I stumbled across Thomas Chalmers’ “The Expulsive Power of a New Affection” this week. Two hundred years ago, Chalmers (1780–1847) wrote it to persuade practical moralists that they cannot effectively displace from the human heart its love of the world by simply withdrawing its affection from an object that is not worthy of it. Rather, they must chose another object as more worthy of its attachment, thereby exchanging an old affection for a new one.
In a separate piece about Chalmers’ “Expulsive Power”, John Piper presents a wonderful analogy. What’s the best way to get all the air out of a glass beaker?
- You could pump it out, but the vacuum created will fill back up with air when the pump stops.
- A better method is to pour water into the beaker. The water naturally displaces all the air. It occupies 100% of the beaker. You might say it holds the #1 spot.
Now, think of your heart as the beaker. What’s #1 in your beaker? What holds the top spot? What do you love the most?
Of course to the world, there’s more than one answer to that question. However, there’s only one answer that provides true happiness in life.
That answer is God.
In the beaker analogy, the beaker is your heart. The pump method is when we try to live life by avoiding sin. We try to avoid behaviors because we know they are not good for us, but eventually the pump stops and we fall back to our old ways, just as the air flows back into the beaker.
As the only way to permanently displace the air is with water, the only way to lose the appetite for unwanted behaviors is to pour God into our hearts. In my experience, here’s what results:
- You lead from a posture of empathy.
- You’re more present with others when you’re in their presence.
- You develop a pathway to peace by serving others. You understand you’re completely powerless to control anyone and that each person has a will to love or reject you. Nonetheless, you choose to continually humble yourself before them and possess a servant’s mentality.
- You are grateful for everything that happens, even painful things, because they can shape your character for the good. All sunshine and no rain make a desert. You need the rain to nourish your God-given purpose, making it bud and flourish.
- You are generous without expectation of anything in return.
- You are patient and slow to anger.
- You judge self-righteous hypocrites, but nobody else.
- You are others-centered, not self-centered.
- You forgive so that you can focus on fulfilling your life’s mission.
So, stop trying to creating a vacuum by avoiding sin. Rather, allow God to fill your heart by immersing yourself in a relationship with him daily. At MindWolves, have a framework to accomplish this. It’s called The Fordriven System™. You’ll gradually lose the taste for sin and grow in God’s character.
You’ll love more. You’ll be happy. You’ll know peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness and self-control.