Final Thoughts on the Big 7

As I wrap up my exploration of the 7 Deadly Sins, I have some final, random thoughts on that subject.

I am absolutely positive God wanted me to write about them, because I know me, and me wouldn’t have jumped into those 7 by myself.
“If you love me, you will obey what I command.”  (John 14:15)

I learned a lot – about myself. I learned I struggle with some of the Big 7 every single day while others aren’t such a big problem for me. But I do struggle.
“For I do not understand what I do.  For what I want to do, I do not do, but what I hate, I do.” (Romans 7:15)

The enemy knows my weak areas and will exploit them.  Every. Single. Time.
“The thief comes to kill, steal and destroy…”  (John 10:10)

I know for sure God does not want us living in bondage to any of the Big 7. He desires for us to live in freedom from them.
“Oh Lord, truly I am your servant…you have freed me from my chains.” (Psalm 116:16)

The only way to overcome any of the Big 7 is with the help of the One who has overcome the world and to love Him more than you love the sin.
“But take heart!  I have overcome the world.”  (John 16:33)

Seek. Discover. Pray. Repent. Battle sin with Scripture. Receive healing. Be thankful. Overcome.
“For nothing is impossible with God.”  (Luke 1:37)
“But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.” (1 Corinthians 15:57)

Blessings for a wonderful weekend!
Leigh

You can follow me on Twitter @LeighThompsonAU and enjoy my sometimes inspirational, sometimes humorous, sometimes quirky Tweets!

And if you like what you read, please share with others!  God told me to write for Him and my goal is to spread the gospel with a bit of humor and a lot of grace.

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Don’t Be The Hulk

Last on the list of the big 7 is the sin of pride. Pride can actually come in two different forms, one healthy and one – well, not so much.

I was a cheer mom for 6 years. Watched hours and hours of cheerleading, went to our high school’s competitions every year, and was one of those REALLY LOUD cheer mom nuts in the stands when our girls competed (and I’ve got the audio on home movies to prove it).

Our girls were always proud to say they were Lee-Scott cheerleaders. Why? Because every year our team of girls worked hard toward their goal of winning the camp competition and excelling in their sport, which they did through hours and hours of practice with a coach who loved them, pushed them and demanded excellence from them. But our coach never let the girls think they were the cat’s meow, that they didn’t need to work hard or that they could rub their victories in the faces of their competition. She kept those girls humble yet instilled a deep sense of pride in their work, their abilities, their appearance and their accomplishments.

Cheer Camp 2009 008 Cheer Camp 2010 090

So that’s the good kind of pride, where our girls took pride in being a part of a group that worked hard, achieved goals but remained humble.

But let’s just say we sports moms & dads (and yes, people cheerleading IS a sport but I’ve also got a son who plays basketball and golf if that makes you feel better) have run into those teams who dish out the other kind of pride. The “Y’all are AWFUL,” the “We’re SO MUCH BETTER THAN YOU,” the “We’re so good NO ONE can touch us” teams. (And I’m cleaning up the language, because believe me I’ve heard a lot worse out on the gym floor.) We’ve all witnessed the obnoxious, in your face, talkin’ trash about your momma kids on rival teams.

God blesses these kids with a little success, then satan twists it (as he so often does) into glorifying self instead of glorifying God. The individuals on those teams have bought into the enemy’s destructive lie that it’s all about them, their success is all thanks to their awesomeness, that nothing can stop them. They believe everyone else is inferior to them and that they are the cherry on top of the ice cream sundae. From what I see no one has ever told them otherwise – parents and coaches have both fed the beast of pride until it comes out of a kid like the Hulk bustin’ out of a too small shirt.

And there’s the lie of pride that satan weaves into someone’s mind when they experience success – it’s all about ME instead of giving glory and thanks for the abilities and achievements to HIM.

And as we know, those kids who are full of themselves on the gym floor become adults who are better than everyone else in the office. (Oh boy, I just can’t wait to be around that guy for 8 hours a day…)

So you see, pride can take two forms. Taking pride in your work, your attitude, your appearance isn’t a sin and is a positive form of functioning in society. But being prideful in the sense you believe your job, your words or your clothes are better than everyone else’s causes huge problems.

