You will never displace a sinful or harmful affection or appetite in your life by continuing to focus on it.
Our hearts were made by our Creator to be captivated by something (Someone!). Trying to drive out something that rules your affections without the power of a new and greater occupier to replace it, well, it’s a lesson in endless futility.
Does this make sense to you? Do you realize that this is not just human behavior and psychology, it is a creation principle and Biblical reality?
“The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field. When a man found it, he hid it again, and then in his joy went and sold all he had and bought that field.” (Matthew 13:44 NIV)
Can you see how the man’s discovery of the kingdom freed his heart of the things that formerly held it? This is a spiritual law of displacement. The main battle is not forcing out inferior gods and loves and idols from our hearts. The main battle is seeing the superiority of Christ and His gospel reality.
Have you noticed the things that people will do after they initially fall in love? Watch people who have recently fallen in love and you will see an incredible ability for self-improvement! Suddenly they find the discipline to shed extra pounds or to get serious about finding a better job. Yes, they suddenly have a powerful motivation to hit the gym or to stop wasting endless hours on video games…Get the picture?
They may have tried to make these changes before but lacked the real power to carry it out.
In a similar way, have you noticed the amazing and almost immediate changes that occur in a person’s life who has recently truly met Jesus? When someone gets initially saved/born-again, often you will see dramatic changes occurring almost overnight. They start shedding their former sins like shucks coming off corn in July!
The secret is a new vision of what is really valuable and desirable. They have seen God in Christ and the thought of trading their sins for knowing and following Him now appears to their soul to be the most delightful and edifying possibility the universe has ever know!
The only way an improper or sinful affection can continue to rule your heart is by it continuing to convince your mind and feelings that what it offers you is more satisfying that the alternatives.
Sin makes great boasts regarding its abilities to satisfy. Indeed sin does give some satisfaction. Sometimes it is intense satisfaction. But it is always a fleeting satisfaction. And it creates problems that do not go away. It is a monster that is never satisfied. Lust never stops craving and using and consuming – until your life is consumed.
The Bible refers to these sinful affections as, “deceitful lusts”. Indeed, they have power because of their deceptive “promises”. You will never escape them without the power of superior promises, that hold forth the reality of superior satisfaction.
In the next couple of posts we will look at several amazing realities from Scripture that have the power to displace thousands of sins from our lives.