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Crouching Sin

Sin crouches at your door desiring to come in and consume you, craving your destruction, lusting for your failure, and eager to sate its appetite for your separation from the good. It longs to walk through the door and make its home in the dark recesses of your heart where you refuse to look, so that you won’t easily see it, hear it, smell it, or notice it. It can then bloom in your selfishness, overpower you, and assault those around you. This is exactly how it ripped Cain from the presence of God, and killed Abel with the rage it incited in Cain.

In their story, the older Cain, a gardener, brings God an offering of fruit he’s grown from the soil, while the younger Abel, a keeper of sheep, brings God an offering of the firstborn of his flock (Genesis 4:1-7). For reasons that are not entirely clear, God rejects the offering of Cain, and accepts the offering of Abel. Perhaps scripture gives us a clue to God’s rejection. Scripture describes Cain’s offering only as fruit from the ground, but points out that Abel’s offering was the first and best portions of his flock. Is it possible that for Abel, God was first in his heart and mind, and this was reflected in his choice to offer his first and best, while God was an afterthought in the mind of Cain, which was reflected in scripture’s omission of descriptors like first or best?

Whatever the case, Cain’s mind was not ultimately set on pleasing God, but instead on appeasing his own discomfort. In an attempt to assuage his anger, he kills his brother. God then exiles him and curses the ground. Cain can no longer live among his people, and the ground will no longer produce for him. God then marks him so that he will be protected from others who may try to avenge the death of Abel, but who will also recognize him forever for having allowed sin into the door of his heart.

When we devote ourselves to God and put him first in everything, we close the door to sin, and it becomes harder for it to enter our hearts and to grow in the dark. Don’t make God an afterthought. Give him the best of everything you have, and put him first in all things.

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