Summary: This back to school series of sermons is designed to see each of us flourish and to see our families flourish. To do this, I want to champion your spiritual growth.

You love your families dearly. Families come in all shapes and sizes. We are homesick while we are away from our family, and we rejoice when we walk back through the doors of our homes and see our loved ones. Our families are good gifts from our great God. We work to provide for our families and we even seek to care for our parents as they age. And one day, when I breathe my last breath, my hope is to be surrounded by my family. Yes, we love our families! We want each member of our families to flourish in every way. Even Reba McEntire, the famous country and western singer, has said, “My goals have changed throughout my life. At one time it was winning awards, selling out concert dates, selling more albums than anyone else. Now, my goals are to see my grandchildren grown, living a long and healthy life with my family…”

This back to school series of sermons is designed to see each of us flourish and to see our families flourish. To do this, I want to champion your spiritual growth. Probably near the top of everyone’s lists for those they love the most is to see them happy. And few things will offer you lasting happiness as a sterling character – godly character.

Years ago, the apostle John encapsulated what every parent, uncle and aunt, and grandparent wants for the next generation: “I rejoiced greatly to find some of your children walking in the truth, just as we were commanded by the Father” (2 John 4).

Seven Deadly Sins

A handy way to see the next generation make progress is to refer to an old list called the “Seven Deadly Sins.” Now, you will never find the seven deadly sins listed in your Bibles. Believers years ago have organized and popularized these seven deadly vices as a means to warn fellow believers about toxic behavior. And, while the seven are not listed in 1-2-3 order in our Bible, we do find warnings against these evils throughout the pages of Scripture. Let’s look at 2 Chronicles 26 in your Bibles and meet a 16-year-old boy who becomes king.

The Sin of Pride

The chief sin of the seven deadly sins is pride. All the other vices work under this chief vice, the vice of pride. You can think of pride as the mob boss that all the other vices work for. Each of these “hit men” report to the mob boss called pride. Pride is a spirit, an attitude, of independence from God that says, “I don’t need you, God. Stay out of my life. I can handle it myself.”

My high school basketball coach gave our whole team a copy of the poem, Invictis, my senior year. A portion of it reads, “I am the master of my fate. I am the captain of my soul.” Whenever I hear someone quote those words, I feel like saying, “Captain, your ship is about to sink.” Again, pride is a spirit of independence from God.

Good Pride vs. Bad (Sinful) Pride

Now, let me get something out of the way. There is good pride and sinful pride. It’s pride that makes many of us strive for excellence in our jobs and in life. If you’re going to clean cars for a living, then clean the cars and take pride in your work. Good pride, or self-worth, is to know who you are – to possess a healthy self-image.

Yet, psychologists tell us that most of us perceive ourselves as slightly smarter, funnier, more talented, and better-looking than the “average Joe.” These same psychologists tell us we all have these rose-colored glasses that act as an immune system against despair and depression. “Those who see themselves as they truly are — not so funny, a bad driver, overweight,” says Julian Paul Keenan, Professor of Psychology at Montclair State University in New Jersey, “have a greater chance of being diagnosed with clinical depression.” You see, the moment our over-inflated ego suffers even a bruise, we fall into despair and perhaps depression.

Don’t you dare take your self-worth from your appearance, your resume, or your wealth. Having a right way to look at ourselves is so critical and Jesus is our model here: “Jesus, knowing that the Father had given all things into his hands, and that he had come from God and was going back to God…” (John 13:3)

The very next thing Jesus did was take a towel, tie it around His waist, and wash the disciples’ feet. Jesus’ humility showed itself because Jesus knew Who He was. He had come from God, He was going back to God, and all things belong to Him. He viewed His worth in relation to His God, the Father. We also need to find our worth in our connection to Christ.

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