CAROLYN'S COMPOSITIONS

April 4, 2011

Lenten Study: 7 Deadly Sins—Lust #4: Continual Preparation


CAROLYN’S COMPOSITIONS

LENTEN STUDY: 7 DEADLY SINS

LUST #4: CONTINUAL PREPARATION

MONTE W. HOLLAND

INTRODUCTION

     The following study is a journey through Lent, the forty-day pre-Easter season (which excludes Sundays).  Easter’s date, determined by the time of the first full moon after the Spring equinox, is very late this year.

     Traditionally, many Christians use Lent for self-examination and a renewal of their commitment to their faith.

     This year I  chose to do a devotional study on aspects of the Seven Deadly Sins, sins identified by very early Christians as key behaviors separating man from God and God’s will. The seven sins are not listed together in the Bible—each is, however, spoken about in various Scripture sites.

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THE SEVEN DEADLY SINS:

GREED, ENVY, ANGER, LUST, GLUTTONY, SLOTH and PRIDE.

THE ASPECTS OF THE SEVEN DEADLY SINS ARE:

#1 Breaking the Mosaic Law

#2 Defying God or rebelling against God

#3 Acts of violence to others

#4 Failing to make proper sacrifices or worship

#5 Not living up to or reflecting God’s glory (not living as one created in God’s image)

LUST #4

CONTINUAL PREPARATION

SCRIPTURE: 24 You know that many runners enter a race, and only one of them wins the prize. So run to win! 25 Athletes work hard to win a crown that cannot last, but we do it for a crown that will last forever. 26 I don’t run without a goal. And I don’t box by beating my fists in the air. 27 I keep my body under control and make it my slave, so I won’t lose out after telling the good news to others. (1 Corinthians 9:24-27 (CEV))

DEVOTION:  We commend persons for making sacrifices. Athletes are often cited as role models for physical discipline and commitment. To be the very best in this age of high-tech sports preparation, the naturally gifted athlete cannot walk in off the street and win the prize unless he firsts prepares and sacrifices.

     In my earlier years I competed in wrestling. In those days in high school one could do fairly well with natural talent. Some wrestlers got away with drinking, smoking, and unhealthy weight loss methods because they were naturally talented. For me to be competitive I needed to practice and maintain discipline. And I did all right. However, when I was in college I found out what real discipline was. I’d never been in that kind of shape before. That is what it takes to excel in sports. Self-control and commitment are the keys that accompany natural skill.

     Christianity demands more. We should be in good physical shape in order to live our lives most productively, In addition, it takes spiritual discipline. Fortunately, we aren’t in competition with others for the prize. Yet this scripture reminds us that we can be disqualified if don’t have self-control in all things. We need balance in our life as we journey toward life’s end. Lust is a key roadblock. Lust for things, lust for another person, can stand in the way.

     The escapades of star athletes seem innumerable. They have made the intense commitment and sacrifice to perform in the arena. But they often cannot couple that with spiritual discipline. It’s as though when the muscles are disciplined to optimum performance, other dysfunctional behaviors pop out. There was the Olympic skater years ago that was reputed to need sexual encounters with various persons, even during the games. There was the high school champion wrestler who was caught in a tryst. Football provides lots of examples of lust and inappropriate sexual encounters.

     We don’t have to be stars to be tempted. Our lust for a variety of things can lead to being in poor physical and spiritual shape. We need to keep a balance in our lives. We never will condition every last muscle, but we can stay in descent physical shape. We can never completely control every evil desire. God challenges us to run the race, alert to the obstacles along the way, and committing ourselves to address each temptation with God’s help.

PRAYER: Loving God, we abuse our bodies and spirits. Give us the will to get into shape, physical and spiritual, and the courage to address all temptations directly and trust you to show us the way forward. Amen.

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To start at the beginning of this Lenten study on the Seven Deadly Sins, click on: Ash Wednesday: Intro to Lenten Study on the Seven Deadly Sins

To read the previous devotion, click on: Lenten Study: 7 Deadly Sins—Anger#3: I Would Never Get That Angry, Would I?

To read the following devotion, click on: Lenten Study: 7 Deadly Sins—Gluttony #4: In Whom Do You Trust?

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ADDITIONAL READING:

A Theological Perspective on Child Abuse

KEEPING PEACE IN SOUTH AFRICA Part 2

JOCHEBED & LUCY: STORIES OF ADOPTION AND MOTHER’S LOVE

While Doing Adoption Home Studies: Part 1

Ocean Views: The New England Coast

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