When I talk about specific areas of acceptable sins, one comment I often hear is that pride is the root cause of all of them. While I agree that pride does play a major role in the development and expression of our subtle sins, I believe there is another sin that is even more basic, more widespread, and more apt to be the root cause of our other sins. That is the sin of ungodliness, of which we are all guilty to some degree.—53
Anxiety is a sin also because it is a lack of acceptance of God’s providence in our lives. God’s providence may be simply defined as God’s orchestrating all circumstances and events in His universe for His glory and the good of His people. Some believers have difficulty accepting the fact that God does in fact orchestrate all events and circumstances, and even those of us who believe it often lose sight of this glorious truth. Instead we tend to focus on the immediate causes of our anxiety rather than remembering that those immediate causes are under the sovereign control of God.—64–65
The primary purpose of this book is to help us face the presence of many of these subtle sins in our lives and to recognize the fact that, to a large degree, they have become acceptable to us. We tolerate them in our lives with hardly a second thought. That makes them more dangerous because, in addition to the basic sin itself, they can open the door of our hearts to greater sin. Discontentment, for example, can easily lead to resentment or bitterness toward God or other people.—73
Giving thanks to God for both His temporal and spiritual blessings in our lives is not just a nice thing to do—it is the moral will of God. Failure to give Him the thanks due to Him is sin. It may seem like a benign sin to us because it doesn’t harm anyone else. But it is an affront and insult to the One who created us and sustains us every second of our lives. And if, as Jesus so clearly stated, loving God with all our heart, soul, and mind is the great and first commandment, then failure to give thanks to God as a habit of life is a violation of the greatest commandment.—81–82
I venture that of all the subtle sins we will address in this book, the pride of moral superiority may be the most common, second only to the sin of ungodliness. But though it is so prevalent among us, it is difficult to recognize because we all practice it to some degree. In fact, we seem to get a perverse enjoyment out of discussing how awful society around us is becoming. When we engage in this kind of thinking or conversation, we are guilty of the pride of moral superiority.—90
In the first chapter of this week’s reading, Bridges deals with the root of all of the sins, subtle and not-so-subtle, that we tolerate in our lives. That root is ungodliness, living, as Bridges puts it, our everyday lives with little or no thought of our dependence on God. It does not matter how outwardly respectable we are in the eyes of others—if God is not in all our thoughts we are ungodly, whether we are willing to admit it or not. It is this root of ungodliness that allows us to tolerate “respectable sins” like anxiety, frustration, discontentment, unthankfulness, and pride. If we are to grow in genuine Godliness, we must learn to recognize these and other practices as rebellion against the Triune God who created, redeemed, and daily works to sanctify all those who are in Christ.
As Bridges steadily works through the sins that we all to often tolerate, the next on the docket is the sin of selfishness.