You could be trapped and not even know it

The first step to experiencing freedom in our lives is to know what's holding us hostage. We can't break free of what we don't know is trapping us. 

Unfortunately, not all sins are easy to recognize. Many are even rewarded by parents, colleagues, and friends. But all sin is a big deal because all sin separates us from God.

Four Common Sins and How to Defeat Them

1. Gossip

Thanks to reality TV, gossip is no longer a bad habit but a way to make a living. As people who love Jesus, we’re called to a different standard — Jesus’s standard. Our words have the power to build others up or tear them down. James 3:5 says, “The tongue is a small part of the body, but it makes great boasts. Consider what a great forest is set on fire by a small spark.” Instead of using our words to set a fire of evil, we can use them to start a fire of encouragement and kindness.

When we hear gossip, nip it in the bud right then and there, or turn those cruel words into kind words about the person. Instead of gossiping, pray for the person. When we pray for people, we begin to see them the way God sees them, which makes it difficult to speak ill of them. You might also need to change your friends. If the only thing holding your friends together is the people you dislike, you might need new friends.

2. Pride

Philippians 2:3 says, “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourself.” Pride hinders us from seeing how God is working in and through our lives. When we attribute all of our success and achievements to ourselves, we forget who the Lord our God is and what He is capable of.

Practice putting others first by learning to serve. Serving others teaches us humility and crushes the pride that diminishes God’s greatness. What can you do to serve someone today?  

3. Worry

There is always something to be worried about – a big test at school, a job interview, money, etc. When we worry, we are telling God we don’t trust Him to take care of us and provide for us. Worrying is saying we trust ourselves with our problems more than we trust God.

God goes before us in everything because He loves us. He can handle our worries way better than we ever could. 1 Peter 5:6 says, “Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that He may lift you up in due time. Cast all your anxiety on Him because He cares for you.”

One of the best ways to stop worrying is to pray. In 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18, Paul says, “Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” When you find yourself worrying, remember the times God was faithful to you. His past faithfulness is the best predictor of His future provision.

4. Anger

Anger can greatly hinder our walk with Jesus and our testimony to others. Claiming joy rather than anger gives us the upper hand over the enemy.

Ephesians 4:26-27 says, “In your anger do not sin. Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, and do not give the devil a foothold.” When something or someone upsets you, think before you react. Consider what the other person might be going through or how the situation could be a blessing in disguise. Rather than letting your anger overtake you, talk it out, listen to the other person and react as calmly as possible.

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