Above all else, guard your heart,
for everything you do flows from it.Proverbs 4:23
We know the wisdom of guarding our heart.
But guard them from what?
Jesus dropped some wisdom on this matter when he warned his disciples,
20 He went on: “What comes out of a person is what defiles them. 21 For it is from within, out of a person’s heart, that evil thoughts come—sexual immorality, theft, murder, 22 adultery, greed, malice, deceit, lewdness, envy, slander, arrogance and folly. 23 All these evils come from inside and defile a person.” Mark 7:20-23
Along the way the church codified this list, and other warnings, into the seven deadly sins:
Anger. Envy. Gluttony. Greed. Lust. Pride. Sloth.
I like how Rebecca DeYoung called them “The Glittering Vices.”
They glitter as a call us, tempt us, and lure us in.
They promise food and sex and vengeance and more.
And to be honest, they can be fun.
For a season.
But they never deliver on their promises.
They leave us craving more, yet never satisfying.
They begin to turn onus, an din us, and rot us inside out.
So how do we guard our hearts from these glittering vices?
Anger is fought with forgiveness.
Envy is deflated by celebration.
Gluttony is satisfied by fasting and feasting.
Greed is cured through giving.
Lust is conquered through fidelity and chastity.
Pride is brought down by humility.
And sloth is overcome through industriousness.
As you read through the sins take inventory of your heart, and her honest.
Have you been nurturing an angry grudge?
Has the green eyed monster taken hold of you?
Are you lustfully add ted to pornography?
As you take inventory be gentle with yourself.
All these sins tempt all people, in different ways, and at different times.
You’re quite normal if a wound from the past has stirred up anger in your heart.
You’re very human if you think more stuff might make you happy and secure.
You have a healthy sexuality if you find the human form beautiful and attractive.
But all these normal and natural tendency can quickly turn to sin.
And commit to the virtuous.
If that’s enough, great.
If not, ask for help.
Talk to a pastor. A friend. A counselor.
We need not live captive to the glittering vices of deadly sin.
We can, with the help of God and others, live a more virtuous life that honors God, blesses others, and helps ourselves.