Last spring, I began to understand something that has proceeded to change a lot in my life. My friend related an analogy that her husband had told her attempting to clarify what happens when a person finds Jesus to be a treasure worth abandoning all other pursuits to pursue (as described in Matthew 13:45-46). Imagine a person driving a beater of a car. This old car has it’s benefits… it can often get you from one place to another, but driving the car is an unpleasant experience of jolts. The driver can feel every bump and uneven spot in the pavement, though he does not really know anything different. That driver continues on his way, enduring the ride, until the day he is able to test drive a new 2012 car. From the moment he starts the car, he can tell the ride will be completely different. He is in love with the new smell, the powerful engine, the smooth ride, and the leather seats. His affections have shifted and he is no longer satisfied with the old car. His desires are for the new. He cannot go back. This, she said, is what it is to see the Lord as treasure. I understood. Something made sense more than ever. Jesus is love. He puts longing inside that keeps Christians pursuing the knowledge of Christ. More intimacy. More of Jesus. This is a far cry from legalism… from staring our sin in the face in attempts to refuse it and stop our affection for it. Sin IS an issue of affection. It’s strong. Saying “no” to sin is weak in itself. The only thing stronger is desire for Jesus.

Studying the gospels to learn who Jesus really is, what he has said, what he did while he was here, and what his heart is truly like kindles a fire of affection. Affection overpowers affection, and the choice is made. No turning back. Why? Because I’ve found something (Someone) better. Though sin will always appeal to the flesh, it is amazing to find that God grows a desire in us that is seriously more powerful. Thank you God, because sin was a hideous master. “The Puritan preacher Thomas Chalmers, in his sermon, ‘The Expulsive Power of a New Affection’ said that desires for God and desires for sin will not [calmly] coexist in a human heart. They are two ‘opposing’ affections- one will always push out the other. So, he said ‘the only way to dispose [the heart] of an old affection, is by the expulsive power of a new one’ (see Galatians 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 worshiped our way into this mess, and by God’s grace, we’ll worship our way out.” (Wilkerson, Redemption: Freed by Jesus from the Idols We Worship and the Wounds We Carry, 38). “Again, the Kingdom of Heaven is like a merchant on the lookout for choice pearls. When he discovered a pearl of great value, he sold everything he owned and bought it!” (Matthew 13: 45-46, NLT).

“Now all glory to God, who is able to keep you from falling away and will bring you with great joy into his glorious presence without a single fault.” (Jude 1:24).