How would I act if I knew a bad guy was waiting outside my door for me? Not just one day, but every time I left my house. How on guard would I be if I knew, without a shadow of doubt, that someone was waiting for the opportunity to bring about my demise?
I will admit, and my family would overwhelmingly affirm, that I watch way too much Investigative Discovery Channel episodes. I have seen more crimes renacted that any normal person should. But I would say, one of the benefits is that I am very aware and on guard for “bad guys”.
As I am reading through my Chronological Bible this year, the story of Cain and Abel is fresh on my mind. It is so sad to me that sin enters the scene so quickly with Adam and Eve and only gets worse with their children. It does not take long to see the devastating destruction that sin has on this family. Sin seems to be like the ultimate “bad guy” to this family as it seeks to conspire against them.
What brought this to my mind is found in Genesis 4:1-7. I am particularly struck by the way God chose to describe the situation to Cain in verse 7. He said, ” 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 master it.”
The stark choice is profound to me, frightening even! Either master or be mastered. One, or the other.
I let that sink in. It is impossible to dodge the next thought. ” What is crouching at my door? What is on the verge of having me mastered?”
My mind races to 1 Corinthians 6:12, “Everything is permissible- but not everything is beneficial. Everything is permissible for me- but I will not be mastered by anything.” And 2 Peter 2:19 echoes similar warnings, “They promise them freedom, while they themselves are slaves of depravity-for a man is a slave to whatever has mastered him.”
It is not difficult to ponder what masters us. The stories ring forth from our own life, or friends and family, or the news. The list is endless. The opportunities countless. And the reverberating consequences plentiful unfortunately.
What has mastered me before? My own self will, futile and flawed thinking, perfectionism, insecurities, fear, people-pleasing, envy, bitterness….One of my on-going battles is with comparing myself to others. I never cease to come up short in whatever area I am comparing.
But God’s gives me a way out of the endless snares of sin. I don’t have to be mastered! I have a Savior who conquered sin and death on my behalf!
Jesus did not come for sin and slavery to continue to have victory over us. Galatians 5:1 says,” It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by the yoke of slavery.”
So how do I stand firm and not let myself be burdened by the heavy yoke of sin and slavery?How do I master instead of being mastered? The key for me can be equating sin with a bad guy crouching at my door ready to pounce on me. The bad guy is easy for me to fear and tangible enough for me to remember. Sin, on the other hand, is sort of unseen at times in my mind. I usually don’t assign the same amount of fear to “sin” as I would a criminal out to harm me. But I should!!
I have seen too much devastation from sin to let myself be so unguarded any longer. Too often I have grieved over the life changing, dream shattering, family altering repercussions of sin happening in the lives of those I know and love. Just as Cain found, by not choosing what is right, life as he knew it was over. What can I learn from them?
Too little too late! They did not see the sin crouching at the door desiring to have them! And I will fall victim just as they did if I do not start taking seriously what is waiting for me in the world I live in. The “bad guy” is there waiting to master me any way he can. But I have been set free, and with eyes to see and the appropriate amount of fear to keep me aware of the real dangers of the sin that so easily entangles (Hebrews 12:1), I can stand firm! I will choose to do what is right to protect the life I hold so dear. Will you?