The Seven Deadly Sins

1. Pride - Any thought or idea that disagrees with God is pride. Pride is also commonly referred to as the father of all sin, as every other sin has it's root in this one. Any thought that puts self ahead of God is pride. God has made Himself known to us through His Holy Word, through His divine creation, and through His Son, Jesus, so any thought that we may have, any word that we may speak, any deed that we might do that is not in complete agreement with His word is an outright rebellion against God, no matter how trivial the matter may appear to be to us. Pride causes us to be concerned only with our own well-being and desires, rather than the desires and well-being of others, and the desire to be doing the works that God has prepared for us.

Pride is the reason Lucifer was cast out of heaven. He was the most beautiful of all God's angels. He became so proud he thought he could rival God and rule heaven. He not only rebelled against God, he also formed a group of angels and led all of them into rebellion with him. For this rebellion, he was cast out of heaven and became a fallen angel, along with his followers. Pride is also the reason Adam & Eve sinned: they thought to be like God. Pride is a terrible rebellion against God Almighty, and should never be taken lightly. The Bible tells us over and over to humble ourselves before the Lord, promising that if we will obediently humble ourselves, God himself will exalt us, but if we exalt ourselves, He will humble us. Humility and meekness is the opposite of pride, two traits Jesus Christ characterized for us.

2. Anger - While anger and wrath refer to the same sin, wrath refers more to the outward expression of anger. However, there is much more to anger than just the outward expressions of it. Jesus pointed out that all anger (and all sin) begins in the heart. The Bible tell us “Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.” (Proverbs 4:23) Anger at it's most extreme form extreme is hatred. Hatred always begins with anger. Even if it is not expressed outwardly and openly, anger can be hidden inside the heart, where it will fester and rot like a cancer. When Jesus commanded us to forgive, it was much more for our own sake than for the sake of our enemies. Mark Twain said holding on to our anger is like drinking poison and expecting the other person to die. We are only hurting ourselves!

Anger is basically harboring the feeling that God will not deal with this person as they deserve, so we have to deal with them our own way. We have to realize, we will never forgive anyone more than Christ himself forgave us. Forgiving someone isn't saying they were right, or that your are no longer hurt by their actions. It means we choose not to be under the influence of sin. It means knowing that God is in control , and will see justice done, in His time and His way. And if necessary, we can forgive someone without allowing them back into our lives! The opposite of anger is love and kindness, two trait Jesus demonstrated in abundance, and two of the attributes of the fruit of the Holy Spirit given to all believers.

3. Envy - Websters defines envy as a feeling of discontented, resentful longing for what someone else has. Envy is closely related to both greed and lust. Have you ever been around someone who seems to have everything? The one who has a great husband, great kids, a great house, a great job? The one who seems to really have it all together..... but you just don't like that person? You find a dozen reasons for your dislike: they are stuck up, or they think they're better than everyone else. They are braggarts, always talking about the wonderful things they're doing or the fabulous places they're going. They are so lucky, they get all the breaks, while you have to struggle for everything.

Envy causes discontentment, which then leads bitterness, and resentment, which in turn lead to plotting and trying to get what we want, even in ungodly ways. We become unable to enjoy our own life, our own blessings, because we so badly want what someone else has. Eventually it leads to anger that the other person has something we want, and we don't. And anger will always lead us to sin. Envy left unconfessed and unresolved can then become the pathway for other sins, as with greed: lying, cheating, stealing, and manipulating people and events to get what you desire. Although we generally think of envy and jealousy in relation to material things, it also applies to intangibles like love, respect, beauty, personalities or personality traits, opportunities, talents, etc. Whenever we find ourselves desiring something that someone else possesses, whatever it may be, then we are guilty of envy.

