I was lucky enough to grow up in church and in a family that loved the Lord and taught me to love Him too. Growing up, I went to church every Wednesday and Sunday, no questions asked. My parents taught me the importance of living for the Lord, going to the church, praying, reading the word of God, and serving others. But there came a point in my life where I made a decision that would distance me from God. I was tired of living in a strict Christian home and wanted to fit in with my friends at school, so I made a choice. It was a bad one, that hindered me spiritually, but it was still the choice I made.
We all make choices. We either make good choices that will bring us closer to God and please Him or we will make bad choices that distance us from God and break His heart. That is the beauty of being created by God. God created us as human beings, who have free will to choose how we want to live. It is up to us to choose to live for God.
In Genesis Chapter 4, we learn about Cain and Abel. We learn just how far sin can take us and how the choices we make have consequences. We learn the importance of giving our very best to God and serving Him with our entire being. We learn that our attitudes reflect what is within our hearts and souls. We learn that we cannot fool God in our service to Him or our actions towards others.
Genesis 4:1-5 says, “And Adam knew Eve his wife; and she conceived, and bare Cain, and said, I have gotten a man from the Lord.” “And she again bare his brother Abel. And Abel was a keeper of sheep, but Cain was a tiller of the ground.” “And in process of time it came to pass, that Cain brought of the fruit of the ground an offering unto the Lord.” “And Abel, he also brought of the firstlings of his flock and of the fat thereof. And the Lord had respect unto Abel and to his offering:” “But unto Cain and to his offering he had not respect. And Cain was very wroth, and his countenance fell.”
Both Cain and Abel brought offerings unto the Lord, but only Abel’s was accepted. Abel gave the best he had unto the Lord. Abel’s attitude and heart were in the right place. Cain, on the other hand, had a bad attitude and spirit. When God rejected Cain’s offering, he became very angry. Does this sound familiar to us today?
When we give to the Lord, our hearts should always be in it. We should give to the Lord and to His work freely, with a good attitude and a joyful heart because we love Him. We should never do anything for the Lord just because we feel obligated to, because then our hearts are not in it.
God evaluates our motives and the state of our hearts.
Genesis 1:6-7 says, “And the Lord said unto Cain, Why art thou wroth? and why is thy countenance fallen?” “If thou doest well, shalt thou not be accepted? and if thou doest not well, sin lieth at the door. And unto thee shall be his desire, and thou shalt rule over him.”
After Cain’s offering was rejected, God gave Cain the chance to right his wrong and try again. God even went as far to encourage Cain to fix his wrong doing, but Cain refused. Cain’s life from that point on is an example to us of how far sin can take us and the consequences we will suffer if we refuse to live for God or take His corrections to heart and learn from our mistakes.
We may not be murderers like Cain was, but when we refuse to listen to God’s correction, we become a modern day Cain. When we refuse to adjust our attitudes and allow ourselves to let our emotions get the best of us, we become displeasing to God. God wants our very best in every aspect of our lives and when we fall short of giving our very best to Him, He gives us the opportunity to fix our wrongs, but it is up to us to fix them.
Cain could have chosen to listen to God and repent of his wrong doing, but instead, he chose to let his anger get the best of him and it distanced him from God. If we are not careful, we can do the same thing in our own lives today.
Genesis 4:8-10 says, “And Cain talked with Abel his brother: and it came to pass, when they were in the field, that Cain rose up against Abel his brother, and slew him.” “And the Lord said unto Cain, Where is Abel thy brother? And he said, I know not: Am I my brother’s keeper?” “And he said, What hast thou done? the voice of thy brother’s blood crieth unto me from the ground.”
These scriptures record the first murder ever committed. Cain’s anger turned into sin the moment he acted upon his anger and killed his brother Abel. From these scriptures we learn to keep our anger and our other emotions in line with God’s characteristics. As humans, we are going to get angry, but we have the choice on whether or not to let our anger turn into sin.
Sin has a way of growing out of control.
Cain’s choices teach us just how far sin can really take us. His choices also teach us to be fully devoted to God and His work. We should keep our hearts and minds pure and holy before the Lord. We should be joyful in everything we do for the Lord. When we do those things, the Lord will be pleased with us, just like He was with Abel.
Both Cain and Abel knew what God expected, but only Abel obeyed. We too, know what God expects of us, but we have the choice to obey Him or disobey Him. Like Abel, we must obey God, no matter what the cost may be and trust God to make things right.
The choice is ours, but our consequences belong to God.
Like myself, I made a choice seven years ago to come back to the Lord and live for Him. Before making that choice, I lived a life full of sin and it made me miserable. I had to live with the consequences of my choices. Our choices are powerful within our lives. We should strive to listen to the voice of God and be obedient. When we are obedient to the Lord, our lives will be blessed. It is when we disobey the Lord that our lives become messy and miserable.
Don’t be a modern Cain today, who chooses to stay angry and not correct their wrongs. Don’t be a modern Cain today, who chooses sin over God. Don’t be a modern Cain today, who chooses to let sin rule their lives and their actions. Be a modern day Abel, full of faith, joy, and obedience. Make the choices that bring you closer to God, not further from Him.