So when you feel pride creeping in, do a little gut check. Which kind of pride is welling up inside? Are you joining pride with humility? (That’s a “Thank you, he gets his talent from God.”) Or are you joining pride with superiority? (That’s a “Yep, that’s my boy, got everything he learned from me, he’s gonna be the next Michael Jordan, play Division I ball, blah-blah-blah.”)?

“When pride comes, then comes disgrace, but with humility comes wisdom.” (Proverbs 11:2)

Blessings!
Leigh

You can follow me on Twitter @LeighThompsonAU and enjoy my sometimes inspirational, sometimes humorous, sometimes quirky Tweets!

And if you like what you read, please share with others!  God told me to write for Him and my goal is to spread the gospel with a bit of humor and a lot of grace.

My Mouth is Watering

Number 6 on the list of the Big 7 hits home a little bit – gluttony. See I love food. I mean I really love, love, love to eat. My daughter is able to stop eating when she feels full which is a great discipline, especially as you age and a little more weight comes on and it settles in places you didn’t even think possible. (Yeah, my pants are a little on the snug side today – must be all that water weight…)

Me? Oh if it tastes good I’ll keep on eating it – to the point of making myself all-out miserable. (“Is anyone going to eat that last tater tot???”) And even though I have gluten intolerance, I still find plenty to pig out on (anyone remember the post on my jar of joy?) that would rank me pretty high on the “10 Most Unhealthy Mommas and The Foods They Really, REALLY Should Avoid At All Cost” list…

 Jar

And let’s face it – a lot of our day revolves around eating. We plan lunch meetings, meet for coffee and a bagel, and in the south we mommas will deliver a meal for a birth, a death and any other monumental life event that comes down the road.

We must eat to survive. But excessive overeating can lead to inactivity and eventually an untimely death. I read all sorts of articles on the causes of gluttony and possible treatments. Most experts agree that a person who eats excessively experiences a deep psychological need to protect or insulate oneself from the world that has been too harsh, too cruel up to that point. The experts also say gluttony can also be a straight up addiction to food – just as bad as an addiction to drugs or alcohol.

Deep emotional wounds separate us from God. Addictions puts something else above God. Both need to be dealt with because we only have one body, and it was paid for with the ultimate sacrifice – Jesus’ blood on the cross.

“Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your body.” (1 Corinthians 6:19-20)

God loves each one of us, no matter our size or shape, but we are to honor God with our body. It doesn’t matter if you struggle with anger or envy or gluttony – as Christians we are called to honor God with our minds and our bodies, and to seek help with any areas in which we struggle.  And like I said in some earlier posts, we won’t be able to fully live until we acknowledge our issues, repent of them and ask Jesus to help us overcome them.

So as far as gluttony goes, I’m going to try to remember that verse from 1 Corinthians the next time I pull a tray full of crispy, golden brown tater tots out of the oven…

Blessings!
Leigh

You can follow me on Twitter @LeighThompsonAU and enjoy my sometimes inspirational, sometimes humorous, sometimes quirky Tweets!

And if you like what you read, please share with others!  God told me to write for Him and my goal is to spread the gospel with a bit of humor and a lot of grace.

It’s Not Easy Being Green (with envy)

Last week I wrote on 4 of the 7 deadly sins. We covered wrath, greed, sloth and lust. This week we pick back up with the remaining 3 – envy, gluttony and pride.

“A heart at peace gives life to the body, but envy rots the bones.” (Proverbs 14:30)

We mommas have all been at a play date, a park or a party with a slew of young kids, favorite toys in tow. All it takes is one kid to see a fancier, more fun, more fantastic toy than what’s in his own hand and all bets are off. The sweetest, mildest child can go ballistic and turn into what’s commonly known as the green-eyed monster. He has feelings of envy – he wants the toy that his friend has for himself, and he’s either gonna go take it from the other kid or pitch such a huge fit you start counting down the minutes until this little shindig is over and you can escape to the nearest Wal-Mart buy whatever toy he’s freaking out about just to shut his temper tantrum down.

Children with Toys

Grown-ups can certainly be envious of others’ grown-up toys. (I wish we had John’s lake house. Why can’t I drive an Audi like Susie Q?) But grown-ups can also be envious of other people’s jobs, status in the community, physical appearance or even God’s favor.

