Emotions versus Affections
Merry Monday by Parris Bailey

1 Peter 4:12,13 “Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you: But rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ’s sufferings; that, when his glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy.”

I seem to refer back to 1994 all the time, after all my life as a Christian dramatically changed. I would have been 37 years old and pastoring Victory Fellowship for over 16 years. Over this past weekend we had our annual Women’s Retreat at Gulf Shores, Alabama. There were about 80 of us and we stayed in condo’s overlooking the ocean. We had a unusually fabulous time, with preaching of the Word, fellowshipping and eating great healthy food. The juice bar was a hit! But during our stay a sudden storm past through and brought hurricane-like winds up to 60 MPH. In fact, one of our girls had their back car window bashed in by a flying chase lounge! Just as suddenly as it came, it was over, but the landscape had drastically changed. That’s exactly what happens when God visited us in 1994. It was a “suddenly” and after it blew in, our landscape changed.

The greatest impact on my life was learning the difference between my emotions and my affections. After I had laid on the floor for weeks getting filled with joy by the Holy Ghost I began to see that for years as a Christian I had let my emotions “rule the roost”. I remember the Lord telling me that my religion would not sustain me in the years to come and I needed to turn off all the faucets of my life and go down deep with Him.

A.B. Simpson says it like this:
“I think that to make sense of this, it would serve us well to distinguish between emotion and affection. I want to suggest that though our emotions are subjected to the ups and downs of life, both to the pinnacles of ecstasy and the depths of depression at different times, our affections are to be the unmoved abiding anchor whether our emotions are storm-tossed or still. Happiness relates to emotions, joy relates to affections.”

I had to learn that emotions are formed and fueled by instinct. Affections are formed and fueled by values. What we value shapes how we respond, interpret, and face circumstances in life. The less we fail to cultivate our affections positively, the more we will be driven by our emotion.

Jonathan Edwards contends that we always do what is our greatest affection (or what we value the greatest); that is, the will is always the same as our affections. Emotions, however, are often very different from what we will. I may hate rigorous exercise, but something deeper moves me to do what I hate: my value of good health. My value of good health (or my affections for good health) trumps the emotional allergy to exercise.
I had put all my eggs into one basket so to speak with the natural surroundings around me. Whether my husband, children or friends did or didn’t do what I expected affected me. In 1994, my value’s changed. When you are completely filled with the Holy Ghost your appetite truly changes. It makes you want more of Him and you begin to see that your whole life is meant to live in total appreication and satisfaction of Him alone. Peter in the above scipture was talking about two feelings- one of joy and one of sorrow. (The church was going through intense persecution at the time of his writing)
A. B. Simpson explains it like this:
“There are atmospheres in Christian life that greatly differ. Some of God’s children live in a cellar all their days, where the light is dim and the air damp; others live in shaded rooms and dim light, where the sun seldom shines; but others dwell in the very sunlight of God’s perfect love. The element of their being is not duty, conscience, doctrine, intellectual conviction or even Christian work, but divine love–the sweet, mellow, warm air of the Father’s house and the Father’s heart, the love of God poured out into the heart like the warm sunshine by the Holy Spirit abiding in the heart, and dwelling ever on God’s glorious gift and everlasting pledge of His perfect love, His own beloved Son.” Which atmosphere is your dwelling place?


  1. My affections for the lord is to spend time in his presence.Because of my schedule,I work the night shift,I don’t get to make as many of the services,as I would like too. But I know,the lord sees my heart,where as man looks on the outside. Just spend time in his presence, talking to him,as if you were talking to your best friend. The lord doesn’t care how many chapters you read each day,or what church you go to. Forget all of the forumlas,and spend time with the lord,the way you do. Thank You Lord!!

  2. I really like how the difference of emotions and affections was brought out in your teaching, so clear, at times i have fallen into the emotion part of it, knowing it wasnt victory, because the flesh my flesh was too much alive and didnt have the joy or peace that passes all understanding.I also started asking the lord to help me change he did when i started seeking him with my whole heart he even changed my heart so i could do this. this was a time a hard time in my life were every thing that meant anything was taken away i was stripped clean, people would say were is your god now? you were a fool to beleive in him coworkers relatives even my only brother, christains even told me i was a vessle only fit for distruction, religious christains, that god raised some of us up to curse and some of us up to be blessed, according to them i was one born to be cursed and i beleived this but thank god only for a very short time because i asked the lord to show me and he did! I had to shake this garbage off and beleive in his word that he is not a respecter of persons, that the father son and holy spirit will abide in us, all the problems i had was worth it so i could get this i had to beleive to get it and i had to ask the lord to help me beleive, he did! real joy of the lord outways happiness anyday, happiness flees to easy, we can experience the joy of the lord wqhen every thing is gone, our loved ones die every one leaves when we are missunderstoodby people close to us, when no one will walk with us anymore we can still have his joy they cant steal that from us when they took every thing else, they can even beat us but cant take that away

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