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Most of us are familiar with the seven deadly sins. They are a list originally used in early Christian teachings to educate and instruct followers concerning fallen man’s tendency to sin. These sins include lust, gluttony, greed, laziness, wrath, envy and pride. While many believe these seven sins are directly mentioned in the Bible, the truth is Scripture doesn’t specifically describe these sins. The Bible does, however, refer to such serious sins as sexual immorality, idolatry, Spiritism, fits of anger and drunkenness as “works of the flesh.” We are told that “those who practice such things will not inherit God’s Kingdom” (Galatians 5:19).

The King James Bible does mention seven things that are an abomination to the Lord (Proverbs 6:16), but these describe basic categories that represent all types of wrongful acts, particularly related to thought, word and deed. Proverbs 6:17-19 calls them out as, “Haughty eyes, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood, a heart plotting wicked schemes, and feet that run quickly to evil, a false witness who lies with every breath and anyone sowing contentions among brothers.” These seven abominations don’t point to the seven deadly sins we are commonly familiar with.

Just because the Bible doesn’t mention these seven sins directly, that doesn’t mean that they aren’t harmful to us. Despite popular culture making light of these sins, they should be taken very seriously. Pride has broken families apart, greed has torn humanity into shreds and envy keeps people from feeling the joy God has for each of us. It takes heroic virtue in most cases to overcome these. Most of us are afflicted greatly with a number of these on the list. Once you give into one of these sins, it’s so easy for the spirit of the others to come into your heart as well. Thankfully, we have the power to fight the seven deadly sins and live for God.

If we want to combat the seven deadly sins, the first thing we have to accept is that we can’t have everything. You can work hard, save your money, and even buy many things you desire, but the truth is someone else will always have more to their name. We all know the Joneses. They’re the ones who just got back from a two-week trip to Europe dragging suitcases stuffed with souvenirs. They drive their kids to private school in their new car, and every weekend, they head out of town – fashionably dressed – to eat at their favorite restaurants. They always seem to have money to do everything they want to do whenever they want to do it. No budget. No worries. They’ve got it all or so it seems. The truth is, they don’t have everything and keeping up with Joneses isn’t going to bring joy. God tells us in 1 Corinthians 13:5 that “love is never jealous,” and loving our neighbors is something we are called by God to do. The next time you begin feeling envious of what others have, take a close look at what God has blessed you with and say a short prayer of thanks. Ask God to change your heart and allow you to be grateful for the blessings He has bestowed upon you. Also, pray that God will help you along your journey in life.

The next thing we have to remember is that life isn’t all about us. Your actions and priorities do affect those around you. With that in mind, know that every time you choose to be lazy instead of meeting friends you made plans with weeks in advance, you are hurting your relationship with them. When you choose to stay in your pajamas, eating playing games or watching movies all day, your relationships suffer, as does your waistline. Being lazy doesn’t necessarily limit itself to refusing to attend social functions. Being lazy includes the refusal to listen when God tells you to take a few hours each week to help feed the hungry or go to the bank to get some cash to donate to a good cause. It’s important that you keep yourself mentally and physically active by participating in outreach events. Pray for people in your spare time. Do God’s work and keep yourself from allowing the sin of sloth to overcome you.

Thirdly, we need to make God the most important part of our day. If you’re struggling with any of the deadly sins, it’s important that you pray. Communication with God is key and prayer should be a daily practice. It’s easy to cast this aside. Or to tell ourselves “I’ll spend time with God after I do this quick other thing.” Many things seem more urgent and while they may be at the top of your priority list, they are not more important than God. Spending time with God is the single-most important priority you’ll do each day. Your time in Scriptures and prayer should have as its goal a growing love for God.

Finally, we need to confess our sins immediately. When you do commit one of the seven deadly sins, confess it immediately and then move on. The Bible tells us. “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9). In a very practical sense, God’s indignation over your daily sins demonstrates His love for you. Keep short accounts with God and with others. Don’t allow unconfessed sin to weigh down your life. Grace is there for that very reason (1 John 1:9). Grace allows you to move on. Keep confessing your sins; seek God’s forgiveness and cleansing daily. As the verse says, He is faithful to Himself to forgive your sins and He is just, having already made full atonement for your sins through the sacrifice of His beloved Son.

The Bible is clear that the only sin God will not forgive is that of continued unbelief, because it rejects the only means to obtain forgiveness – Jesus Christ and His substitutionary death on the cross. Today, you are provided with the opportunity for self-examination and renewed repentance. Don’t let these sins control your heart.