Outgrowing Your Love for Sin

A few years ago, I was leading a high-school Bible study group, and one night several of the students started getting honest about hidden sins. They expressed two things: sincere brokenness and complete frustration. They were broken over their sin, but angry with themselves that they didn’t seem to be able to get victory.

They pressed me for an answer to why . . . why was the pull of sin so strong, so powerful?

Why do we keep returning to destructive addictions?

The short answer is . . . love.

We worship what we love. We crave what we love. We fill our lives with what we love. We submit to what we love.

When we love our sin more than we love God, that’s when we return to familiar—even addictive—sins.

The topic of loving God could fill a book (and has), so I won’t wade too far in. But let me throw out a few thoughts, and then challenge you to run with it and discover more about loving God.

Let your love for Christ grow to such an extent that it outgrows your love for sin.

If you want to know where your heart is—what you really love—consider what your time, energy, thoughts, and finances are most devoted to. Check out this list to see what cravings are driving you . . . and it will be clear what you love.

When we love God more than we love self, it will show up in how we live moment by moment.

Loving God involves:

Getting better acquainted with Him
Paul expresses his desire to know Christ more intimately in Philippians 3. This warrior for the faith, prisoner of Christ, apostle and martyr—at the end of his life is still crying out with the heart of a new lover: “I want to know Christ!” He never grew tired of getting better acquainted with his Savior. We can do the same by studying God’s Word.

Learning His ways
The more we learn about how God operates, the more our love and appreciation for Him will grow. Every page of Scripture allows us to see His ways. When we soak in the reality of what was done at the cross—it gives us a greater understanding of His heart. Observing His grace, love, mercy, holiness, and faithfulness throughout history allows us to learn His ways and love Him more.

Listening to His instructions
Communication is the only way to get better acquainted with someone—whether it’s written or verbal—it’s necessary for building any relationship. Thankfully, our God is not silent. He’s provided a treasure trove of communication for us through His inspired Word. He’s given us instructions to hear and obey. As we listen to His directives, we know Him more, and knowing Him increases our love for Him.

Obeying Him
Jesus made it pretty clear that love for God is demonstrated through obedience to Him. Some may shout “Legalism!” when you’re making tough choices, but if you are truly committed to obeying Scripture (not personal preference or traditions of men), then you are walking in love, not legalism.

Which of these areas do you hope to grow in, as you worship Him today?

Adapted from my post on 04.02.12 at

Image courtesy of Sira Anamwong/


  • Lori

    Kimberly, Thank you so much for reminding me that for those destructive recurring sins I REALLY do just need to examine again my love for the Father. IF I really do want to honor Him and Him alone, I would be more able not to succumb to particular sins. It is definitely an obedience factor. Yes, sometimes a few other factors might come in to play, but the bottom line for my situation is “If it is possible, as far as it depends on me, live in peace with everyone.”
    Thank you! Lori

  • Kimberly Wagner

    Hello Lori ~

    Good to hear from you. Sometimes obedience is really hard, especially when it comes to relationships. And even when we obey, that doesn’t guarantee that the other person will respond in the right way or that our obedience to God will insure unity in the relationship. But, if you are seeking to be right with God and obeying Him as you seek to be right with others, that is all that matters.

    Blessings, friend ~