I had a dream recently in which I passed through a series of spiritual tests over and over again. I was totally dismayed and tired of having to undergo so many tests. I knew the goal was to get to total and perfect obedience, but …
Just as it seemed that I had failed and given up, an angel appeared and smiled at me. The angel explained that the last test is to overcome “the affections of this world”. He told me to my embarrassment that I had a lot of “affections for this world”.
“Friendship with the world is enmity toward God” (James 4:4).
“Do not love the world, nor the things in the world” (I John 2:15).
This is not just repentance of sin. In general we as dedicated followers of Yeshua don’t sin and don’t want to sin. And yet there can be an inward affection for the things of the world, even though we don’t sin. For this reason Yeshua also told us to pray:
“Lead us not into temptation” (Matthew 6:12).
It is our affections for the things of this world that lead to temptation, which leads to sin, which leads to destruction. To beat the affections for the world is the last test; it roots out of our hearts the place of potential temptation.
“Whoever desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily” (Luke 9:23).
The first step to following after Yeshua is to “deny” oneself. As we say “no” to the affections of this world, our heart is free and pure to follow after the Lord.