April 14, 2011

Lenten Study: 7 Deadly Sins—Pride #2: Making Our Own Idols




MONTE W. Holland


     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.





#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)



SCRIPTURE : 3 “You shall have no other gods before me. 4 “You shall not make for yourself an idol in the form of anything in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the waters below. 5 You shall not bow down to them or worship them; for I, the LORD your God, am a jealous God, punishing the children for the sin of the fathers to the third and fourth generation of those who hate me, 6 but showing love to a thousand generations of those who love me and keep my commandments. (Exodus 20:3-6 (NIV))

17 Everyone who worships idols as though they were gods will be terribly ashamed. (Isaiah 42:17 (CEV))

DEVOTION:  Today for the first time we look at the sin that may be the most troublesome and all-encompassing of the seven deadly sins: pride.

     Pride saturates our lives in so many ways. The Christian strives to replace pride with humility.  God knows full well that we are driven toward pride. God knows that we want to be in charge. We want to make our own gods—if we create them, we

control them. That is the way we want it.

     Our idols are many. We possess so many material things that we idolize. They take up so much of our time that they become like an all-encompassing god. Many idolize our nation. Which flag do we revere more, the U.S. flag or the Christian flag?

     We are identified by our flags and banners. I have my Steelers and Penguins banners. We have our team t-shirts and jerseys. I put pictures of my daughter and son-in-law on the Mario Lemieux mural in the lobby of the Consol Energy Center. (The merit in that project is that the money raised goes to fight cancer.)

     The real issue is to keep God in God’s rightful place, keeping God and other things we care about in proper perspective. We need to feel good about ourselves. We do that by feeling good about our nation, about the organizations that we are a part of, about our schools and their teams, and even about arts organizations and professional teams.

     None of these things we feel good about (that we say we are proud of) deserves or merits our worship. They may glue us together as various communities, but when it comes to the community of the whole (of humanity) only God is essential to all. We humbly recognize that any pride we feel in special things we have or special organizations that we are a part of, that we support, pales in respect to the glory of God.

     Pride is not easy to deal with. Putting God first in a hectic, Madison Avenue culture takes real commitment. The first step is to fall to our knees and admit our love affair with idols, and ask God to renew our lives by giving God his rightful place in our lives.

PRAYER:  Forgiving God, we certainly need your forgiveness. We strive for things and for stature to be proud of. We are not naturally humble. When we see others with trauma and struggles in their lives, it isn’t natural for us to think, There, but by the grace of God, go I. Help us to fall down before you, and acknowledge that you alone are God. Amen.


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—Sloth #5: Cutting Corners

To read the following devotion, Lenten Study: 7 Deadly Sins—Pride #2: Live for the “One”, click on:



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