So it was with Cain and Abel. Cain and Abel were the twin sons born to Adam and Eve. They had two very different jobs – Abel kept flocks and Cain worked in the fields. Both jobs were equally important. But when it came time to bring an offering to God, the brothers made two very different choices.

Cain didn’t put much thought into something that really mattered to God. He “brought some of the fruits of the soil as an offering” (Genesis 4:3) which to me sounds kind of like that first Sunday of the month when you forget your tithing check and you scrounge past the half-eaten Snicker’s bar, 45 gum wrappers and a Hot Wheels car to find whatever change is jingling in the bottom of your purse. It doesn’t exactly scream of forethought or intentionality – or respect for the God of the universe.

Abel on the other hand really thought about what he was going to bring. “But Abel brought fat portions from some of the firstborn of his flock.” (Genesis 4:4) Abel gave from the firstborn (or the first fruits) of his flock. Abel’s offering was intentional and sacrificial, and “The Lord looked with favor on Abel and his offering, but on Cain and his offering he did not look with favor.” (Genesis 4:5)

So Cain was pretty ticked off and envious of the attention God gave his brother Abel. Envy of God’s favor towards his brother drove Cain to do the unimaginable – he murdered his own brother with malicious forethought. (Gensis 4:8)

James wrote about envy in the 3rd chapter of his book of the Bible: “Who is wise and understanding among you? Let him show it by his good life, by deeds done in the humility that comes from wisdom. But if you harbor bitter envy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast about it or deny the truth. Such ‘wisdom’ does not come down from heaven but is earthly, unspiritual, of the devil. For where you have envy and selfish ambition, there you find disorder and every evil practice.” (James 3:13-16)

Sooooo….. Envy is unspiritual and of the devil and will bring about disorder and evil practices AND it rots your bones. Wow. That description alone should be enough to make us all run from envy, but in today’s world of “look at my kid’s accomplishments” on FaceBook and “my vacation is better than your vacation” pictures on Instagram it’s really, really hard, isn’t it?   (I’m of the opinion satan LOVES him some social media – it’s so easy to use to get other people all fired up and lure them into sin by what they see other people doing, buying, enjoying…)

I’ve tried just not thinking about the thing that I’m envious about (Yes, it’s a certain beach house on 30-A. There. I admitted it.) but that doesn’t work. Two actions have helped me to deal with envious thoughts. First, combat those thoughts with Scripture.  My personal favorite is this one: “And my God will meet all my needs according to his glorious riches in Christ Jesus.”  (Philippians 4:19) and then I follow it with “Give thanks to the Lord for He is good, His love endures forever.” (Psalm 107:1) Reciting Scripture leads me into the second action – actually taking some time to thank God for all of my blessings, from my comfy bed to air conditioning in the summer to a jar full of M&M’s to being able to make my mortgage payment another month to bringing my child home safely from college.

Thank Him for the biggies and the small blessings alike. When your heart is one of thankfulness and gratitude, satan will flee taking envy away with him.

Scripture, gratitude and thankfulness do work together to defeat envy. Try it and see.

Blessings!
Leigh

You can follow me on Twitter @LeighThompsonAU and enjoy my sometimes inspirational, sometimes humorous, sometimes quirky Tweets!

And if you like what you read, please share with others!  God told me to write for Him and my goal is to spread the gospel with a bit of humor and a lot of grace.

 

I Just Want My Lawn Chair

Today we cover number 4 on the list of the big 7 – lust. When the word lust is thrown out the first thing that people often think about is that 3 little word that rhymes with “hex.”

And true, the word that rhymes with “hex” is probably the biggest manifestation of lust, but lust is an intense desire – for money, and object or a person. One of the best Bible stories showing the destruction brought about by the sin of lust is that of King David and Bathsheba. King David was apparently a pretty handsome guy and a rugged soldier. He was a true man of God, but David got a little too puffed up in the chest and thought he was all that. He was the king by golly and he figured he could do whatever he wanted because – well, he was the king.

