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Identify the Source

Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, to make you obey its passions.

Romans 6:12
Identify the Source Book Cover

Nutsedge, often referred to as “nutgrass,” looks like ordinary grass. Thin blades. Grass-like roots. But nutsedge is anything but ordinary grass. Its roots? They’re connected to a tub deep under the soil. Pulling out a blade of nutsedge may feel good, but the tub, with more outgrowths than a mole’s burrow, will sprout hundreds more shoots. The only way to purge nutsedge is to kill the tub.

Without understanding how daily attitudes and behaviors grow from deeper sin issues in our lives, we’ll sprout new habits just as deadly as the old. The primary tub from which all sin grows is pride. Pride wants to take God’s place. When we desire control over our lives, we are serving our pride. Saint Augustine said, “In this lay my sin, that not in him was I seeking pleasures, distinctions and truth, but in myself and the rest of his creatures, and so I fell headlong into pains, confusions and errors.”1 All sin stems from pride because all sin in some way claims to know a better path for our lives than God’s. When we don’t trust God in some fundamental way, we respond out of our own skewed desires and our need to set things right in our way.

The Seven Deadly Sins

The ancient church named the seven deadly sins to help us get at the underpinnings of our sinful responses.

Anger seethes at personal slights and offenses, and we end up taking matters into our own hands rather than pursuing God’s ways of justice. Sloth chooses apathy rather than the hard work of loving our neighbor as ourselves. It may hide under the covers or in busyness, but it slouches from obeying God’s commands. Envy seeks to bring others down when we aren’t the best, when we feel like we’re missing out, or when others have it better. If we’re not successful, we don’t want them to be either. Lust doesn’t want to give up the pleasures of this world, like Saint Augustine when he said, “Grant me chastity and self-control, but please not yet.”2 While God has given us good gifts to enjoy, lust seeks these gifts over the giver. Greed wants to have it all. It seeks security in the things of this world, even if that means hoarding it from others. Conceit protects its image above all else, finding significance in how we are perceived. Gluttony indulges in the things of this world, not for joy but to forget the hard things and feel better. Think Templeton in Charlotte’s Web when he confesses, “I am a glutton but not a merrymaker.”3

In all of these sins, we find our identity, belonging, dignity, comfort, and significance outside of God. When these things are threatened, we react not in God’s love but out of our fear.

 

1 Saint Augustine, Confessions, trans. Maria Boulding (Hyde Park, NY: New City Press, 1997), 32.
2 Saint Augustine, Confessions, Ibid., Bk VIII, 7, p. 149.
3 E. B. White, Charlotte’s Web (New York: HarperCollins, 1952), 29–30.

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The Power to Change

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Confess Sin

Daily Question

In what way does your sin reveal your lack of trust in God and his work in your life and in the world?

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Comments (14)

I desire control, which is sinful. When things don’t go as planned, especially when it comes to health for me or my family, I want to know what’s wrong and how to fix it NOW. My fear has caused me to rely on "Dr. Google" and doctor appointments instead of slowing down and asking the Great Physician for guidance has cost me unnecessary worry and money.

I want things done a certain way. When I react in anger towards my husband I am really saying I need to stop his “offensive” behavior rather than submitting and praying to God to change how I respond and let Him be in control. The Holy Spirit just convicted and showed me the “I” in the middle of PRIDE shows that I am acting like I should be the center of my life instead of God. Father, thank You for revealing this truth. Please forgive me and help me to change as only You can. For me it’s impossible, however, anything and everything is possible with You. Amen.

I’m guilty of all of the above, if not now,at various times in my life. It’s like a pop up game. Once one of them is recognized and surrendered, another one raises it’s ugly head. I suspect that I will continue to be a work in progress until the day I die. That thought doesn’t give me license, but rather reminds me that when I think I’ve done well, think again. All our righteousness is as filthy rags, right?

Hiding in busyness, occasional envy, seeking after pleasures when times are difficult to easy the burden, a bit of greed —many things at different times, substituting my energy for earthly pleasures instead of seeking him first. As a work in progress, I beg him to reveal these sins to me, and help me to be more like him. Thank God for this revealing study.

Control. I want control of various things in my life. I am jealous of my friends relationship with a different person because I want to control what my friend does. That’s not just sad, it’s scary. I want to control my house, so at time I know I have been short with my husband and have made him feel belittled. I don’t like that attitude – it’s not pretty. I have done the same to my mom and my friend. I want to control my work atmosphere so often disagree with my boss. Work would be much more enjoyable if I could submit to my boss’ authority without question (unless the question is warrented; such as a safety concern).

When I choose to sin, I am falling into Satans hold and trusting in my flesh. At the time the flesh is satisfied, guilt will set in knowing I fell into my fleshly desire and did not trust God to guide me to safety from the choice of sin.

Sin reveals that I am not keeping God at the center of my mind & heart. I am quick to react without forethought, without taking the time to seek God first which often results in sinful behaviors such as anger, conceit, envy, apathy. It is easier to pin point these behaviors before reacting when I keep God at the front & center of my mind & heart.

I’m not giving the situation I am having anger about up to him! I am jumping ahead of him and reacting, instead of praying about it and trusting him for the outcome. I am not waiting on him or being patient. I am not praying for my spouse or using kind words! Just jumping into anger and not giving it up to God. Which is bad…. I gotta work on this.

Wow. This is a gut punch today. As I was reading about the 7 deadly sins…I literally have an issue with almost every one of them. I’ve been so angry with God for an ongoing trauma that my younger sister is now facing as well…and, I just can’t seem to get to peace with Him. I’ve been wrestling for longer than I think is reasonable, and this may be why. In my feeling justified to wrestle Him, I have developed "justifications" to continue in patterns of behavior that are enslaving me. Self-reliance is a major idol in my life. I think I have actually formed the thought…"Fine God…if You can’t do it right, then I will just have to do it myself." Humility work, here I come. Boy, do I have some confessing to do.

I have never thought about sloth in that way before. Im feeling worn thin right now with the business of motherhood and work and home and marriage. I think that I’m using business to justify sin. I feel like I don’t have the energy to love my neighbor as my self. I also see myself greedy for relaxation and time alone. I know that when I don’t feel good enough I get angy and jealous and try to justify myself and tear down others, usually this comes up with my husband. I think all of this how’s a lack of trust in God. I try to justify myself, I try to restore myself, to provide for myself. That seems clear but also feels confusing because I think I actually do need rest and time that I’m not getting. When do I take what I need? Im not sure I get it.

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