The seven deadly sins are pride, lust, gluttony, wrath, envy, greed, and sloth. We often conjure them up in our minds in their extreme forms and thus quickly dismiss them as having any place in our lives. We aren’t swimming in piles of money like Scrooge McDuck so greed isn’t our issue, or we aren’t sleeping in until noon everyday therefore we don’t deal with sloth.
Our desire is not to quickly dismiss but to honestly examine the condition of our hearts and quickly repent. This means we have to look at the seeds and less obvious ways that these vices might show up.
Am I trying to be noticed? Do I crave attention? Do I itch or fish for compliments? Am I argumentative? Do I seek control? Do I refuse advice? Am I critical, yet resent criticism? Am I defensive? Am I inconsiderate? Do I overinflate my own abilities? Am I oversensitive? Am I extra opinionated? Do I hate being wrong? Am I irritated when someone tells me to do something? Am I resentful? Do I belittle others? Do I only hang out with people I feel better than and feed off their insecurity? Do I detest being under authority? Am I extremely bothered by others pride? Am I as proud of what God is doing through other people as what he is doing through me? Do I find it difficult to forgive God for the suffering I see in the world? Am I blind to the good qualities of others? Am I anxious about what others think of me?
Books: What’s So Amazing About Grace? by Philip Yancey // What’s Your Secret? by Aaron Stern
Am I habitually in competition with others? Am I unhappy when someone else gets a break? Am I critical? Do I enjoy conversations about the faults or mistakes of others? Do I like being around people less gifted than I am? Do very virtuous people irritate me? Do I secretly feel good when someone I dislike experiences trouble? Am I persistently tuning in to compare myself with others possessions, achievements, or qualities? Do I take as much pleasure in a friend’s success as I do my own? Do I have a hard time getting over things that don’t seem fair? Do I regularly argue my case for my significance? Do I believe it is my duty to keep people “in their place” and point out their faults? Do I rarely feel satisfied?
Book: One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp
Do I get a high from having or using things? Would I compromise Biblical truth for a big monetary reward or something I really wanted? If a company forgot to bill me, would I think it was their loss and move on? Am I regularly disloyal to God or friends for personal gain? Do I hoard anything? Am I preoccupied with what I want to own? Do I ignore debt? Am I content with what I have? Do I have a hard time getting over losing some money or possession? Do I ever save at the neglect of basic expenses? Do I not care what others think as long as I have plenty of money? Am I preoccupied with future financial security? Do I hate giving?
*Book: Counterfeit Gods by Timothy Keller
Do I feel the constant need for excitement? Do I eat even after I am full? Am I on a quest for entertainment? When I get tired of things do I move to something else (job, major, possessions)? Is my life goal to feel happy? How far will I go to avoid unpleasant feelings? Do I want things exactly my way? Do I despise fasting? Do I ever choose anything that might rob me of pleasure? Do I get disappointed when I don’t get “good feelings” during worship? Do I give up on prayer when I don’t feel anything unique or exciting? Do I avoid dealing with painful issues in my life? Do I get bored easily? Do I sepnd more money on alcoholic beverages than I give to God (church, helping others)? Do I find it difficult to make a commitment? Do I think it would be ideal to be in a constant state of ecstasy? Do I have a hard time finishing things I start?
Fasting resource: Your personal guide to prayer and fasting
Do I insist on immediate gratification for impulses? Do I entertain rebellious attitudes? Do I engage in daydreaming or fantasizing? Am I troubled by dissatisfaction? Do I find forbidden sensual pleasures to be more enjoyable than those that are allowed? Do I need a high level of activity? Do I have a low frustration tolerance? Do I give only when I get something back? Do I ever feel like I’m not getting enough out of life? Do I enjoy watching movies that depict intimate love scenes? Do I compulsively check people out? Do I think the sexual ethic in the Bible is outdated? Do I enjoy hearing or telling off color, suggestive jokes? Do I think that if something feels right I should do it?
*Pornography resource: fightthenewdrug.org
*Sexual addiction resource: sexaddict.com
*Books: The Fight of Your Life by Tim Clinton & Mark Laaser // Connecting by Larry Crabb
Do I start projects and often find reasons not to finish them? Do I find excuses not to do things that I think involve effort? Am I a chronic procrastinator? Do I handle my responsibilities haphazardly…lacking excellence? Do my relationships with loved ones go untended? When I can help someone do I go the other way? Do I find a reason to do spiritual things later? Am I so busy that I don’t have time for God? Do I believe that my efforts for regular prayer and Bible reading are futile? Do I always choose the easiest or most convenient option? Do things that are valuable (marriage, friends, family) seem oppressive or meaningless? Do I find the work to fix things not worth it? Do I feel like every day is too long and barely endurable? Am I regularly angry with myself? Do important tasks get neglected as I do trivial things? Do I think there is no use in fighting sin? Do I only do the bare minimum every chance I get?
*Book: Celebration of Discipline by Richard Foster
Am I discourteous or rude? Am I unable to express gratitude? Am I looking for a chance to get even? Do I look for opportunities to injure someone (physically, emotionally, relationally, financially, verbally)? Can I think of someone I hate? When someone insults me do I dwell on what I could have said to get even? Do I wish I could put someone in their place? Do I celebrate when someone who hurt me fails in some way? Do I have a hard time forgiving? Do I have suicidal or personally violent thoughts (wrath pointed inward)? Do I give people the silent treatment when they have done something to hurt me? Do I argue a lot? Am I easily irritated? Am I extra critical? Do I get easily angered when I drive? Do I dream about how good it would feel to punch someone? Do I use sarcasm or witty put downs against others?
*Book: Unconditional? by Brian Zahnd