Did you know babies have budding personalities?
Some parents will quickly align their smiley baby to their grandpap, the one who always had joy on his face.
Where does that leave their other child, the one who cries more often? Needs more attention to be soothed.
From the time we enter the world, we are subject to comparison and competition. Let’s remember Cain and Abel, the first two sons of the first two adults God created … in His image … and in His perfect plan.
Abel found favor in God’s sight, presumably for offering the firstborn of his flock (Genesis 4:4). We know how much God honors His firstborn, His “firstfruits” (1 Corinthians 15:23).
Cain offered “some of the fruits of the soil” (Genesis 4:3) which God did not look on with favor (v.5). I imagine Cain being sort of lazy as he picks fruit from his crop to offer to the Lord.
How often are we not giving God our best?
We know Cain “was very angry and his face was downcast” (v. 5).
How do you feel if you see someone else who clearly has God’s favor upon them?
Perhaps they receive an anonymous donation to meet their financial need when you have been praying for a job.
Perhaps their success in whatever they do hurts your heart. You work hard, you pray every day, you tithe more than you can afford and yet there was not been career “success”, ministry “success”, marriage “success” … and you feel cheated.
We can assume Cain felt cheated and lashed out in pure evil: jealousy, eliminating competition to move into top position, the pride-full desire to be the “best”.
Cain killed his brother Abel.
When I read this passage this morning, I was amazed at our gracious God because He warned Cain about sin and gave wisdom about how to gain His favor:
“Then the Lord said to Cain, ‘Why are you so angry?’ Why is your face downcast?’ (Genesis 4:6).
graciously reaching out, knowing his heart was troubled~
‘If you do what is right, will you not be accepted?’ (v.7).
Mighty God does not change His standards for anyone~ yet continues to invite all His children back~He wants us close~present in every circumstance.
‘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’ (v.7)
this is a warning for all of us~
Cain chose murder despite ALL God did to guide him to truth, to bring him closer.
When we choose to fill sinful desires of being 100% anything (the best cook, the most attractive at your age, the smartest, the most righteous), there are consequences for our actions. Regardless of what happens to your earthly relationships, jobs, etc … being separated from Your Creator, Your Redeemer is the worst of them all.
Grace does not excuse sin. Jesus paid a high price for our freedom. No wonder there is the possibility of stiff consequences when we turn our backs on the cross.
The Lord deemed Cain a “restless wanderer on the earth” but protected him from being killed (Genesis 4:14-15). There is no escape from Heaven’s will. Even if Cain would rather die, God said “no”.
Who have you been in this scenario, the blessed Abel or the jealous Cain?
If we are honest, we have all been both.
Not one person with breath can say they have NOT been blessed by God.
And jealousy is the sin crouched at the door, even this instant. God told Cain to “rule over it” and that is what we must do.
Let us as His children seek His face (Psalm 105:4).
Seek Him in the Bible, seek Him in prayer, and seek wise counsel here on earth.
As you lean into Jesus, make time to listen.
Quiet your soul before Him.
Ask Him to show you thoughts that aren’t pure.
Ask Him to cleanse your heart and mean it.
A surrender of needing to be “the best” is an intentional act.
Brave for some and humbling for all.
Jesus humbled his disciples regularly.
When they argued over which one of them would be “greatest”, Jesus took a little child to stand beside Him (Luke 9:46-47)
“Whoever welcomes this little child in my name welcomes me, and whoever welcomes me welcomes the one who sent me. For it is the one who is least among you all who is the greatest” (Luke 9:48).
Seemingly the disciples did not receive Jesus’ message in full. Immediately after, John reported, “we saw someone driving out demons in your name and we tried to stop him, because he is not one of us” (Luke 9:49).
Really, John? No one else is allowed to be vessels for Jesus?
Jesus said, “Do not stop him. Whoever is not against you is for you” (Luke 9:50).
I pray we can receive this message from Our Lord and Savior in its fullness of grace and truth.
May we lift each other up in truth, for He knows our hearts’ sincerity.
May we honor each other’s work in His Kingdom.
May we grow in humility … not to be the “best” humble person … but to be in the will of Our Lord.
May we surrender daily, even multiple times per day, the pride that comes from seeking recognition/accolades.
May we trust in the One who orders our steps, who designs our calling, who keeps a record of our deeds.
For one day, we will answer to Him (Revelations 3:8).
Thank you for joining me today. I welcome conversation with you here in the comments or to my email at email@example.com
You can find all my poetry at https://faithhopeandpoetry.blog
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Have a beautiful day.