Genesis 4:3–7
‘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 rule over it.’ (v7)

The challenge we have with sin is that once we react inappropriately, as Cain did here in his anger with God in accepting Abel’s and not his offering (v5), we open a door to a sin sequence with the potential for horrendous consequences. Once sin has a hold on our lives it seeks to sink us lower in the mire and it proves difficult to shake ourselves free and make our way back to God. 

The biblical image is stark: safe within our home whose walls and roof are constructed by God, step outside and a beast is waiting to pounce. We have friends in Montana, USA, who must be careful in the long winters to ensure there are no hungry bears roaming their property, ready to pounce upon a tasty lunch. When we sin we are at serious risk of making a bad situation worse. We all too easily ‘cut off our nose to spite our face’, a needless action that vents anger but damages us more than whoever or whatever we are angry about. 

Sin becomes habitual unless we swiftly acknowledge we’ve sinned, confess to God and take a moment to reorientate ourselves. Like Joseph (Gen. 39:12) we are to flee from sin at the moment of its inception. Even when attracted by its promise, we are to resist, and the best way is like Joseph – to put some distance between ourselves and the source of our temptation. God knows and accepts our weakness, but do we?

SCRIPTURE TO CONSIDER: Gen. 39:1–20; Prov. 28:13–18; Matt. 26:36–46; 1 John 1:5–10.

AN ACTION TO TAKE: When temptation approaches you, like Joseph, what steps can you take to put some distance between you and the object of your desire? A practical process to adopt.

A PRAYER TO MAKE: ‘Lord, You are my peace and I am safe within Your house. I look to You in times of temptation and trouble. Amen.’

Photo by Alexandra Mirgheș on Unsplash
Micha Jazz is Director of Resources at Waverley Abbey, UK.