Free from sin
Has sin lost its appeal for you? (Stock Free Images)

I’ll never forget a quote by a guy who joined Gateway’s recovery group. He had just found faith earlier that year and had been growing to experience this moment-by-moment life with God.

When asked what he hoped to get out of the group, he said, “I’m here because this thing I’m experiencing with God right now is so good, I just don’t want to do anything to screw it up!”

Too often we focus on not doing this or that—it doesn’t work. The more long-term, successful approach is to focus on staying connected and responsive to God, and when we stick with it long enough, we start to experience something better that replaces the old behavior until it’s not such a struggle.

Paul put it this way: “Walk by the Spirit, and you will not carry out the desires of the [old nature].” (Gal. 5:16, NASB)  Frank Laubach wrote this in his journal after the first five months he spent seeking moment-by-moment life with God:

“Oh, this thing of keeping in constant touch with God, of making Him the object of my thought and the companion of my conversations, is the most amazing thing I ever ran across. It is working. I cannot do it even half of a day—not yet, but I believe I shall be doing it some day for the entire day. It is a matter of acquiring a new habit of thought. Now I like the Lord’s presence so much that when for a half hour or so He slips out of mind—as He does many times a day—I feel as though I deserted Him, and as though I had lost something very precious in my life.”

I can now believe him, but this was not always the case for me. For many years, my spiritual life felt dutiful. I would say it was the right way to live or a good way to live but not amazing, life-giving, exciting, thrilling and fulfilling like nothing else.

Now I can say that because that’s been my experience as I’m staying more and more connected in a daily, hourly, sometimes even moment-to-moment way. When we learn to stay connected and responsive, sin begins to lose its appeal.

We sin (go against God’s will or ways) because we think it will get us something we want or need, but the more you stay connected and experience the fulfilling inner life God’s Spirit produces, you selfishly don’t want to sin because you don’t want to ruin something much better with something less satisfying. That’s when lasting change takes root.

John Burke is lead pastor of Gateway Church in Austin, Texas, and the author of No Perfect People Allowed. Click here for more from John Burke or visit John at

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