02 Jan Self-Discipline Will Lead to Great Effectiveness
Then the LORD said to Cain, “Why are you angry? Why is your face downcast? 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.” Genesis 4:6-7
The Bible doesn’t say in this passage why God did not accept Cain’s offering, while accepting Abel’s animal sacrifice. It is possible that God had instructed them on what Hebrews later says is the key to the forgiveness of sin: ‘without the shedding of blood, there is no forgiveness.’ But what follows is God’s warning to Cain that he must be master over the temptation to sin. He states that if he doesn’t do what’s right, then sin is crouching at the door and threatens to enslave him.
What God says to Cain, He would also say to us: ‘If you do the right thing, you will be blessed, but if you do the wrong thing, then sin is ready to take advantage of you and deceive you into slavery.’ In the same way that God exhorts Cain to master his own sinful desires, God intends that we can be master over our own tendency and temptation to sin. The enemy of our soul intends to render us ineffective with our time and focus if he can tempt us and distract us with the sin of self-centeredness. Every day there are a multitude of distractions that would keep us from honoring the Lord with our time, energy and focus. We can become effective in all of our endeavors as we seek to please our Lord and do His will.
I hear the Lord speaking to me that as I am filled with His Spirit and dependent on His strength, I can resist temptation and follow the Lord wholeheartedly. The Apostle Paul writes in Romans 8:11: “And if the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit, who lives in you.”
This is a wonderful promise that is applicable to me today. He has promised His Holy Spirit to empower me to do what I couldn’t do on my own. I set my heart to live in obedience to my Lord and Savior this year, and as I abide in Him, there is the promise of fruitfulness in my life. Sin has the potential to rob people of time, energy, focus and purpose. I set my heart to resist sin, to be a master over my own desires and live for something much larger than myself—His Kingdom and His purposes.
Lord Jesus, I want so much to make my life count for You and your Kingdom. I choose to set my heart to walk in your Spirit, to listen to your voice and obey you fully. I trust that you will speak to me as I take the time to listen. I set my heart to seek You this year and to be diligent to hear your voice and follow You.