5 but on Cain and his offering he did not look with favor. So Cain was very angry, and his face was downcast. 6 Then the Lord said to Cain, “Why are you angry? Why is your face downcast? 7 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 4:5-7
God told Cain to get a grip on his anger. If he did not maintain victory over his anger, sin would rule over him. It’s a sad story at the beginning of mankind to realize mankind’s brokenness, frailty, helplessness and evilness to gain victory in one’s own strength. Cain failed to heed God’s word and murdered his brother Abel. For all have sinned and fall short of God’s glory. There is none righteous, no not one.
As I was praying over this Fear Not Friday, I felt God say, “you need to have a healthy fear of committing sin, so that it does not rule over you”. Fear of falling to sinful behavior and its consequences is a good fear to have. We teach our children to obey partially out of fear of consequences as well as learning to choose wisely.
Sin is like the tar baby in the ‘Briar Rabbit story”. No matter what your intentions are, you will become marred and stuck to the tar baby. For those unfamiliar with Uncle Remus’ story, here is the super abbreviated version. Briar Rabbit meets a stick figure made of tar on the road and could not pass it by or leave it alone, because it would not speak or respond to him. As he engaged and slapped the tar baby, he became stuck to the black mess. The more he struggled, the more helpless he became to get free.
Jesus dealt the death blow of sin’s mastery over our lives. The end result of sin’s ruling and mastery over us is death. Jesus paid that price of death with his own life for each of us. There is no salvation outside of His grace.
With salvation in Jesus as the backdrop, in other words we can’t earn salvation for trying to be good, how can we pursue victory over sin? Did God give Cain a clue? Did Jesus address this issue of victory over sin?
19 This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but people loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil. 20 Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that their deeds will be exposed. 21 But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what they have done has been done in the sight of God. John 3:19-21
Whoever lives by truth comes into the light. On another occasion Jesus was asked what was the greatest commandment. The man replied to love God and the second love others. Jesus replied, “do this and live”.
I would like to suggest that LOVE for God and others is the higher motivation to hold sin at bay. Faith and love for God begin and maintain your salvation experience. Perfect love casts out fear or restrains fear. Loving devotion creates a higher motivation to say “NO to ungodliness” and “YES to living by the truth”.
In Cain’s situation, his lack of love for God and for his brother led to his inability to control his anger, which led to Abel’s murder. This lack of love is embodied in Cain’s statement to God, “Am I my brother’s keeper?” In Jesus’ parable of the Good Samaritan, the same idea is captured in the statement “who is my neighbor?” Every sin follows love of self (meaning my ways and rights are more important than others), rather than honoring love for God and others.
I will not ramble on any longer. Here is my proposition, “Follow love for God and others to hold your sin at bay.” Secondly, according to John 3:21, “Bring your sin, your screw ups, your hidden faults, your secrets to the light of Jesus to gain freedom.”
Ask the Holy Spirit to increase your love tank. He will lead you to activities to stir up love for God and others. When you are in step with the Holy Spirit, you will not carry out the desires of the flesh. His abiding presence will give you the strength to say “yes to God” and give the light necessary to say “No, to ungodliness.”
So on this Fear Not Friday – Love God and Others to overcome sin. May you find ways to repent and then stir up your first love for God. Loving relationships begin with a conversation. May you enjoy dialoguing with Jesus today. He brings light and life.
Blessings Love y’all