Friday, March 2, 2012

Those "Less than Perfect" Days

     I spent 21 years home educating our four children.  As I sat reflecting on those memories, I thought about the good days when we accomplished a lot and the "other" days which were simply challenging. On easy days, everyone had a good attitude, they were willing to work and they applied themselves without grumbling.  However, on the challenging days, my efforts were like trying to lead a horse to water when it doesn't want to drink!  In many ways, my current work alongside my husband in his professional practice can be much the same.  We have those "smooth as a breeze" times when our schedule flows and other times when everything becomes hectic.
     If I am not careful on those challenging days, I certainly can be tripped up by my attitude as well.  Then, tension builds and everyone can sense that the air is so thick we could cut it with a knife.  No one is a happy camper and progress slows to a halt.  This chain reaction is like watching a display of dominoes fall down in a line.  What can we do to prevent this from happening in our homes and work place?  How can we be an over comer in the middle of a less than perfect day?
     As I was reading the story of Abel and Cain, I came across several verses that really opened my eyes
concerning how sin creeps into our lives.  To get a complete picture, read the entire passage in Genesis 4:1-7.  Let us key in on verses 3-7:  "And in the process of time, it came to pass that Cain brought an offering of the fruit of the ground to the Lord.  Abel also brought of the firstborn of his flock and of their fat.  And the Lord respected Abel and his offering, but He did not respect Cain and his offering.  And Cain was very angry, and his countenance fell.  So the Lord said to Cain, 'Why are you angry?  And why has your countenance fallen?  If you do well, will you not be accepted?  And if you do not do well, sin lies at the door.  And its desire is for you, but you should rule over it.'" (NKJV)
     In these verses, we see a picture of two young men bringing their offerings of tribute before the Lord.  Cain was a farmer so he brought grain or fruit.  Abel was a shepherd so he brought a firstborn lamb.  God accepted the offering of Abel but not the offering that Cain brought to him.  We often wonder why the Lord did not accept Cain's offering.  However, sometimes we forget that the Lord can see the heart (I Samuel 16:7) and we cannot.
     Abel brought the best he had to offer.  It was the firstborn, and it was a blood sacrifice.  However, some theologians believe that Cain did not bring his best fruit or his first fruit as well as a good attitude.  To substantiate this, all we have to do is look at Cain's reaction when the Lord did not accept his offering. He became angry when his worship was rejected.  He stood at a crossroad as we do when confronted with sinful pride.
Trafalgar Square in London, England - A lion sculpture
which reminds us of power and beauty and also the scripture
just quoted about Satan being like a roaring lion.
     God pointed out to Cain that sin was lying in wait outside his door much like the description given Satan as a "roaring lion seeking whom he may devour" in I Peter 5:8.  Cain could open the door and allow sin to rule his heart or he could repent and return to the Lord.  This simple choice had profound implications.  Of course, we know what Cain decided in his heart, and the result of his anger shattered the family peace with the murder of his brother.
     Each time we put our spiritual armor aside and allow ourselves to indulge in sin, we open ourselves to the enemy who is looking for a place to gain a foothold.  Then, we wonder how it happened that Satan slipped in never realizing our responsibility to bring all our "thoughts into captivity to the obedience of Christ..." (2 Cor. 10:5).  God gives us the victory over sin when we yield in our hearts to His Lordship and fill our minds with His Word.  Quite often, though, it is much easier to just vent our anger on one another.  When we do, the atmosphere of our homes and work place suffer not to mention our relationships.  Attitude really does reflect the condition of our hearts.
     Our Lord has given us all we need for "life and godliness" (2 Peter 1:3).  However, we must daily put on our armor and follow Him.  Keeping a "short account" with God and being willing to confess our sins quickly will keep the "crouching sin" which lies outside our heart's door from gaining entrance.  This is the key to being an over comer in Christ!  Selah!

I welcome your thoughts and comments here.  Please feel free to leave them.  May you be blessed!

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