Saturday, March 19, 2016

A Stronger Attraction than Sin

Here’s an interesting analogy that can help us understand how experiencing more of God’s love and growing more in love with God helps us to resist the pull of sinful attractions.

All objects in the universe attract each other by gravity.  The bigger the object, the more the pull of its gravity.  The farther away an object, the less the pull of its gravity.

The Sun keeps all the planets in orbit with its gravity.  But the planets also pull on each other.  The force of the gravity of Jupiter on the Earth (when Jupiter is closest to Earth) is actually stronger than the force of the Sun’s gravity on Pluto. So, since the pull of Jupiter’s gravity is so strong, why doesn’t the Earth orbit Jupiter?  After all, the weaker force which the Sun exerts on Pluto causes Pluto to orbit the Sun.

If the Earth did orbit Jupiter we would be in big trouble!  To begin with, we would all freeze.  Although the details are complicated, the simplest way to explain why the Earth does not orbit Jupiter is that while Jupiter’s pull is strong, the pull of the Sun is much stronger (about 25 thousand times stronger!).

What does this have to do with temptation?  Temptation is like a pull towards something harmful.  While it is true that we should directly resist the pull, this can get exhausting, and sometimes we are not strong enough.  We feel like a little planet Earth trying to resist Jupiter sized temptation!  Do we have any hope?  Yes!

We are not alone in our battle against temptation.  God helps us!  One of the most powerful ways to resist temptation is to experience the stronger pull of the love and grace of God in Christ Jesus.  Temptation may be bigger than us, but our God is way bigger than any temptation.  Experiencing the pull of His love, truth, and grace can help us overcome the pull of sin.

So, the pull of the Sun is greater than the pull of Jupiter.

And, the pull of the Son is greater than the pull of sin.

The Analogy is Limited

Unlike the planet Earth, we are not totally passive when it comes to being pulled either towards sin or towards God.  We can experience more of God’s attraction by spending more time with God through prayer, the Bible, and Christian fellowship and service.  Conversely, we will experience a stronger attraction towards sin if we expose ourselves to more temptation.

So, a major key to overcoming temptation is to intentionally draw near to God.  Pray a lot. Read the Bible.  Listen to Christian music and sing praises in your heart.  Go to church.

And stay away from things, places, and sometimes even people which lead us into temptation.

The pull of gravity depends on how close you are.  So does the pull of God’s love and the pull of sin.

Here are two short passages to meditate on which are related to the ideas in this post:

NIV  Colossians 3:1 Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. 2 Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things.

NIV Titus 2:11 For the grace of God has appeared that offers salvation to all people. 12 It teaches us to say "No" to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age . . .

You should also look at Romans 13:14, Romans 12:2, Matthew 6:24, 1 John 2:15, and James 4:4.

For most of you, this post is over.  But, if you are a bit “geeky” (like Joy and I), I’ve included some equations, charts, notes, and a cool video link related to the distance between planets down below.

Hebrews 13:16 And do not forget to do good and to share with others . . .

Geeky Technical Science and Math Stuff (don’t miss the cool video below, even if you don’t like math)


Mass of the Sun = 1.98 * 1030 kg

Gravitation Constant (G) = 6.67*10-11 N m2/kg2

Mass (1024kg)

Strength of gravity between Sun and earth:

Fgrav = (6.67*10-11 N m2/kg2)(1.98*1030 kg)(5.97*1024kg)/(1.5*1011 m)2

= 3.5 * 1022 N
Gravitational Force between sun and pluto:

Fgrav = (6.67*10-11 N m2/kg2)(1.98*1030 kg)(1.46*1022kg)/(5.9*1012 m)2

F = 5.5 * 1016 N

Gravitational Force between Earth and Jupiter at its closest point:

Fgrav = (6.67*10-11 N m2/kg2)(5.97*1024kg)(1.898*1027kg)/(6.3*1011 m)2

Fgrav = 1.9 * 1018 N

Note:  My calculations might not be perfect.  And technically, it would be a bit more meaningful to compare gravitational accelerations rather than gravitational forces, but that would mess up the analogy.

Other note:  The drawing of the solar system at the top of the post, like all drawings of the solar system, is not to scale.  To see a really neat scale model of the solar system, watch the video below:

What an awesome Creator we worship!

Extra note:  I think I first heard the analogy of Jupiter being like the pull of temptation and God being like the Sun from John Piper.  I believe he talked about this during the “Sex and the Supremacy of Christ” conference put on by Desiring God, but I can’t find the message online where I first heard it.

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