One of the greatest questions for the believer is how do I make progress in the Christian life and defeat sin habits in my life. Despite our cultural answers, it will not be achieved through good efforts or works but instead a reordering of devotion and love. Pastor Tim Keller writes, “[W]hen we rejoice over God’s sacrificial, suffering love for us—seeing what it cost him to save us from sin—we learn to hate the sin for what it is. We see what sin cost God. What most assures us of God’s unconditional love (Jesus’s costly death) is what most convicts us of the evil of sin. Fear-based repentance makes us hate ourselves. Joy-based repentance makes us hate the sin.” He later wrote, “If we have made idols out of work and family, we do not want to stop loving our work and our family. Rather, we want to love Christ so much more that we are not enslaved by our attachments. ‘Rejoicing’ is a way of praising God until the heart is sweetened and rested, and until it relaxes its grip on anything else it thinks it needs.” The struggle is for us as believers to understand that this Christian life is not based on more effort or hard work. This pull toward good works is seen in the Gospel of Luke as the young ruler comes to Jesus and asks, “what must I do to inherit eternal life” (Luke 18:18 [ESV]). However these efforts prove to be insufficient for authentic change, therefore there must be something that moves our hearts toward a better and greater love. Pastor J.D. Greear wrote, “Ceasing sin is the by-product of seeing God. As we see the beauty of God and feel His weightiness in our hearts, our hearts begin to desire Him more than we desire sin. Before the Bible says, ‘Stop sinning,’ it says, ‘Behold your God!’” Additionally, Greear wrote, “When we see the size and beauty of the God who speaks to us, the power of sin and idolatry over our hearts is broken. The way we stop sinning is not by being told over and over, ‘Stop sinning!’ but by seeing the majesty and glory of God in our hearts.”
Therefore, the answer to breaking the power of sin in our lives and growing in our relationship with God, is not primarily motivated by hard work, but being captivated by a greater love. When we realize the amazing grace that we have been shown through Christ, all other loves will pail in comparison.
Check back next week for a follow up post.
 Keller, 172.
 Ibid., 173.
 J.D. Greear, Gospel: Recovering the Power that Made Christianity Revolutionary (Nashville: B&H Publishing Group, 2011), 97.