“Why are you so angry?” the Lord asked Cain. “Why do you look so dejected? You will be accepted if you do what is right. But if you refuse to do what is right, then watch out! Sin is crouching at the door, eager to control you. But you must subdue it and be its master.” One day Cain suggested to his brother, “Let’s go out into the fields.” And while they were in the field, Cain attacked his brother, Abel, and killed him. Genesis 4:6-8
This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun! And all of this is a gift from God, who brought us back to himself through Christ. And God has given us this task of reconciling people to him. 2 Corinthians 5:17-18
Epaphras, a member of your own fellowship and a servant of Christ Jesus, sends you his greetings. He always prays earnestly for you, asking God to make you strong and perfect, fully confident that you are following the whole will of God. Colossians 4:12
What a great prayer in our Colossians passage. It means a lot to have people praying for us and it's particularly good if they are "asking God to make you strong and perfect, fully confident that you are following the whole will of God.,' like Epaphras did in his prayer. It is kind of obvious that Cain needed a lot of work toward being made into someone who was strong and perfect and fully confident in following the whole will of God. It seems that Cain was at a crossroads in his life.
So far in his life he was straddling the fence between living for himself and living for God. Then came the proving ground moment that we saw earlier in our story. Cain missed the mark when it came to worshiping God in a manner that was aligned with God and his ways. We see in our Genesis passage that Cain was angry and dejected because he and his gift were not accepted by God and because Abel and his gift were accepted. God then shows Cain the crossroads he is facing when he says, "You will be accepted if you do what is right. But if you refuse to do what is right, then watch out!"
This is a moment that will set the course for Cain's life. God says to Cain, "Sin is crouching at the door, eager to control you. But you must subdue it and be its master.” Cain's act of murdering his brother shows us that sin won the battle not just for that moment but for a life time. When Cain was at the crossroads of choosing between a life lived for God according to his righteous ways and a life lived for himself according to sinful ways, he chose the later. In Jude, the next to the last book in the Bible, godless people are described there and it is said of them, "Woe to them! For they have gone the way of Cain.
If someone says they are a follower of Christ, and yet they go about living for themselves and pursuing sinful ways, the reality of their practice calls into question the reality of their profession. Our 2 Corinthian passage says, "anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun!" So, it is essential that we are sure about whether or not we are a true follower of Christ. A true follower of Christ is committed to becoming the new person that goes along with belonging to Christ. The person who belongs to Christ totally wants to cooperate with Him so that truly the old life is left behind and the new life is pursued. In addition, they want to do their part to help others become genuine followers of Christ as well.
Earlier in speaking of Cain, we talked about him facing a "proving ground moment" and then afterwards facing a "crossroads" that would set his destiny. We face both of these as well but in reverse order. Since the moment Christ secured redemption on the cross, every person must face the crossroads of accepting or rejecting Christ and his gift of redemption. One who accepts Christ has the destiny of becoming a new person with a new life. As Christ followers we are given "proving ground moments" that test how we are doing with being aligned to God and his ways. If we miss the mark at these moments it does not change our destiny. God provides relational forgiveness, restoration, and renewal. Our gracious God has a way of incorporating all of this into the grand plan of our lives as true followers of Christ.
In other words, your "missing the mark moments" do not derail you from being one who is committed to "following the whole will of God" throughout the course of your life. In addition, God will continue to make you strong and perfect, fully confident in your pursuit of living fully for God and his will for your life. God is truly awesome.
Thank you, Lord, for your commitment to me. Your amazing patience and unfailing love are so obvious and so welcomed in my life. Today, dear Lord, I pray the prayer of Epaphras for myself: Make me strong and perfect, fully confident that I am following the whole will of God. Amen!
Posted on Fri, August 14, 2015
by Alan Porter