The Greatest Conqueror…
The best way to conquer a people is not by conquering their cities, not by conquering their bodies, not by conquering their economies, natural resources, media or infrastructures. The best way to conquer a people is by conquering their hearts.
Likewise, if you want to conquer an individual, a behaviour, a habit, a sin, the best way is not by exerting brute effort, not by articulating great intellectual debate, not by legislation or promise of reward. The best way is by conquering one’s heart.
Just think… What has motivated and transformed you thus far in your journey of life? Has it been by external confines or self-will. No, the body and mind are insufficient to pilot a soul. A body can be forced into hard labour, but inside the heart remains a rebel. A mind can lose a debate in defending a view, but the heart will remain committed to that view.
Only transformation of the heart brings redirection of the soul. Only a love greater than one’s own is sufficient. “Self cannot cast our self,” writes Maxwell. Self-love, carnal love, love of sin, rebellion and autonomy can only be expelled when one’s soul encounters the Agapé love of God!
Some 200 years ago Scottish pastor, Thomas Chalmers (1780-1847), wrote the classic sermon The Expulsive Power of a New Affection. In it he states,
“There are two ways in which a practical moralist may attempt to displace from the human heart its love of the world—either by a demonstration of the world’s vanity, so as that the heart shall be prevailed upon simply to withdraw its regards from an object that is not worthy of it; or, by setting forth another object, even God, as more worthy of its attachment, so as that the heart shall be prevailed upon not to resign an old affection, which shall have nothing to succeed it, but to exchange an old affection for a new one.
My purpose is to show, that from the constitution of our nature, the former method is altogether incompetent and ineffectual and that the latter method will alone suffice for the rescue and recovery of the heart from the wrong affection that domineers over it.” – Thomas Chalmers, The Expulsive Power of a New Affection.
Someone has simplified this truth in this pithy analogy: “The easiest way to take a bone from the teeth of a possessive dog is to offer it a steak!”
The Love of God is the only thing that can conquer our carnal heart and rightly redirect our straying soul.