Tim Johnson, editor
May 18, 2008
is Just a Temporary Arrangement
The Principle of Displacement: How To Overcome Evil With Good
An article in the Times Daily newspaper this past week caught my eye. It was headlined "Are You Offended: Opinions Vary on the use of Swear Words." The author, Bernie Delinski, cited the opinions of several local residents as well as a few national experts on the growing problem of cursing in our culture. One of the experts was James V. O'Connor the founder of the Lake Forest, Illinois based Cuss Control Academy, who has made it his life's work to help people kick the cursing habit. According to the article:
The principle O'Connor is advocating is similar to the Principle of Displacement. Legend says that the ancient mathematician Archimedes discovered the principle of displacement while stepping into a full bath. He realized that the water that ran over the edge of the tub equaled in volume of the submerged part of his body. What he discovered is that the amount of water displaced by a submerged object equals the mass of that object. The legends goes further and tells that Archimedes was so excited with his discovery that he hopped out of the bath, and rushed into the street yelling triumphantly, "Eureka!" "Eureka!" (The Greek word for "I have found it!").
Now, what does the Principle of Displacement have to do with overcoming cursing? Simple, we can displace curse words in our speech by using words that are greater and more impactful. In fact, we can successfully overcome all sorts of bad habits and sinful behaviors by replacing them with things that are bigger and better -- positive habits and good deeds. This is the formula Paul commends in Ephesians 4:28-32. Note how sins are to be displaced by good works in this text:
Friends and brethren, the key to overcoming sin in our lives is to displace it. "Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good" (Romans 12:21).
"Man is like a breath; his days are like a passing shadow" (Psalm 144:4).
"For what is your life? It is even a vapor that appears for a little time and then vanishes away" (James 4:14).
According to the Bible, a lifetime is not a long time. Everything about this life is tempo-rary.
Since life is just a temporary arrangement, we should take hope. This means that the problems, trials, and suffering that we encoun-ter in this life are also temporary. There will be an end to this life's pain.
Since life is just a temporary arrangement, we should not invest all we have in it. In Matthew 6:19, Christ said, "Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal." Even if one is able to maintain posses-sion of his acquired goods, Ecclesiastes 2:18 reminds us of what happens when we leave this life - "Then I hated all my labor in which I had toiled under the sun, because I must leave it to the man who will come after me." In spite of how many possessions you gain in this life, you will only have it for a short while. Don't waste all your efforts or your best efforts invest-ing in this life. This life won't last.
Since life is a temporary arrangement, we should prepare for the eternal one. Jesus con-tinues in Matthew 5 by saying in verse 20,"... but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal." Jesus promises His followers that He will take them to a place where they can live with Him forever (1 Thessalonians 4:17). He also spoke of an unending existence in a place where, "...the fire will not be quenched" (Mark 9:43). What deter-mines where you will end up is your response to Jesus the Son of God. Those who believe on Him and serve Him faithfully are promised an eternity of great joy with Him while those who do not will spend eternity without Him in hell.
If you think that life is a permanent arrangement, think again. It is rather temporary and just around the corner eternity awaits. Are you ready?