Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Crouching Tiger, Devouring Sin

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.”
Genesis 4:6-7

One only needs to read the first four chapters of the Bible to get a clear picture of how dangerous sin is. Already in Genesis 3 we have been told that sin entered the Garden of Eden in the form of a cunning snake we know to have been the Devil. Now just one chapter later, sin is described as a ferocious animal lying in wait outside a door waiting to pounce upon and devour its! No more fitting a simile for sin than this can be found. Although the Lord speaks to Cain in this passage, His message is just as true for you and me. We must never forget what sin's design is for our lives. In the original language "it desires to have you" is closer to "it craves or desires to devour you." Sin feeds on our destruction. We would do ourselves much good by simply remembering this. So often sin is peddled as fun, as stress relief, as really living it up. So remember this saying out of the mouth of God Himself. In reality sin is a ferocious animal lying in wait to devour you at its first opportunity. Don't believe Satan's cheap sales tactics. For your own good, avoid sin!

The Almighty continues to give Cain a suggested course of action. Literally God tells Cain that he must rule, or exercise dominion over, sin. He cannot allow sin to master him; he must rather master it. This is an interesting phrase given that God gave man dominion over animals at creation. Now after the Fall, increasingly men will have to exercise that dominion with great effort to tame and control animals from harming people. When you stop to consider how much intentional effort and planning goes into exercising dominion over a dog, a horse or even something as grand as a tiger, you get some sense of how difficult it must be to master sin.

We can all think of prominent news stories in which a supposedly tame (mastered) wild animal broke out and killed or maimed its owner, trainer, or some innocent bystander. Whether it's chimpanzees, lions, or horses over and over again we have been reminded not to get too confident in the idea that we have fully mastered any animal. If it is this difficult to master an animal, how much more so with sin.

It isn't until many years later in the New Testament that man would learn that only Jesus can ever truly exercise dominion over sin. For the rest of us, try as we might, we can never fully master it in our own power. Yet those who are in Christ, who have been filled with the Holy Spirit, have been set free from the bondage of sin (Acts 13:38-39Romans 6, & Romans 8:1-4). Sin no longer has mastery over the Christian. Yet, we too must heed God's words to Cain so we do not give in to sin again. We must continually remind ourselves of the dangers of sin, and we must plan and put forth an intentional effort to master this enemy in our lives.

Imagine what steps a man would take if he knew a wild animal were crouching at his door ready to devour him. He cannot stay in his house forever (Proverbs 26:13-14). He must eventually slay the beast. But he will not walk outside with a spatula or a rolled up newspaper. He'll plan carefully and give his best effort to master the enemy or he may die. Dear Christian, even though your soul is secure with the Lord, your life and all that God has planned for you hangs in the balance when you engage in sin. You must seek to master it by learning to walk in the freedom and power that Christ has given you. Do not think that you can embrace sin and somehow avoid its bite. So let me ask you... what ferocious animal, what sin are you inviting into your home, into your life? What sin do you find lying at your door each morning waiting to tempt you when you awake? And what is your plan to avoid it, to master it?  

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