up any fight at all.

It all comes down to worship.

We have been created worshipful beings.

We will worship something.

We never stop worshipping.

What is your object of worship?

Not just Sunday mornings surrounded by smiling faces, hugs, a congregation lifting their voices in unison to the One True God; No, I’m asking what are you worshipping the rest of the week?

Every choice, every decision, every action reveals our true affections.

Have you ever tried to overcome a sinful pattern by trying to just stop it?

You may even successfully stop that pattern of sin, but unless the root affections are repented of, it will find satisfaction in some other way.

You will have succeeded in changing the object of worship from one idol to another.

Our affections will find their way to be satisfied.

Unless our grandest affections are rooted in Jesus Christ, we will bounce from lesser thing to lesser thing, bound in the worship of idols.

I have been profoundly impacted by the paragraph I quoted.

I love the depth of truth in the statement: “We worshipped our way into this mess, and by God’s grace we’ll worship our way out.”

That statement has come to my mind over and over again.

We need to recognize that regardless of what we think or say, to truly worship the One True God we must forgo all other gods (that which fuels our affections – those things that tempt us most to sin).

It is not the temptation itself, but rather the temptations that we are most inclined to succumb to – and sin.

What is it for you?

What vies for your affections?

It is this misplaced worship that has paved the way to our besetting sins or bondage.


Oh, Lord.

I want that to be true in my life.

I pray for myself and my sisters that we will be true worshippers of YOU and YOU alone.


Written by Diane Hunt: Diane Hunt serves on the board of America’s Keswick and is the Executive Director & CEO of Changed Choices, a Christian non-profit in North Carolina. She is also a biblical counselor and women’s event speaker. For more information about having Diane speak at your next event please contact her at dhunt@americaskeswick.org.

Think About This: “When we have nothing left but God, we discover that God is enough.” – Toby Mac #SpeakLife

The Daily Bible Reading: Judges 19-20. You can download our 2023 Daily Bible Reading Plan by clicking here. 

This Week’s Verse to Memorize: “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law.” (Galatians 5:22-23)

Want to get away & have dedicated time to read & learn God’s Word?

Consider a retreat at America’s Keswick retreat center.


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