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Just dropping by ... The seven deadly sins and me

Yevet Tenney Published on 06 November 2015

A religious leader, Larry R. Lawrence, recently gave a sermon that caused me to ponder my standing with God. He told the story of the rich young ruler who came to Christ (Matthew 5:48).

The young man wanted to know what he lacked to gain salvation. He was keeping the commandments and doing everything he could to be a good man. He asked, “What lack I yet?” He was mortified when the Lord gave him instructions that he needed to sell all his goods and give to the poor and come follow Him. That was too much for the young man, and he went away sorrowing.

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After the sermon, I needed to ask, “What lack I yet?” I was led to study pride, which is one of the seven deadly sins. In my search, I became reacquainted with the seven deadly sins and realized that I had some spiritual work to do; what is more, I could see that we are troubled on every side with these vices. No wonder Christianity and charity are waning in our country.

“The seven deadly sins, also known as the capital vices or cardinal sins, is a classification of vices (part of Christian ethics) that has been used since early Christian times to educate and instruct Christians concerning fallen humanity’s tendency to sin ... The seven deadly sins are believed to destroy the life of grace and charity within a person.” Seven Deadly Sins.

The following list of the seven deadly sins in italics and the explanations thereof are taken from What are the Seven Deadly Sins FAQ.

 

  • Lust – to have an intense desire or need: “But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart.” (Matthew 5:28)

 

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Today, we are plagued with a deluge of lust traps. Nearly every commercial on television or magazine on the shelf depicts a skimpily clad woman selling something. For the men, it’s planting the thought, “If I had that gadget, I’d have a woman like that.” For the women, it’s “If I had that gadget, I could be a woman like that.”

Sadly, these depictions are not an innocent ad selling the gadget. The ad is selling immodesty, immorality, fornication and adultery. It is Satan’s way of marketing the first of the seven deadly sins. The price is loss of the human and family values that have protected society for centuries.

 

  • Gluttony – excess in eating and drinking: “for drunkards and gluttons become poor, and drowsiness clothes them in rags.” (Proverbs 23:21)

 

Gluttony doesn’t just have to do with food and drink, though they are big problems in our society. Think of the excess time we spend on our cell phones and tablets feeding our minds with tantalizing YouTube videos, online games and Facebook. We rob our families of precious time, and sometimes resources, because we are in a drunken-like stupor blocking out the world while we gorge our minds with trivia because the eye-banquet is funny, shocking or looks good.

The price is lost memories, family time, income, connection with other people. What a marvelous tool Satan has. If he can get people to check out from life, he doesn’t have to worry about God’s kingdom. It will never be built.

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  • Greed – excessive or reprehensible acquisitiveness: “Having lost all sensitivity, they have given themselves over to sensuality so as to indulge in every kind of impurity, with a continual lust for more.” (Ephesians 4:19)

 

We are the “gotta-have-it generation.” We are no longer in competition with the proverbial “Joneses.” We are in competition with the media. We must have every new gadget that comes out. We are not concerned about the price because we can get it on credit. The price of greed is bondage and loss of financial freedom.

The poor and the needy suffer because no one cares about them anymore. Toys become the goal. It’s not about salvation. It’s about accumulation of earthly treasures that will perish with us. Satan is right there to laugh about his success.

 

  • Laziness – disinclined to activity or exertion: not energetic or vigorous: “The way of the sluggard is blocked with thorns, but the path of the upright is a highway.” (Proverbs 15:19)

 

Laziness is a disease rampant in many of the rising generation. They are not motivated to rise above the status quo. Many children would rather sit in front of the television than run outside and play. They are becoming Internet game junkies because they have no goals or ambitions.

Vladimir Ilyich Lenin said, “Give me four years to teach the children, and the seed I have sown will never be uprooted.” Vladimir Lenin Quotes. What is the Internet and television teaching our children? What price will we pay for laziness in our society?

 

  • Wrath – strong vengeful anger or indignation: “A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.” (Proverbs 15:1)

 

Road rage, vandalism, murders, spouse and child abuse, and a host of other societal ills are a result of wrath. This uncontrolled anger seems to bubble under the very fabric of our country. Some anger is righteous indignation at the abuses of our government, but much of it is unfounded.

It is pent-up unforgiving hearts trying to get revenge for yesterday’s wrongs. That kind of anger destroys and festers to destroy again. It is an anger that will never be satisfied even with the death of the perpetrator of the anger. Wrath is an all-consuming habit that must be replaced with forgiveness.

 

  • Envy – painful or resentful awareness of an advantage enjoyed by another joined with a desire to possess the same advantage: “Therefore, rid yourselves of all malice and all deceit, hypocrisy, envy, and slander of every kind. Like newborn babies, crave pure spiritual milk, so that by it you may grow up in your salvation.” (1 Peter 2:1-2)

 

Envy goes hand-in-hand with greed and is perhaps the seed that grows into the fruit of greed. We look at others’ talents, successes and material possessions, and we are filled with desire, even lust, for what belongs to someone else. Envy is the antithesis of gratitude. We are always looking for what we don’t have and never seeing what we do have.

Melody Beattie said, “Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos to order, confusion to clarity. It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend.” Brainy Quotes.

If we are filled with gratitude, we will find it difficult to envy others. We will see too much in our own lives.

 

  • Pride – quality or state of being proud, inordinate self-esteem: “Pride goes before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall.” (Proverbs 16:18)

 

Pride is the elusive one. We are taught to take pride in our work, pride in the way we present ourselves, pride in our teams, etc.

There are so many different ways that the word pride is used – it is confusing, but the deadly sin of pride is the kind that C.S. Lewis describes: “Pride gets no pleasure out of having something, only out of having more of it than the next man. … It is the comparison that makes you proud: the pleasure of being above the rest. Once the element of competition has gone, pride has gone.” (Mere Christianity, New York: Macmillan, 1952, pp. 109-110)

Reviewing these seven deadly sins has given me reason to pause and ponder my standing with God. It is easy to say, “I’m doing OK. I don’t do any major sinning.” Well, I don’t do any sins that would get me ‘black marks’ in heaven. I don’t steal, I don’t commit adultery, I don’t kill ... but maybe I am proud in the sense C.S. Lewis describes. Maybe I am at times lazy or gluttonous in the way I use my time.

Maybe I need to get on my knees and, like the rich young ruler, ask “What lack I yet?” Then I need to listen to the answer. God will tell me where I need to improve. God will give me a little at a time ... only what I can handle. It is Satan’s way to overwhelm and discourage. God is always good and in tune with me, whether I am in tune with Him or not.  PD

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