When we are tempted and seek to know and love God, and like Moses long to see His glory, and out of that occupation of our minds have no further love for that previous temptation, we have experienced something of the reality of the very highest form of freedom from sin. It is one thing to love sin and to force ourselves to quit it; it is another thing to hate sin because love for God is so gripping that the sin no longer appeals. The latter is repentance; the former is reform. It is repentance that God requires. Repentance is “a change of mind.” To love and yet quit it is not the same as hating it and quitting it. Your supposed victory over a sin may be simple displacement. You may love one sin so much (such as your pride) that you will curtail another more embarrassing sin which you also love. This may look spiritual, but there is nothing of God in it. Natural men do it every day. Jim Ellif

From <https://gracequotes.org/topic/temptation/>

This quote has been on my mind for several days now. I am drawn to this phrase – “it is one thing to hate sin because love for God is so gripping that the sin no longer appeals.” I have struggled with how hard it is sometimes to say no to “sin.” We live in a culture that glorifies willpower. I saw a video the other day of a 69 year old woman who had held a plank for 4 1/2 hours. (I’m not sure I even know what that is!!) This was a tribute to the incredible willpower and perseverance this woman had to reach a goal not many (if any) other 69-year-old women will ever attain. I think it’s an incredible feat and I’ll cheer her on.

The spiritual life, though, is not like that. I’m not saying it isn’t hard but Christian maturity cannot be reached through willpower. What the author of the quote above gets is that simply to hate a sin is not enough. There will always be another sin we love more – and at best, with this kind of mindset we displace one sin with another (and typically that sin will have a deeper grip on us).

Resurrection life is wholly unlike this. It is a growing in love and in worship for what Christ has done for us. Change, transformation, freedom comes from a life that abides in Christ. Read 1 John (soon!) – it won’t take you long – He uses some form of the verb abide more than 20 times in this short letter. In chapter 4:12 – abides (or resides as the NET Bible translates) “is a reference to the permanent relationship which God has with the believer. Here it refers specifically to God’s indwelling of the believer in the person of the Holy Spirit…” (NET notes on this verse). To fully live into the resurrection of Christ means just this: we abide with God, He indwells us, and it is a shared life we now have – and in that sense, deep calls to deep, as we seek to find that kind of love that is willing to cast off all that gets in the way of incarnational reality.

I think every Christian deep within, longs for this kind of love – a love for God that is so gripping that sin no longer appeals. Maybe, those sins or temptations you were able to keep at bay during Lent have now returned – like the first buffet line after a long restrictive diet. No shame there – just an invitation to turn your heart to Jesus – and ask Him, “what does it mean, Lord? To be so filled with love for you, that all other loves fade – even my love of sin?

My intention today was to write the confessional prayer for this week – And I will – but this thought has just gripped me – to love Christ more than sin… And if I don’t do that – that is probably the best confession I can make, to Him. We might be tempted to feel shame that we don’t love Christ more. But again, this is not at all the point! This is an invitation to come to the Father, come to Jesus, and let the Holy Spirit reveal Him to you.

This song came to my mind. It’s a really old hymn. There are so many versions out there. I love Shane and Shane and so I’ve put a link here to a YouTube video. Maybe just find a version on your favorite streaming service – just let these words grip you and take you to that intimate place with your God.

Lord Jesus, I love Thee, I know Thou art mine;
For Thee, all the pleasures of sin I resign;
My gracious redeemer, my Savior art Thou,
If ever I loved Thee, Lord Jesus, ’tis now.

I love Thee, because Thou hast first loved me,
And purchased my pardon on Calvary’s tree;
I love Thee for wearing the thorns on Thy brow;
If ever I loved Thee, Lord Jesus, ’tis now.

I’ll love Thee in life, I will love Thee in death,
And praise Thee as long as Thou lendest me breath;
And say when the death-dew lies cold on my brow,
If ever I loved Thee, Lord Jesus, ’tis now

In ages eternal of endless delight
I’ll ever adore Thee in glory so bright’
I’ll sing with the glittering crown on my brow,
If ever I loved Thee, Lord Jesus, ’tis now.

The author was 16 when he wrote this hymn

From <https://www.hymnal.net/en/hymn/h/544>