Thursday, September 29, 2022

Don't give sin a foothold

 Read Genesis 4

Let’s start after the offerings.  Abel’s brought him favor.  Cain’s was less.

Then the Lord said to Cain, “Why are you angry? Why is your face downcast?  If you do what is right, will you not be accepted? But if you do not do what is right, sin is crouching at your door; it desires to have you, but you must rule over it.”

Let’s focus on this part: “sin is crouching at your door; it desires to have you, but you must rule over it.”

We are charged to be masters over sin.  Paul wrote :

Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.

From the beginning, humankind had to deal with sin and we are charged to be masters over sin.  Sin is present and powerful but we are to be more powerful.

It sounds like we are to be stronger than sin.  It sounds like this is all on us.  It sounds like we had better use our own understanding if we want to rule over sin.

But God told Cain to just do what is right.  Just do what God expects of us.  We are of the earth.  We are of God.  We struggle, but we can trust the Lord and do what he tells us to do.

Sometimes we have to figure out what pleases God, but we should not get angry and let sin take over when we don’t get it right on the first attempt.

We must be alert, on our guard, and ready at all times because sin lurks nearby waiting for its opportunity.  The more we do things God’s way, the fewer opportunities sin has to make its move.

Sin uses terrorist tactics.  It wants to attack the least defended target that gives it the highest payoff.  If we are focused on doing things God’s way, we are not a prime target.  The Devil and evil would love to bring us down, but when we live to please the Lord, our defenses are strong. Evil wants to bring us down because we are bringing light and love to the world, but our defenses are sound when we remain in the Lord.

Our downfall comes when we think, “I’ve got this.”  When we forget that we are incomplete without God.  When we try to do anything or everything without yielding to the Spirit that lives within us.

Our human nature wants us to be masters of our lives.  That sounds like a good thing.  It sounds like many earthly religions, but we have one Master and it is the Lord.

We are to be masters over our money, our resources, and other things that are part of our lives, but Jesus is our Master. The Spirit is our Counselor and Helper.  We don’t do anything on our own without risking giving sin a foothold in our hubris.

God told Cain to give it another try, but Cain was angry and discouraged.  Cain gave sin a foothold. This might have been a different story if Cain invited his brother to go for a walk and talk about what it was to please the Lord.

We are told to seek God and his kingdom and his righteousness before all things.  Do we always do this? That’s a rhetorical question.  I don’t know anyone who is batting 100%.

It seems that we make exceptions to what God has commanded.  It seems that we all have reasons or excuses as to why God’s way doesn’t work. All of us have something that we consider unique.  We think our situation is different. We know that our case has to be the exception to the rule.

 It seems that we are sometimes quick to anger, despite the counsel to the contrary. Our own understanding leads us to anger and gives sin a foothold.

Sometimes we wonder why we are not at peace when we don’t do things God’s way.  Why won’t God get in step with what I know that I need—with my desires.

God knows your desires and needs and struggles and he knows what is best for you, even when you think otherwise.  Yes, it’s more trust in the Lord over our own understanding, and it won’t be the last time you get that.

There were consequences for Cain, but God did not disown him. There are consequences for us, but God does not disown us.

But there are blessings and peace when we just do our best to please God and set our selfishness and anger aside when we don’t hit the target the first time.

When we let anger take hold, we give sin a foothold.  When we give sin a foothold, we are on the defensive. 

Marines are taught to kill with pistols, knives, entrenching tools, and anything in arm’s reach, as well as with their bare hands.  They are also trained to hit a man-sized target at 500 yards.  While they are ready to fight hand-to-hand, destroying your enemy at 500 yards is much preferred.

You usually get more medals for hand-to-hand combat, but your battles are better won at 500 yards. Your battles are better won where the enemy never has a chance to get a foothold.

Don’t give sin a foothold.  Don’t let it in close.  Let the Lord fight for you.  Trust him. Obey him. Have faith in him. Keep trying to please him, even when you don’t get it right the first time.


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