Envy can be separated into two categories: malicious and benign. Benign envy is simply realizing that someone else is better off or in a better position than yourself, or has something you want. It doesn't necessarily lead to sin; in fact, benign envy can often be used in a positive way, motivating us to work harder to achieve that person's success, accomplishments, or possessions. Malicious envy is when you feel anger, resentment, and ill-will towards people who you think of as better off than yourself. In the very beginning of human history, God showed us what malicious envy can lead to: Cain murdered his own brother out of jealousy because God had accepted Abel's sacrifice and not his. Thus we see the dangers of envy, and why it is one of the deadly sins. The opposite of this sin is gratitude: being thankful for what God has given us and being satisfied with our life, our abilities and talents, and our possessions. We need to learn, like the apostle Paul, to always be content, whatever our status, and not give in to envy. (Philippians 4:11)

4. Gluttony - Gluttonly is excessive self-indulgence. It is usually used in the sense of food, but can mean over-indulgence in any area. Thomas Aquinas used these 5 parameters to define gluttony in terms of eating, but the same definitions can be applied to every other type of gluttony as well:

  • Overindulging in something too expensive, luxurious, or exotic;
  • Overindulging in excessive quantities;
  • Overindulging in something requiring elaborate preparation;
  • Overindulging at an inappropriate time; and lastly,
  • Overindulging too eagerly.

God gave us the ability to enjoy all things, but there are boundaries. Paul said it like this: "All things are lawful for me, but not all things are helpful: all things are lawful for me, but not all things build up." (I Cor. 10:23) As a parent, would you allow your child to eat unlimited amounts of chips, cake, and soda pop, without having eaten any nourishing food? Or let them stay up all night when they have school the next day? Of course not! Likewise God has given us boundaries, as well. Moderation is the key in all things.

Why is self-indulgence such a deadly sin? It indicates both a lack of self-discipline, and an excessive love for wordly things. And over-indulgence in any area of our lives makes it so much easier to over-indulge in another area. It also gives the enemy a foot in the door, to entice with with the very things we cannot discipline ourselves to use or do or partake of in moderation. The opposite of gluttony is self-control or moderation. This is a gift of the Holy Spirit to all Christians. Exercising restraint is the best way to overcome the sin of gluttony.

5. Lust - The Bible mentions three kinds of lust: lust of the flesh, lust of the eyes, and pride of life. "For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world." (1 John 2:16) Lust of the flesh can be defined as uncontrollable sexual desire, which leads to other sins, such as fornication, homosexuality, and adultery. Lust differs greatly from passion, which is a God-given desire, meant to be fulfilled within the boundaries of the institution of marriage as ordained by God. Passion is God's plan for procreation and the continuation of the family, which is the backbone of any society. Lust considers only it's own desires, not those of the other person or the possible consequences. Lust of the flesh is rebellion against God's ordained design for man and woman, and any desire outside of His design is sin, plain and simple. The opposite of lust of the flesh is chastity self-control, simply refraining from what God has declared to be immoral sexual activity.

While we usually associate lust in terms of the flesh, the other two are very huge stumbling blocks as well. Lust of the eyes is the desire to possess whatever we see, or the desire to have those things which visually appeal to us. This desire does not come from God, but from the world around us. We can lust for new cars, new homes, someone else's spouse, or anything newer or bigger or better than what we already have. These types of material lusts are closely related to gluttony and greed. Remember, Eve fell into sin when she looked at the apple, and saw it was "pleasant to the eyes". And when Satan tempted Jesus, he showed Him a visual to appeal to the eyes. We learned a song as children that taught a very important lesson:"Be care little eyes, what you see." We need to guard our eyes and always be aware of the temptations they may see, because something once seen cannot be unseen.

Pride of life can be defined as anything that causes us to become arrogant, ostentatious, prideful in ourselves, presumptious, and boastful. This lust refers more to intangible things like power, fame, or wealth. John makes it clear that anything that produces the pride of life comes from a love of the world and “If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him” (1 John 2:15).

