According to the ancient philosopher Aristotle, “Nature abhors a vacuum.” Aristotle based his conclusion on the observation that nature requires every space to be filled with something, even if that something is colorless, odorless air.
The same principle is at work in our spiritual lives. When the Holy Spirit begins to convict us of sin, the idea of starting a self-improvement plan immediately comes to mind. We put forth our best effort to defeat our worst habits. But every attempt to get rid of unclean thoughts, attitudes, and desires is destined to fail because getting rid of one creates a vacuum in our souls. As soon as we empty ourselves of one vice, others move in to take its place, and we end up just as bad or worse than when we started.
Thinking about vacuums helps us to understand the importance of what Paul was saying to the Ephesians when he prayed that Christ would dwell in their hearts through faith and that they would “know the love of Christ . . . that [they] may be filled with all the fullness of God” (3:19).
The only permanent solution to the problem of sin in our lives is to replace it with the love of Jesus, which fills the vacuum. The more we are filled with His love, the less room there is for any evil thing.