“Then the Lord said to Cain, ‘Why are you angry? And why has your countenance fallen? If you do well, will not your countenance be lifted up? And if you do not do well, sin is crouching at the door; and its desire is for you, but you must master it.’”
My Sneaky Puppy
“You need to be smarter than your dog!” A friend and mentor encouraged me with these words the other day. She was right! This important lesson applies to more than just your puppy. You also need to be smarter than another type of mongrel that longs to get the best of you – your sin nature!
“She will not get the best of me this time,” I vowed as I led Apache out to her kennel before leaving for work. The previous morning I had mistakenly left the kennel door open and after filling her water bucket, preparing her food, loading her up with toys, including a peanut butter filled Kong, and giving her a daily treat, I turned to leave. Before I could stop her she darted out of the kennel and was running free through the yard. All of my enticing words were met with an indifferent look as she enjoyed her free reign of our property! Ugh!!!! I was late to work!
But this time I would be smarter! I led Apache out as usual, shut the kennel door, prepared the pen, and turned to leave. Very carefully I opened the gate just enough to slip through when from out of nowhere a flash of brown and white lightning whizzed by my legs and shot through the open space like a desperate criminal after her last chance at freedom! Exasperated with her antics, I was sure I detected a smirk as she taunted me with her cocked head and playful stance! Another day late to work!
Another Sneaky Mongrel
“Be smarter than your dog!” This doesn’t only apply to a free-spirited puppy. Every person must learn to be smarter than his or her sin nature! In the book of Genesis God warned Cain about the sneaky mongrel of sin and the consequences of not keeping it under control.
Cain and Abel, the first two children of Adam and Eve, were born with a sin nature. They inherited this animal because of Adam & Eve’s sin in the Garden of Eden. It wasn’t long before the effects of this unruly mutt began to rear its ugly head. One day each of the brothers brought God a sacrifice: Cain a basket of fruit from his garden and Abel a lamb from his flock. God was pleased with Abel’s gift, which was given in faith, but did not accept the gift of Cain.
This rebuke did not sit too well with Cain and anger started boiling in his heart. God saw the threatening signs of evil and warned the bitter brother to be smarter than his sin! “Then the Lord said to Cain, ‘Why are you angry? And why has your countenance fallen? If you do well, will not your countenance be lifted up? And if you do not do well, sin is crouching at the door; and its desire is for you, but you must master it.’” I am sorry to say that sin had its way with Cain. Anger overtook this young man and he murdered his brother out in an open field. What a tragedy, and this was only the beginning of much pain and grief for the family and generations to come!
How to Outsmart Your Sin Nature
How can someone be smarter than sin? First, you must realize and accept that Jesus has already beaten it by offering Himself as the payment for its consequences on the cross. Then you must listen carefully to God’s instructions in the Bible and ask for help in obeying. When you feel the warning signs of a wrong attitude or bitter anger filling your thoughts and energizing your body, immediately stop and ask God for help. Think carefully before taking any action and rely on God’s power to tame the wild beast within you. He promises that He can make a way to escape from any of the temptations that are common to man.
I am going to have to think a little harder and be a little smarter when it comes to Apache. She is a pretty smart little gal! But the biggest concern that we all must watch out for is our sin nature. This sneaky mongrel is ready to escape at the smallest crack of our gate. So trust in Jesus, ask for help, and always be aware. Sin is crouching at the door – but with God’s help you can master it!