A couple of days ago, I talked about the sacrifices Cain and Abel presented to the Lord and how the Lord rejected Cain’s Sacrifice.
The Lord was pleased with Abel and his offering, but with Cain and his offering he was not pleased. So Cain became very angry, and his expression was downcast (Genesis 4:
Whoa! He got very angry? But the Lord did not pat his hand and say, “Oh Cain, it’s okay. I know you meant well. I’m sorry for upsetting you . . .”? No! Look at how the Lord actually responded to Cain’s reaction:
“Why are you angry, and why is your expression downcast? Is it not true that if you do what is right, you will be fine? But if you do not do what is right, sin is crouching at the door. It desires to dominate you, but you must subdue it.” (Genesis 4:5)
Ooh, so if I do what I am supposed to do, everything is okay? But when I do not do what I am supposed to do, sin is “crouching at the door,” because it “desires to dominate” me? Wow! Maybe that’s why James told us to “Resist the devil!” That sounds rather extreme, don’t you think? So how do we do that? Well, James actually told us:
Submit to God. But resist the devil and he will flee from you (James 4:7)
Well, I love the end part, where the Devil will flee from me, but wait a minute, is that all that James wrote? Nope. Take a look:
About the feuds and struggles that exist among you—where do you suppose they come from? Can’t you see that they arise from conflicting passions within yourselves?
See? Don’t always blame the Devil for your conflicts. Scripture teaches that we were created with both a good and an evil inclination. Now notice that: inclination, meaning that man had the capability of choosing one or the other.
You crave something and don’t get it, you are jealous and envious of what others have got and you don’t possess it yourselves. Consequently in your exasperated frustration you struggle and fight with one another.
But why don’t we get it?
You don’t get what you want because you don’t ask God for it. And when you do ask he doesn’t give it to you, because you ask in quite the wrong spirit — you only want to satisfy your own desires.
You are like unfaithful wives, flirting with the glamor of this world, and never realizing that to be the world’s lover means becoming the enemy of God!
That alone should wake some of you up! If you are receiving the applause and adulation from the world, you better question what you are doing or teaching.
Anyone who deliberately chooses to love the world is thereby making himself God’s enemy.
Hey, those of you who are content to violate our God’s laws because your “Theology” is offending them, better read that verse again.
Do you think what the scriptures have to say about this is a mere formality? Or do you imagine that this spirit of passionate jealousy is the Spirit he has caused to live in us? No, he gives us grace potent enough to meet this and every other evil spirit, if we are humble enough to receive it. That is why he says: ‘God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble.’
Be humble then before God, but resist the devil and you’ll find he’ll run away from you. (James 41-7)
I’ll tell you what, some of those who say they love the Lord, are far too comfortable with their sin nature. They have no conflict with embracing the attitudes and language of the world. As one writer declared, “The yardstick of this world is a mighty weapon!”
If you will set yourself to loving and honoring the Lord, you will, as Tozer declared, “do no common act.” You will be able to follow Paul’s admonishment when he wrote, “work at whatever you are called to do with enthusiasm, as to the Lord and not for people because you know that you will receive your inheritance from the Lord as the reward. Serve the Lord Christ (Colossians 3:23-24). For you, every aspect of your life itself will become sacramental. Does that sound too extreme? Well, Paul told the church in Corinth, “Whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God” (I Corinthians 10:31).
(I send out messages like this each morning in emails, and if you are interested in receiving them, send me your email address and I will add you to the list. However, you can also find these messages at: Thought For The Day)