I am doing my reading for my Angelology and Demonology class (coolest. class. ever.) and stumbled upon this gem in Genesis 4:6-7
The Lord said to Cain, “Why are you angry, and why has your face fallen? If you do well, will you not be accepted? And if you do not do well, sin is crouching at the door. Its desire is for you, but you must rule over it.”
The first thing I notice is the phrase, “if you do well.” In Hebrew this phrase means if you “do the right thing, or the beautiful thing.” I just love this: the beautiful thing. Can’t you just see that the good things we do in this life are beautiful to your Creator? Don’t you think they make Him proud, fill His heart with joy for you because of the love you are sharing? I can just imagine Him watching us do beautiful things for others with a smile on His wonderful face and a tear in His eye because not only have we blessed others with our actions, but we have blessed His incredible name. Truly, loving and serving others in the name of Christ is doing beautiful things in the sight of your heavenly Father.
When we do these beautiful things, we not only bless others and bless God, but we ourselves are accepted and lifted up, according to the original Hebrew translation. This word can also mean “exalted,” which follows exactly what Jesus said in Matthew 23:12, “Whoever exalts himself will be humbled, but those who humble themselves will be exalted.” Even as early as Cain, God has taught us that the only way for our spirits to be uplifted is by humbling ourselves. We are not made in a way that makes sense to the world. The world tells us to lift up our own names, to be seen and respected; however, when we exalt ourselves, we are left strangely empty. There is no refreshing peace or calm that invades our spirits when we lift up ourselves – only an emptiness than can never be filled. It is only when we serve others that we are filled with joy and blessing in abundance. It is truly a conundrum, but if you doubt the Bible’s words, I dare you to put it to the test. Find a way to serve someone with no expectation of receiving payment; love them in a way that you would not normally do and see if it does not uplift your soul in an inexplicable way. Go do a beautiful thing and it will be exalted in the heavenlies, all the way to your Creator.
The second thing that catches my eye is that when we do not do good works, we invite the tempter to our doors. “And if you do not do well, sin is crouching at the door. It’s desire is for you.” I just get such a visual through the imagery of this verse; I see a rainy night, a poorly lit front porch, with a snarling face awaiting in the shadows. 1 Peter 5:8 says, “Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.” Don’t you see a theme here? The tempter is stalking you, he is on the prowl, in your doorway, waiting to devour you. When we do not do the right things, we signal him like a beacon to our doors, and he is ever-ready to pounce. Peter tells us to be watchful – to be ever-vigilant – lest we become his next victim.
The incredible thing, though, is in the last part of Gen 4:7b: but you must rule over it. You know what this tells me? We can have mastery over not only sin, but over the tempter himself. Hallelujah, anybody?! Sometimes, it seems like we are being attacked on all sides; like we are in the pit drowning in the muck. BUT. We are masters over sin. In Christ, we are already victorious! In Christ, we have been given the victory. In Christ, we have already defeated the tempter and EVERY stronghold of sin in our lives… We simply have to claim it. I LOVE Deuteronomy 20:4:
For the Lord your God is he who goes with you to fight for you against your enemies, to give you the victory.
See, Beloved, we do NOT serve a God who leaves us to fight the battle alone. No. We serve a MIGHTY WARRIOR KING who goes before us, standing with us in the fight, and HE gives us the victory. Romans 8:37 says we are more than conquerors through Christ and he leads us in the victory procession (2 Cor 2:14).
John 8:38 says it best, “So if the Son has set you free, YOU WILL BE FREE INDEED.”
CLAIM YOUR FREEDOM!
Through Christ, we are more than conquerors over he who prowls and awaits your failure. We all fail; we fail God, we fail ourselves, we fail loved ones. However, through Christ even our failings can bring about victory. Let him FREE you from the chains of sin. Let Him go before you and clear the way; Claim your victory.
FOR I AM FREE INDEED.
AMEN AND AMEN.