A look at the 7 Deadly sins #4
Sin deceives, then defiles, then deadens. ® The danger is you think you’re Ok, BUT you’ve wondered from the Truth….
By Pastor George Lehman
We are busy with “The Seven Deadly Sins”.
They can become destructive habits and allow all that is good in us to unravel.
Many lives have been shipwrecked as a result of not checking for sinful habits and doing everything in your ability to avoid them at ALL COST!
Hebrews 12:1 (Ampl) – Therefore then, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses [who have borne testimony to the Truth], let us strip off and throw aside every encumbrance (unnecessary weight) and that sin which so readily (deftly and cleverly) clings to and entangles us, and let us run with patient endurance and steady and active persistence the appointed course of the race that is set before us,
Encumbrance – obstacle / burden / obstruction
So far, we have dealt with the sin of … pride, envy, anger, gluttony and lust we now look at #6 & #7
#6 Greed [begerigheid / gulsigheid] or covetousness (Having a craving for possessions / power / recognition / position etc.
Greed = unhealthy, excessive desire for wealth for possessions; selfish or hoarding.
“Greed is a fat demon with a small mouth and whatever you feed it, is never enough.” It is not so much that you have greed – it’s what becomes of you because of that greed.
These are the words of Gordon Gecko as spoken by Michael Douglas in the film “Wall street”: “The point is, ladies and gentlemen, that greed for lack of a better word, is good, greed is right, greed works, greed clarifies, cuts through and captures the essence of the evolutionary spirit. Greed in all of its forms – greed for life, for money, for love, knowledge has marked the upward surge of mankind.”
Consider this, if an individual starts a business, grinds his employees mercilessly, undermines his competition, deceitfully overcharges his customers regularly but makes a fortune in the process… What do we call him? A success.
The power of greed in the world – is projected as right and acceptable in our world and society. SADLY God’s people buy into it too.
Hebrews 13:5 (Ampl) – Let your character or moral disposition be free from love of money [including greed, avarice, lust, and craving for earthly possessions] and be satisfied with your present [circumstances and with what you have]; for He [God] Himself has said, I will not in any way fail you nor give you up nor leave you without support. [I will] not, [I will] not, [I will] not in any degree leave you helpless nor forsake nor let [you] down (relax My hold on you)! [Assuredly not!]
Moral – Standards
Avarice – Excessive desire for wealth
There is a difference between self-interest, ambition and greed.
SELF-INTEREST: It’s our responsibility to look after ourselves as well as those who depend on us to care for them. We cannot look after them if we have NO resources with which to do it. Enjoying the fruits of wealth is by no means a bad thing.
AMBITION: Likewise, is healthy and vibrant, spurring us on to achieve more. Not wasting our lives but making them count to something good and worthwhile.
For example the 5, 2 and 1 talents that were given out and some put it to good use and earned more talents.
These are not wrong, but the deadliness of greed happens when it leads us to embrace other sinful behaviours.
1 Timothy 6:17-19 (Ampl) – As for the rich in this world, charge them not to be proud and arrogant and contemptuous of others, nor to set their hopes on uncertain riches, but on God, Who richly and ceaselessly provides us with everything for [our] enjoyment. [Charge them] to do good, to be rich in good works, to be liberal and generous of heart, ready to share [with others], In this way laying up for themselves [the riches that endure forever as] a good foundation for the future, so that they may grasp that which is life indeed.
GREED unfortunately is an inner deadly sin that gives birth to many outward evil acts.
Matthew 13:22 (Ampl) – As for what was sown among thorns, this is he who hears the word, but the cares of the world and pleasure and delight and glamour and deceitfulness of riches choke and suffocate the word, and it yields no fruit. It effects your fruit bearing Christian life to stop functioning!
Consider these scriptures:
Ephesians 5:3 (Ampl) – But immorality (sexual vice) and all impurity [of lustful, rich, wasteful living] or greediness must not even be named among you, as is fitting and proper among saints (God’s consecrated people).
Ephesians 5:5 (Ampl) – For be sure of this: that no person practicing sexual vice or impurity in thought or in life, or one who is covetous [who has lustful desire for the property of others and is greedy for gain]–for he [in effect] is an idolater–has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God.
Greed can cause people to push God out of their lives.
The 10th commandment is, “you shall not covet (greed)” because it can lead to you breaking the 1st commandment, “you shall have no other gods before me”.
Proverbs 1:19 (Ampl) – So are the ways of everyone who is greedy of gain; such (greed for plunder) takes away the lives of its possessors.
You have succeeded in life when all you really want is only what you really NEED. When enough is enough.
The answer to greed is generosity. Not owned, but loaned. Everything we have is a gift from God.
1 Timothy 6:6-7 (NIV) – Godliness with contentment is great gain, for we brought nothing into this world and it is certain we can carry nothing out.
We all know the joy when we give someone a gift we have specially chosen.
So too it makes God’s heart happy when His children are generous.
Luke 6:38 (LB) – For if you give, you will get! Your gift will return to you in full and overflowing measure, pressed down, shaken together to make room for more and running over. Whatever measure you use to give – large or small – will be used to measure what is given back to you.
Remember, God says in His word, “He loves a cheerful GIVER”.
“A man there was and they called him mad; the more he gave the more he had.”
#7 Sloth [luiheid / traagheid]
Sloth: Laziness, habitual inactivity, sluggishness*, reluctance or dislike to work.
*sluggishness = TOMORROW is the best day for a lazy man. The lazier a man is, the more he is going to do tomorrow.
Ecclesiastes 4:5 (Message) – The fool sits back and takes it easy, his sloth is slow suicide.
Sloth is probably the most puzzling of the 7 deadly sins. It’s also hard to define.
If sloth is just sheer laziness, then we could all be in danger of a deadly sin. We all have those moments when we just feel a bit lazy, take it easy, sleep in a bit etc..
Dorothy L. Sayers wrote of sloth:
It is not merely idleness of mind and laziness of body. It is the whole poisoning of the will which, beginning with indifference and an attitude of “I couldn’t care less”.
If we imagine the opposite of sloth then Jesus fits the bill. Can you ever imagine the words, “I couldn’t care less” on His lips?
He lived with passion, intensity, suffering, joy and pain. He was always about His Father’s business.
A slothful person always has lots of excuses why he’s not doing what he should.
Proverbs 20:4 (Ampl) – The sluggard does not plow when winter sets in; therefore he begs in harvest and has nothing
A slothful person always takes the easy way out – to compromise and take short cuts.
Proverbs 13:4 (LB) – Lazy people want much but get little, while the diligent are prospering.
Why close off the series with sloth?
Because if we are slothful, lazy, habitually inactive, we will end up with a “couldn’t care less” attitude! We won’t be faithful in prayer, reading our bibles, attending church and cells. We’ll do the bare minimum to just get by!
With an attitude of sloth, we won’t grow spiritually. We won’t want to deal with the sins of pride, envy, anger, gluttony, lust and greed.
A slothful Christian is deceived to think “I’m fine”.
HOWEVER: The Higher Life living child of God is active, effective and passionate, always does more than asked.
Philemon :21 NIV – Confident of your obedience, I write to you knowing that you will do even more than I ask.
Hebrews 6:12 (Ampl) – In order that you may not grow disinterested and become [spiritual] sluggards, but imitators, behaving as do those who through faith (by their leaning of the entire personality on God in Christ in absolute trust and confidence in His power, wisdom, and goodness) and by practice of patient endurance and waiting are [now] inheriting the promises.