Throwback: The Sin Next Door

One of my very first blogs. I find it quite cringey now but I still enjoy it and hope you do too!

Check out Genesis 4:7b

The context of the story is that Cain and Abel have just brought their offerings to God and He’s accepted Abel’s and not Cain’s and Cain is ticked. God gives Him a warning and a challenge that I think we should all take into account more seriously. “sin is crouching at the door. Its desire is for you, but you must rule over it.”

Picture the scene. The sunrise gently warms your face through your bedroom window as you wake up to the sound of morning birds sitting in trees swaying in the breeze. Jesus is already downstairs making breakfast out of Bible pages. You take your time over it and enjoy a hearty conversation with Him about your day. You finish up with a fresh glass of living water from the well inside you and you’re ready to take on the world! As you open the front door, silence falls. A deadly silence. You can’t see it but you know it’s out there. You know it’s waiting. You know it’s watching.

Carefully but confidently you step out onto the driveway and you hear the heavy breathing but can’t quite tell where it’s coming from. With each turn a darting shadow avoids your direct gaze. Suddenly the sound of rapid paws on the ground is heard but stops abruptly. Jesus leans out of the front window and shouts “Heads up!” Looking upward you see the huge Beast of Sin sailing through the air, claws outstretched and mouth wide open. In one movement you take a simple step backwards and draw your sword causing the enemy’s pounce to fall short. It rears up on it’s hind legs to appear larger but you run in and force your sword through the exposed flesh. The beast falls dead.

Sometimes, this is the right way to deal with sin. We have to learn that sin is not passive (it is first described in the Bible by God as being a beast with desires waiting to pounce) but it is aggressive in pursuing its victims. Sin isn’t an entity or being but the way it operates is vicious and so our response is to fight it! Our warfare isn’t based on our own strength, but the strength of our relationship with Jesus. If He is our source and His Word is our foundation and we draw power from His Spirit, we win the battles over sin. He’s already won the war. Many Christians want to leave their daily victory over sin to Jesus alone but God challenges us here to rule over sin! He invites us to partner up with Jesus to live in the victory He won over sin on the cross by living by the Spirit and not by the flesh each day. Sin will always try to make itself look bigger. When this happens, you know it’s time to crucify the flesh again.

However, sometimes the day goes a little more like this.

Picture the scene. The annoying light of the Sun shoves its way into your room partnering with the inconsiderate birds who decide to vandalise your eardrums. Jesus is already downstairs making breakfast out of Bible pages but you’re late so you don’t really have time to chat with Him. You wolf down a couple spoons and you’re out the door and on the driveway. You can’t see it. You know it’s out there. You know it’s waiting. You know it’s watching. You… really can’t be bothered. You wack your earphones in and make a move.

You hear a distant, faint shout just as you fall to the ground and you feel the weight of sin bearing down on you. You fumble for your sword but in your mind’s eye you see it on the kitchen table. Looking back to the house you see Jesus standing at the front door but the beast spreads its wings to appear larger and obstructs your view. You’re waiting for Jesus to jump in and save the day but you’re still pinned down. It seems to be growing larger and heavier and its getting harder to breathe. Its eyes transfix you in their cold, dead gaze. You feel the creature’s venom begin to permeate your body through your pores and head towards your heart as you start to go numb. Finally regretting the way you went about your morning, your tears of repentance release the living water inside you and drinking it you are strengthened and begin struggling. After fighting your way out from under the beast Jesus stuns it with a blow to the skull from His cross giving you the time to find your sword and kill it.

This isn’t just about starting your day right or having your “quiet time” in the morning. This is about your attitude towards Jesus in all things. You can’t give Him too much attention as He’ll always have something great for you. Without spending time with Him we lose perspective on sin and it becomes more and more trivial to us. We lose power over it because that also comes out of relationship with the One who defeated it forever. It’s not a one time deal. Jesus told His disciples to stay in His love (John 15:9) because that’s where strength and effectiveness comes from. He wouldn’t tell them to stay if it wasn’t possible to stray!

Sometimes when we mess up we start to see our sin as bigger even than Jesus and we lose sight of Him. Guilt sets in and so does the voice of the accuser and we start to feel impure. This is why Jesus tells us that the pure in heart are blessed (Matthew 5:8) because they see God. They see Him as He is, full of grace and truth, pouring out forgiveness. It’s through repentance that we get restored.

Final thought: 2Timothy 2:22 – “Now flee from youthful lusts and pursue righteousness, faith, love and peace, with those who call on the Lord from a pure heart.”

All that being said, if you’re having to struggle and fight with the same sin everyday, maybe you should just move to a better neighbourhood and get some new friends…

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