The Scripture, Old and New Testament, call the people of God, to reflect the holiness of the God they serve, “Be holy, for I am holy!” (Lev. 20:7; I Pet. 1:16)
Matthew 5:16 – In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.
1 Peter 2:12 – Live such good lives among the pagans that, though they accuse you of doing wrong, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day he visits us.
Our speech is to be gracious (Col. 4:6). We are to “turn the other cheek” (Mt. 5:39). We are to forgive, seventy-times-seven (Mt. 18:22). We are to have mercy (Lk. 10:38). And on-and-on the list could go.
Most Christians, genuine Christians, have a list of what they consider major sins – the “No, no’s” for them – murder, theft, blatant lying, adultery, flirting with paganism or idolatry, wrath. And yet, sadly, even these things are now growing in the church! What we do clearly struggle with and fail to see as sin, in fact, we dismiss these things as sin calling them character flaws or genetic traits that run our families. Such things, however, are sin. Things like:
- Pride … the means by which we dishonor the GRACE OF GOD.
Arrogance, conceit, self-sufficiency, cold/hard heart, critical spirit, envy, jealousy, the advocacy of self, murmuring and complaining (about me), no servant spirit, offending others, living off opinions, stubbornness and the absence of humility.
- Self-centeredness … the means by which we dishonor the Lordship of Christ.
Self-centered, self-promoting, self-justifying, and self-pitying. Striving with God and others – a spoiled child, defending ‘rights’, holding out for self – withholding love, forgiveness, patience … the idol of self!
- Control … the means by which we dishonor his sovereignty.
Demanding, playing God, manipulating, independent/teaming spirit, perfectionist, picky, petty, micromanaging, distorted expectations, unrealistic demands, smother others.
- Absence of the Fear of God … the means by which we dishonor his awfulness and his holiness.
Little reverence, loss of awe, familiarity, failure to steward grace, compromise and tolerance of evil, loss of first love, lack of spiritual discipline, people pleaser, pet sins, loose living/talking.
- Anger and Fear … the means by which we dishonor his love and forgiveness.
Revenge for unhealed hurts/wounds. Bitterness, unforgiveness, records of wrong, impatience, indifference, fractured relationships, debt collecting. Trust issues.
- Unbelief …the means by which we dishonor His Word.
Fear – a “what if disposition …” Guilt, living by feelings, depression, hopelessness, tension, anxiety, worry, no joy, no love, no sense of God’s love. No fresh word! The light (Revelation) goes out.
- Lying … the means by which we dishonor His integrity, his truth, his promises to us.
Deceived when we are drawn away from truth. We substitute some lie for truth. We violate integrity. We fail to be true to ourselves. We allow pretense, hypocrisy, and duplicity.
- Lust … the means by which we dishonor his righteousness.
A divided heart, flesh over the spirit, now over eternity, coveting, desires that are inappropriate and out of control: sexual, sensual or spiritual. Love for the things of the world. Addictive behaviors. Choosing the wrong/not the right!
These things are not merely bad – they are sinful. And they are destroying the church. Vance Havner said, “Most church members live so far below the standard, you would have to backslide to be in fellowship with them.”  And the problem, according to Havner, is that preachers are preaching happiness, not holiness.
Where do you stand in regard to these vices?
This is an excerpt from the Praying Church Resource Guide, which can be ordered at alivepublications.org.