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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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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 (9)

Do to illnesses I tend to not put myself out there for my friends, family and neighbors. I get in my head "What can you do for them?"

Ohhb Elizabeth I hear you due to illness I have been in bed for almost a month now and can’t eat it is very hard. But it’s when I’m up and about that I sin! When in bed GOD brings me to my knees Spiritualy I believe to get my attention. Otherwise I continue in Spiritual pride ??

I struggle with being comfortable over surrendering my will to God in fear He will ask me to do really hard things. I truly desire to abide in Him and live a life in obedience but I need to let go of my own comfort.

Sometimes I tend to try to help out God by doing things on my own. I feel like I am helping but I am not, it is my pride standing in the way. I need to pray ask for directions and be still in waiting for God.

If pride is control over our own lives, then that is the biggest sin of all. We live in a world where we all want what we want, and if it is for the good then we see no reason why we shouldn’t have it. We see no value of suffering and we want nothing to do with it. We see no reason for forgiveness if we were truly wronged. We see no reason for change if we think we have been a good person or a good follower of Christ. It is all about "self" and it is heart breaking, frustrating and depressing when I see all those things in myself. Thank you for the incredible writing which forced me to think about all this….we always see the spec in the other person’s eye and never the plank in our own.

I just keep doing the same sin over and over I’m guilty of both of these, 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’s so frustrating to keep doing the same sin like I can’t get out of the rut! I obviously do not go to GOD even so how can I trust HIM? Yes I forget about the fact that HE has done HIS work in my life.
I pray that I can stay in HIS WORD so I can be reminded to go to HIM! THANK YOU for doing this study I need it! ??

My shrinking back from doing the hard work of loving my neighbor shows that I don’t trust God to give me the right words to speak. It shows that I fear what their reaction might be if I say or do the wrong thing, more than the consequences of my disobedience. My seeking security in the things of the world shows that I don’t trust God to provide for my needs no matter what happens in the future. And at the root of it all is pride and my desire to have control. Reality is I don’t have control and never did. I know that God is in control and always provides. Somehow the application seems to elude me.

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.

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