Monday, September 03, 2007

Musing ... On the Expulsive Power of New Affection

Pronunciation: \ik-ˈspel\
Function: transitive verb
1 : to force out : eject
2 : to force to leave (as a place or organization) by official action : take away rights or privileges of membership

One of the things I learned from CCEF is Thomas Chalmers' phrase, "The expulsive power of a new affection."

The idea is that we always have an affection for something; the question is, "What?" Another slant on this is the more common notion that we'll always worship something or someone. And so the way to help someone trapped in sin -- drugs, destructive habits, relationships, etc -- is to guide them in transferring their affections from serving this idol, to worship of the true and living God. This is the only way to experience true and lasting change.

I realized this weekend that it goes the other way, too. We can think we have our eyes fixed on Christ when in reality we have a comfortable, casual relationship with our Savior. So when something more alluring comes along, we find that this casual commitment fails us. We are not firmly set in our affection for Christ, and so our new affection easily displaces our worship. Sometimes it's so subtle that we don't even notice the shift, but we are indeed experiencing the expulsive power of a new affection.

I had a conversation with a friend a few years ago and remember her telling me, "I never really get over one guy until I move onto the next." She has discovered the expulsive power of a new affection! The trick, as I see it, is to expel a horizontal affection for a vertical one, for an eternal one. And to not let subsequent horizontal affections resume priority over our joy in savoring Christ.

Prone to wander, Lord I feel it
Prone to leave the God I love.
Take my heart, o take and seal it,
Seal it for thy courts above!


Greg said...

I hope you don't mind if I pull some of this for future sermon fodder...

Molly said...

You are very welcome to, Greg!

"For further study"... one of the best places I've seen this practically worked out is in Welch's book "Addictions." It's whole thesis is replacing worship of a false idol with worship of a true God. In particular (on this subject), I'd recommend chapters 7 and 8, and a diagram he has called "The Process of Change."