One day he saw a beautiful woman bathing on a nearby rooftop. Instead of doing what the Bible advises us to do, “FLEE from sexual immorality,” (1 Corinthians 6:18) he didn’t. He watched her, and soon his eyes betrayed him and handed him over to lust. As if the thoughts and feelings weren’t bad enough, when he found out she was married to a soldier King David had the soldier shoved to the front of the battle where he would surely be killed so that he could have Bathsheba all to himself. The soldier Uriah was killed, and David got what he wanted (or so he thought). Yep, David got what he thought would make him happy. “But the thing David had done displeased the Lord.” (2 Samuel 11:27)

The prophet Nathan knew what David did and why he did it.  Nathan cleverly tricked David into convicting himself by telling him a bogus story of a rich man stealing the one little sheep of a poor man and asking him what they should do about it.

“David burned with anger against the man and said to Nathan, ‘As surely as the Lord lives, the man you did this deserves to die!  He must pay for that lamb four times over, because he did such a thing and had no pity.’” (2 Samuel 12:5-6)

Uh oh, David.  Here it comes.  “Then Nathan said to David, ‘You are the man!'” (2 Samuel 12:7)  And Nathan didn’t mean “You DA man,” he meant “You’re the man in big trouble.”  David would pay the price for his lust in a very convincing way.

God took David’s wives and gave them to other men – in broad daylight. And even worse, the child that Bathsheba bore to David died after a seven day illness.

The problem with lust is so far reaching. People who engage in lustful conduct and relationships are stepping outside Biblical standards and they just never see the train wreck coming. They don’t see the devastated spouses, the confused children, the lost friendships steamrolling down the track of destruction, all stemming from their refusal to flee from temptation.

I hate even writing about lust because I have teenagers. I’d rather be sitting in my lawn chair in the driveway watching my grade schooler use oversized colorful chalk to doodle on my driveway and my toddler roll his construction toys through the dirt.

 Lawn chair

But I’m in my 40’s and my children are in college and high school.  So even though I’d rather just pretend my children aren’t at that age to know what lust is, I can’t. Because they are. And part of my job as their momma is not only to explain what it is but to also show them real life consequences of lustful choices.

But hey, let’s not end on a downer. Here’s a little more of the story:

“Then David said to Nathan, ‘I have sinned against the Lord.’ Nathan replied, ‘The Lord has taken away your sin.’” (2 Samuel 12:13)

We all have the opportunity to receive forgiveness, whatever sin we have committed. So let’s learn 2 lessons from King David. First, don’t lust but if you do FLEE from the temptation. And second, when you do sin, acknowledge it, take ownership of it, repent for it and receive true forgiveness and freedom.

Blessings!
Leigh

You can follow me on Twitter @LeighThompsonAU and enjoy my sometimes inspirational, sometimes humorous, sometimes quirky Tweets!

And if you like what you read, please share with others!  God told me to write for Him and my goal is to spread the gospel with a bit of humor and a lot of grace.

Living in a La-Z-Boy

When you hear the word sloth, what comes to mind?  The first image I have is of a 20-something year old dude living in his parents’ basement, reclining in an old La-Z-Boy eating a couple of Hot Pockets his momma popped in the microwave for him as he plays Call of Duty online with someone in China instead of getting his lazy rear end up and going to look for a job.

La-z-boy

(Did I strike a nerve with anybody?)

The sad thing about slothness (no, that’s not a real word – y’all know I make up my own words from time to time) is that it’s a total waste of time, of talent, of a person.  Basically, it’s laziness.  Just not enough desire or gumption to get up and do anything at any time that will be of any benefit.

I don’t get sloths.  I’m a Type A, get ‘er done, what’s my next project kind of girl.  If I’m sitting still I’m either at the hair salon or having dental work done.  I only have 86,400 seconds each day and since I go to bed pretty early (a friend cracked up the other day when I told her I couldn’t remember the last time I saw midnight) I gotta make the most of every second I can.  (And hey, y’all – there’s a difference in laziness and resting.  It’s living in the La-Z-Boy instead of just taking a nap in the recliner.)

When I started reading up on and thinking about the sloth world, the guy living in his parents’ basement is there for one of two reasons.  Either he knows he should be doing something with his life and he just refuses to do it, or no one has ever told him he needs to be doing something with his life.

(Let’s be clear on this – my children will never ever fall into category #2…)

Neither reason is OK.  And I’ll just call it – laziness drives me crazy.  I can’t stand to see kids who are smart but don’t try in school or don’t give it their all when competing in a sports event.  Those kids become adults who are wandering around aimlessly from one day to the next, no idea why they are on this earth, no goals in front of them, nothing that motivates them to get out of the La-Z-Boy and start living – REALLY living.

