“Do not love the world or the things in the world.” 1 John 2:15 “Oh, taste and see that the LORD is good!” Psalm 34:8
A skill-testing question was once asked of a science class: With all the modern equipment and techniques of today’s science laboratory available, what would be the best way to remove all the air from a glass beaker? While many students considered various possibilities, one student calmly answered, “Fill the beaker with water.” The best way to get rid of the air in a beaker is to displace it with water. And the moment the water is poured out again, the beaker immediately fills with air, because, as Aristotle once said, “nature abhors a vacuum.”
The apostle John, in the passage above, calls on believers to “not love the world or the things in the world”. But how do you remove love for the sin of the world from your heart? Is it done by greater self-discipline, increased effort, or more intense striving? Is more passionate devotion, and unending energy all that we need to remove love for sin from our hearts? These may play a part – but they cannot be the answer alone! For not only does nature abhor a vacuum, but the human heart also abhors a vacuum. It must always have something on which to set it’s affections.
In 1819, Scottish Pastor Thomas Chalmers preached a sermon which he entitled, “The Expulsive Power of a New Affection.” The main premise of the message was that the only way to drive out love for the world, is to find a greater object on which to place our love! We all have desires in our hearts, and we all act on our desires. The only desire that has the power to dislodge desire for sin, is a greater desire for God!
Is this just theological posturing? Absolutely not! It affects the way that you and I read Scripture! Seeing the Bible primarily as a list of rules and commandments does not, and cannot generate love for God. But understanding Scripture to be a progressive story of God’s redeeming love for sinners of every kind, continues to fuel our love for Him as we come increasingly to comprehend the length and width and height and depth of the love of God in Christ Jesus for us! By God’s grace, may we taste and see more clearly, that our God is better – far better, than anything this world can offer!