Q: “What are inordinate affections?”
A: The word, “inordinate” certainly carries some not-so-pleasant connotations, yet such feelings are very much in operation in today’s world. In one way these feelings create some type of ecstasy, while in another way they create torment and suffering. On the one hand, people become caught up with what they feel while swinging from limbs of expectation, while on the other hand, they find themselves crashing against some immovable object of reality that causes hurt, despair, and depression to their soul.
It is important for Christians to recognize when they are ready to be taken captive by, or have innocently become entangled in, something that is “inordinate” because it will eventually literally suck the life out of the environment and relationship, and leave in its wake great frustration, resentment and destruction. In such an environment a wrong spirit is in operation such as seduction and uncleanness, and the fruits of any relationship in which inordinate affections operate will prove to be bitter, causing the relationship to become toxic.
There are only two places in Scripture that the word “inordinate” is used: Ezekiel 23:11 and Colossians 3:5. Ezekiel 23:11 has to do with inordinate love towards idols and in Colossians 3:5 it has to do with affections that are unclean because they are associated with the insatiable appetites of the flesh.
Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance attaches to “inordinate” such words as sensual, passion, lust, experiencing sensation, impression, or amorousness, which has to do with being strongly moved towards or enamored by someone or something. When you look up the word, “inordinate” in the dictionary, it means “disorderly, unregulated, exceeding reasonable limits, immoderate, and excessive.” Clearly, these are words and definitions that try to describe an intense desire that turns into unabated lust where the person can become totally consumed by the passion behind their attraction to someone or something.
Inordinate points to unhealthy and ungodly relationships. Its love becomes idolatrous, demanding, and jealous and its enamored affections become possessive and controlling. Inordinate love proves to be dishonorable and its affections end up becoming obsessive. The problem is once people feel the ecstasy of inordinate love or affections, they never want to lose it because it produces sensations or impressions that temporarily cause all insecurities, loneliness, past rejections, and etc. to disappear, but once the person to whom the inordinate affections are directed towards is not present, all the bad feelings return. At such times, those who have been taken captive by these affections, manipulate events to once again gain that ecstasy. In a sense, inordinate affections become like a drug in the emotional arena, and like any drug it ultimately will take the addicted person on a wild emotional ride that always leaves him or her empty, miserable, and bound to a destructive path.
To avoid inordinate love, we are to choose to love the Lord with everything in us, realizing that His love is pure, honorable, kind, and sacrificial and that we are to be an extension of His love to others. To avoid falling into the traps of inordinate affections, we must mortify daily the “old man” in us with his insatiable and insane appetites.
It is hard for believers to believe they can be taken captive by such affections, but the truth is we are subject to them and can easily become victim to them if we are not guarding our heart, discerning the spirit in operation, and setting our affections on things above (Colossians 3:2).