God has so much for us to do.  American aphorist (that’s a guy who comes up with clever shorts sayings that expresses a true or wise idea) Mason Cooley said, “The time I kill is killing me.”  Or as the Bible says, “Life collapses on loafers; lazybones go hungry.”  (Proverbs 19:15, The Message)

“We do not want you to become lazy, but to imitate those who through faith and patience inherit what has been promised.”  (Hebrews 6:12)

I’m not 100% sure on this, but I think the one of the best ways to motivate sloths is to continually remind them of Jeremiah 29:11 – “’For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future.’” – until it seeps into their souls and they come to a place of realization that yes, God loves them and yes, God has a plan for them and yes, He’s got great things for them to do and no, living in the La-Z-Boy for the next 20 years really isn’t His plan.  (And if that doesn’t work, a swift kick in their booty wouldn’t hurt…)

So let’s all take a lesson from the dude in the La-Z-Boy.  Let us rest when we need rest, but never be a sloth.

You only have 86,400 seconds in a day!

Blessings!
Leigh

 

You can follow me on Twitter @LeighThompsonAU and enjoy my sometimes inspirational, sometimes humorous, sometimes quirky Tweets!

And if you like what you read, please share with others!  God told me to write for Him and my goal is to spread the gospel with a bit of humor and a lot of grace.

It’s MINE!

The second sin on the list of the big 7 is a bit tricky.  Greed.  Webster’s defines greed as, “a selfish and excessive desire for more of something than is needed.”

And that’s where the tricky part comes in.  We could focus on the “more of something that is needed” part of that definition, but who’s the judge of that?  It’s more important is to focus on the first part, the “selfish and excessive desire” part.

Greed can be something little, such as a child surveying the sea of desserts at the Sunday buffet after church and picking the biggest piece of cake so that her little brother can’t have it (nope, not even one little bite).

cake

Or it can be something huge like a successful businessman hoarding his wealth instead of tithing and giving because he doesn’t want anyone to have any of his money – he wants it all to himself.

If we are self-focused, greed is natural.  It is the fulfillment of selfish desires and ambitions.  It drives what we say, how we act, our careers and our treatment of those around us.  It comes out as “Me first” instead of the Jesus-inspired message of “Me last.”

Most mommas I know try to raise children who are selfless, not selfish.  But let me just warn all you young mommas out there – most ALL kids go through a selfish stage (except maybe Tim Tebow – I don’t know about that for sure but I just can’t see him not sharing in the sandbox…).  Most kids go through the, “It’s MINE!” stage where they not only want one toy, they want all the toys in the room and they ain’t gonna share them – no way, no how.

The question then becomes how long will the selfish, greedy stage last?  How long will a child, a young adult, a grown person put his or her wants and needs above those of others?

For me, having children pretty much cured me of most of the greedy tendencies I had.  Before children (and honestly, for a time after having them) I wanted brand new cars, bigger houses, luxury vacations.  And not having those things made me flat out miserable at times.

After children my desires changed dramatically.  At some point it dawned on me (Jesus knows I’m a slow learner) it’s not all about me and what I want – it’s about putting others first.  I made sacrifices to send my children to private school.  I drove a much less expensive car than the one I described yesterday so that our family could get out of debt.  For the first time in our marriage my husband and I tithed

Don’t get me wrong – I like nice stuff.  And it’s not a sin to have nice stuff.  But it isn’t biblical to have nice stuff at the expense of being generous.

And when you start putting just one person ahead of you, it becomes easier to put most everyone ahead of you.  You open doors for people and let them go in the movies before you so they can get a better seat.  You let someone else go through the buffet line and get the best piece of fried chicken.  You tithe instead of hoard.

“A greedy man brings trouble to his family, but he who hates bribes will live.”  (Proverbs 15:27)

“Be shepherds of God’s flock… not because you must, but because you are willing, as God wants you to be; not greedy for money but eager to serve…” (1 Peter 5:2)

Blessings!
Leigh

 

You can follow me on Twitter @LeighThompsonAU and enjoy my sometimes inspirational, sometimes humorous, sometimes quirky Tweets!

And if you like what you read, please share with others!  God told me to write for Him and my goal is to spread the gospel with a bit of humor and a lot of grace.