I’m not the sharpest knife in the drawer, but when a series of events have a consistent theme I tend to pay attention. Yesterday was one of those days. Normally I would be doing a continued post regarding the Trinity – but this series of events was too obvious to ignore.
Since I was off work yesterday (Sunday) I slept in and missed going to our regular church. After walking the dog and for some strange reason, flipping channels on the TV, I came across the First Presbyterian Church services from Charlotte, NC. So I stayed there. In reality, there is nothing more boring than watching “church” happen on TV but I stuck with it. I watched a child being baptized into the “family of faith” and then the interim pastor got up to speak. His message title was “Raising Cain” – you know….after Cain slew Abel, Adam and Eve raised Cain! The text was from Genesis 4.
As he moved along he made a couple of points I thought were interesting. One, God having regard for Abel’s offering and not Cain’s. He did not try to justify why God favored one over the other, he simply stated He did because He could! A point I thought somewhat odd. Then he moved on to the exchange between God and Cain while making a very salient point. God said to Cain “If you do well, will not your countenance be lifted up? And if you do not do well, sin is crouching (lurking) at the door; and its desire is for you, but you must master it.” Our job as believers is to “master” temptation and make right choices. Sin’s desire is to bring us down. Our desire must be to resist sin and seek to act in a manner worthy of Christ.
The second instance was a blog posting that talked about a book being reviewed in the NY Times book review section “will power” and how we can apparently view and approach the will as a muscle that can be exercised and produce positive results. It was an interesting review and it seemed to support the idea that God presented to Cain – sin is lurking at your door but “you must master it.” I have a bit of a sense on how this works since for the past couple of months I been working on kicking a “habit” that has not been pleasing to my spouse. It has been a challenge and still is. Each day I wake up knowing that I must make better choices and do things differently in order to develop different ‘habits” and mindsets. Having been somewhat successful in quitting “cold turkey” leads me to believe I can discipline other areas of my life and find success. Reckon will see how that goes.
The third piece of this – “Hey I’m trying to get your attention!!!!” puzzle was another television show I ran across late last night. It was the 1966 film, The Bible. As things would go, I came in on the early part of the show and saw the interaction between Cain and Abel and it forced me to reflect back on the morning sermon. Of course, they were pretty free with interpreting the biblical text – they had Abel saying to Cain the “if you do well” part, which neutered the impact of it and certainly showed how Cain would have been motivated for some revenge. And they completely left out the verse 7 about sin and God’s comment to Cain that he should “master it.” Nevertheless, it brought me back to thinking of my own struggle to master a new way of being.
Perhaps, as a result of this series of events, God is encouraging me and showing how discipline of the mind and body is a good and profitable thing. That I can and in some sense should recognize the “sin” of unhealthy habits and seek to master them. Of course this idea of mastering “sin” could be related to many areas of concern; poor financial decisions, poor time management, poor decisions regarding attitudes toward people, etc. Right now, however, I’m applying it and understanding it in terms of my own struggle to exercise will power over a pinch between the cheek and gum. We’ll see how things go today – tomorrow and perhaps next week. 🙂