Displacement is one of those scientific principles we learned in high school. It’s the reason your full bath overflows when you get in it. Or the reason a ship will float. But this week I learned another application for this principle that really impacted me.
The example used was a glass of clear clean water. The speaker took the glass of water and began to pour various things into it like mustard, vinegar, hot sauce, etc. Each item represented a sin that we could fall into: anger, envy, lust, greed, etc. And as he poured each item into the glass, it forced a little more of the clean water out until eventually all that was left was a nasty cocktail full of all these “sins”.
“Now”, he said, “let’s try and get just the anger (hot sauce) out”. Obviously it was impossible to remove any one “sin” from the glass. Everything was mixed together. “So how can we get back to our clean glass of water?” he asked.
Here’s where our displacement theory comes into play. The only way to get the “sin” out of the glass was to pour in more clean water. As the speaker poured pitcher after pitcher of clean water into the glass, it eventually forced out all the impurities until finally it was once again a clear clean glass of water.
So what’s the spiritual meaning? The way that we become more like Christ is not by trying to get all the bad stuff out of our lives. I’ve been down this road and ultimately you’ll end up failing to change or simply exchanging one sin for another.
No, the way to lasting change is by filling ourselves continually with the Holy Spirit of God. The bible tells us that light and dark cannot exist together. The same way that sin grieves the Spirit, the Holy Spirit grieves sin! When we repent, confess and allow ourselves to be filled with the Spirit, the sin in our lives has to go.
But we are leaky vessels. We need to be as the Scripture says “continually filled with the Holy Spirit”. How about getting on your knees today, confessing your sin and asking the King of Kings to fill you with his clean and clear Spirit? It’s our only hope of lasting change.