"Stop Doing" Lists

Many of us probably use a “to-do” list. We may have created the list ourselves (or a significant other may have created it for us). But whatever the case, a list helps most people get through the day. You start the day with a list of things to do, and hopefully, by the end of the day, you’ve been able to finish many of the tasks on your list.

It can be just as helpful to have a “stop doing” list. Sometimes we fail to complete a task simply because we failed to “stop doing” less important things. It might be worthwhile to have a “stop doing” list which coincides with the “to-do” list.

A “stop doing” list can help us stay on task. Perhaps that is why we have several of them in the New Testament. In the ancient world, the lists that I’m talking about are referred to as vice lists. It was fairly common for writings to contain lists of virtues and vices. A virtue list is a list of honorable actions. A vice list is a list of shameful actions. Confronted with the list, the reader is encouraged to choose the honorable action and stop doing the shameful action. Let’s consider just a few of these “stop doing” lists in the New Testament and see if we need to stop doing any of these things.

They were filled with all manner of unrighteousness, evil, covetousness, malice. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, maliciousness. They are gossips, slanderers, haters of God, insolent, haughty, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents,   foolish, faithless, heartless, ruthless. Romans 1:29-32

Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality, nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. 1 Corinthians 6:9-10

For I fear that when I come, I may find you not as I wish, and that you may find me not as you wish; I fear that there may perhaps be quarreling, jealousy, anger, selfishness, slander, gossip, conceit, and disorder. 2 Corinthians 12:20

Now the works of the flesh are evident, which are: adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lewdness, idolatry, sorcery, hatred, contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions, dissensions, heresies, envy, murders, drunkenness, revelries, and the like; of which I tell you beforehand, just as I also told you in time past, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God. Galatians 5:19-21

For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, unloving, unforgiving, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, despisers of good, traitors, headstrong, haughty, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God 2 Timothy 3:2-4

Let’s take an honest look at ourselves and see what we may need to add to our “stop-doing” list.