The fact is that any type of lust stems from lack of self-control: we want something so badly that common sense - and the desire to please God - flies right out the window. This is what gets people into bankruptcies, gambling addictions, uncontrolled spending sprees, and other sins of excess, as well as sexual affairs. The opposite of any type of lust is self-control, being content with what God has given us instead of comparing what we have to what others have and desiring more. Which leads right into the next deadly sin: greed.

6. Greed - Wanting more of anything is greed, or avarice; it is an uncontrollable desire for material, social or political gain. This sin also focuses on one's own desire, rather than on God's desire. From this uncontrollable desire stems all sorts of other sins, such as: hoarding riches and goods that could be used to help those in need, stealing to get what one wants, or lies and manipulation to achieve what one desires most. Money is often the thing people are most greedy for. In fact, early theologians would go as far as to say, other than the Devil, there is no greater enemy to a man than the desire for money. Jesus echoed this when He said, “For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.” (1 Timothy 6:10) Notice that Jesus did not say money itself was the root of all evil, but rather the LOVE of money.

Whether it is of material goods, or other things (love, respect, talent, etc.) we must learn to be satisfied with whatever we have, no matter how much or little that may be. We need to learn that whatever God provides is enough. Truth is, we probably cannot handle more, without it causing us to sin more! “For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?” (Matthew 16:26) That's why Jesus said "It is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to go to heaven." (Luke 18:25) As with pride, greed leads to numerous other sins. The opposite of greed is being thankful for what you have, and being content.

7. Sloth - Sloth is an old word defined in the dictionary as inertia, inactivity, inefficiency, idleness, and laziness. The first six deadly sins are things we should not do but often do anyway. Sloth is different, however: it is the only sin of omission, rather than than commission: it involves NOT doing what you are supposed to do. Sloth is laziness, pure and simple. It is doing whatever we feel like doing, rather than what needs to be done. God did not create us to just idle around and do nothing: from the very beginning of human history, He set man to tending the garden. We each have things God has set for us to do. When we are lazy, we are neglecting the things we know we should be doing. Laziness is showing a disregard for the blessings given to us. God is not going to give us MORE when we are lazy and do not take care of what we already have! We've all heard the phrase idle hands are the devil's workshop. It is a warning to us that when we are not engaged in doing the work we are supposed to be doing, the enemy will distract us with something else to do, something that will usually lead us to sin.

Sloth also refers to spiritual laziness; The Latin translation means "without care". It refers to carelessness in regards to your current life and even eternity. Sloth wastes both the time we have to be about our Father's business, and the resources He has provided for us. Sloth leads to uncleanliness, in our thoughts, in our homes, our jobs, and our lives. It is another form of self-indulgence, that will prevent us from making the most of God's blessings to us now, and will eventually lead to our downfall. The opposite of sloth is being diligent in tending to the work the Lord has assigned to you. The Bible has a lot to says about the sin of laziness or sloth. “The desire of the slothful kills him; for his hands refuse to labor. (Pr 21:25) “Slothfulness casts into a deep sleep; and an idle soul shall suffer hunger. (Proverbs 19:15) “By much slothfulness the building decays; and through idleness of the hands the house drops through. (Ecclessiastes 10:18)

Pride is listed first among these deadly sins, because PRIDE is at the root of all of them. They are all self-indulgent, basically saying we want what we want, when we want it, regardless of what God's Word says. We justify all these sins in our minds: “I deserve it.” “I want it.” “I need it” “I’ve worked for it.” “I’m entitled to it.” “Why shouldn't I have this instead of so-and-so?”. In our minds it's all about us: our focus is all on ourselves, rather than on God. Any reason we come up with is merely a self-centered desire to do what we choose, rather than what God wants.

All of these things are rebellion against God, plain and simple. We can try to rationalize our actions, but we are only deceiving ourselves. I heard an old preacher give the greatest definition of “rationalize”. He said just sound it out: “ration o’ lies” ! We can make excuses, we can cover up, we can rationalize all we want to, but the fact is, these are not God’s way, and so whether we indulge in any one or all of these things, we are in rebellion against God Himself. It is sin. We need to recognize that, and repent!

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