This topic has been on my mind recently, and I wanted to write about the seven deadly sins, not to lay any heavy burden on my readers, but to offer up a closer walk with Christ as a means of minimizing the impact of these destructive vices. The seven sins are these, including lust, greed, gluttony, envy, anger, pride, and sloth. The opposite, or virtuous behaviors, are chastity, generosity, kindness, meekness, humility, and diligence. Emulating the virtues is no easy undertaking, and one might conclude that mastering the good behaviors requires a superhuman quality, which belongs to the spiritually elite, whose righteousness might doom them to fail anyway.
So back to earth and reality, where living a virtuous life is no easy undertaking, although drawing closer to Christ may help us get there. Here are some suggestions:
We can’t do it alone – “I can do all things through Christ who strengths me” (Philippians 4:13). It’s not about us working harder to conquer our tendencies to sin, but to share our burdens with Jesus, whose grace is more than adequate when tackling lust and anger, for example. When faced with overwhelming temptations, we just can’t resist without God’s help.
Simplify our lives – When focusing solely on God’s will and purpose for our lives, maybe our desire for material possessions, and keeping up with our neighbor, will take a back seat to conforming our lives to what God wants. The closer we draw to God’s kingdom, the allure of what the world offers just doesn’t compare or seem as important.
Avoid unhealthy attachments to people, things and routines – We can obsess over our money, our pets, our friends, trying to control our loved ones, and even get carried away with our own spirituality, maybe getting upset when our prayer routine gets interrupted. Jesus said that we must be prepared to renounce all that we have if we want to be His disciple. (See Luke 14:33) So, let’s not hold on to anything too tightly except the love of God.
Be present in the moment – Jesus is alive in the instant, in each moment of our lives. He reveals His will and direction for us each day, putting people and situations in our path. Living in the moment, we look to Christ for direction, and become less tolerant of sinful behaviors which distract us from serving God and neighbor. When we succumb to serious sin, the light of Christ will grow dim, blunting our witness, making us even more susceptible to the wiles of the devil.
Practice prayer as a continuous dialogue with God – Start each day, praying “do with me as you will”. Remember to allow for periods of silence, to allow God to reveal His will, and provide guidance and direction when struggling with the problems of daily living. Read Scripture and meditate on God’s Word. When our prayer life is diminished, we leave room for Satan to enter. Put on the full armor of Christ each day. (See Ephesians 6: 10-20)
Whenever possible, attend daily Mass, and receive the Eucharist – In my Catholic faith, attending Mass and receiving the real presence of Christ in the Holy Eucharist, of course in a state of grace, acts like a spiritual B-12 shot, stiffening my resolve to serve Christ and reject Satan.
Even when we achieve a closer walk with Christ, we will still fall down due to sin, but hopefully less so. The key is getting back up quicker, confessing our sins and striving to do better. Beyond that, God’s grace is sufficient. Keep moving, doing God’s will, with our continuous gaze on the Son of Man!
Have a Blessed Sunday!