Do well

Some would say I wear my emotions on my sleeve. I can't deny my emotions even that much. I simply wear them on my face. I can't lie or mask what I'm feeling. I've come to view this as a  blessing. But, frustrated this week, I went beyond wearing them on my face; I totally vented. I still don't really know the root of the marital issue. However, I was feeling disconnected, separate, and not enjoying his company. My whole demeanor long-faced, feeling hopeless, I stumbled upon some notes I had taken from Victory over Darkness a year ago. It drew my attention to Genesis 4:4-7.
 4 and Abel also brought of the firstborn of his flock and of their fat portions. And the LORD had regard for Abel and his offering, 5 but for Cain and his offering he had no regard. So Cain was very angry, and his face fell. 6 The LORD said to Cain, "Why are you angry, and why has your face fallen? 7 If you do well, will you not be accepted? And if you do not do well, sin is crouching at the door. Its desire is for you, but you must rule over it." 
God clearly says to Cain, you can't feel your way into good behavior. You behave your way into good feelings. Is this what I've been missing in the busyness of summer schedules?
The ESV translates countenance as face. Cain clearly, like me, wore his emotions on his face, the outside of his body, not bottling it. But God who sees all, inside and out, takes note of Cain's outward appearance. His face which is obviously a reflection of his heart.
I think the punch is packed in verse 7. God tells Cain to do well. Actually in the Hebrew, God uses this word two times. This must be important. This word means to be good, pleasing, well, glad, joyful, rejoice, deal well with, do thoroughly, to make a thing good, right or beautiful. Sounds like a call to action. And yet, now I sit, sulking. Not much different than Cain.
"And if…" God says. Clearly, God is reminding Cain he has a choice: do good or sulk.
If Cain chooses to sulk, Satan crouches at the door. Satan wants nothing more than to bring men and women down. He's sneaky and waits at the door, waiting for an entrance. Like a cat that makes a v-line into the house the second the front door is opened. And in these moments of dejection, sulking, Satan knows we are weak. He sees the door cracked open and he'll weasel his way right in. Satan knows our points of vulnerability. He's a sneaky, creep.
…Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. Resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same kinds of suffering are being experienced by your brotherhood throughout the world. 1 Peter 5:8-9
God commands Cain to master or rule over the sin. I really think this can't be done outside of the Holy Spirit ruling in the life of a believer. Only then can the power of sin be defeated.
Little children, you are from God and have overcome them, for He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world. 1 John 4:4
For everyone who has been born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world--our faith. Who is it that overcomes the world except the one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God? 1 John 5:4-5
We know the rest of the story in verse 8:
Cain told Abel his brother. And it came about when they were in the field, that Cain rose up against Abel his brother and killed him.
I have a choice: good actions or stewing over the negative. Cain choose to let sin referee his life. I can't feel my way into good behavior. I behave my way into good feelings. This is a conscious choice. I'm feeling crumby about my marriage today. I could sulk and feel miserable all day. Or do something that I enjoy or set to work enjoying the feeling of accomplishment. Emotions are real, but they can't be trusted. I must choose to do well.
You must constantly be checking yourself and asking, "Who's ruling in my heart?" Invite the Holy Spirit to rule, direct and influence all of you. Then do well.

1 comment:

Becky DeWilde said...

One small victory. I did choose to do well yesterday…it was a great day!