I am reading a book by Steve Green (not the singer). This Steve Green is the President of Hobby Lobby and the founder of the Museum of the Bible. The book title is This Beautiful Book, referencing the Bible.
Steve gives us his interpretation of “The Mess of Separation from God,” with which I agree – you know, the account from Genesis 3, where Adam and Even begin thinking that God is holding out on them, per the suggestion from the stinking serpent.
In the next section of Steve’s book, “The Fall” you will find a great definition of sin, which is “an act of disobedience that brings judgment” – a very basic definition to be sure.
The section that is of most interest to me, and the topic for this blog, is the section “Spiraling out of Control.” Genesis 4. Here the author talks about these two camps (my translation) of Cain and Abel, the sons of Adam and Eve following their expulsion from The Garden of Eden due to their sin and disobedience.
I believe that society’s dividing issues today can be described as each individual person being in one camp or the other – the Cain Camp or the Abel Camp. Here’s a list of their attributes according to Steve Green and Genesis 4:
Now don’t misunderstand me. I am not saying that farmers are bad and shepherds are good, or vice versa. The point I want to get across to you is that Cain did what pleased himself, and Abel did what pleased God. You can be from any walk of life or profession, but you’re most likely in one camp or the other.
You have to understand here that God had previously established a sacrificial system for atonement for one’s sin, which was the spilling of blood. Remember that God killed animals for the skins in which to cover Adam and Eve. Prior to their disobedience where they ate from the tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil, they didn’t even know they were naked. It was only after their disobedience that they were ashamed and hid from God. When God found them they relayed the story of the serpent’s involvement in the deal and then played the blame-game about who was really responsible. In the end, we realize that Adam and Eve are responsible for their own sin. We cannot say “The devil made me do it.” Well, we can, but the choice is ours – to sin or not to sin. Ultimately, whether we admit it or not, we alone are at fault when we make choices that we know are not godly.
So, although Cain was a farmer and his choice was to give of what he had – fruits and vegetables, he knew of the sacrificial system that had been established, but still Cain gave what he wanted to give, not what God required. If you sacrifice a few fruits and vegetables, what is that? You can grow more. They are fruits and vegetables, nothing significant has been sacrificed.
Abel, on the other hand, gave as required. Although he was a shepherd, and what he had was a lamb, he gave the best lamb he had, the first born of his flock. He did not go to the field and get Cain’s fruits and vegetables. And he did not give a crippled old sheep that he did not need or want. No, he gave his best, and sacrificed it – taking it’s life and blood in order to make the required sacrifice to God.
We are no longer required to kill a little lamb and spill blood today. By God’s grand design Jesus did that once and for all on the Cross. Since Jesus was God’s sacrificial lamb given for us in order to make atonement for our sin, if we accept Him into our lives, all who will accept Him are recipients of His grace and forgiveness.
So, I challenge you to read God’s Word. See for yourself and pray asking God what it is that He might be requiring you to sacrifice in order to live a life pleasing and acceptable to God. It is not for me to say to you STOP doing this and START doing that. And it is not really a matter of DOING, but it is more a matter of BEING . . . Being a person who lives out Galatians 5:22-23 “The Fruit of the Spirit (your inner behavior demonstrated in an outward manner) is love, joy, peace, long-suffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law.”
Do you need to stop being angry at your neighbor, friend, family member or co-worker and stop using harsh language that causes hurt feelings and breaks relationships?
Do you need to have an understanding heart and think before you speak?
Do you need to stop worrying which team or group or race or religion or political party others belong to and love others as God loves you?
Do you need to ask yourself some difficult questions?
- *Am I immature? Am I petty? For help see Hebrews 5:14
- Am I selfish, legalistic or demanding? For help see 1st Thessalonians 5:14-15
- Am I easily irked because “someone is getting away with something?” For help see Psalm 37:1
- Am I envious or jealous? For help see James 5:8-9
- Am I materialistic? For help see Colossians 3:1
If you have never asked for God’s forgiveness by accepting Jesus as your Savior and the Lord of your life, then you can do that now by praying through these 4 things:
- ADMIT your spiritual need. “I am a sinner”
- REPENT and be willing to turn from your sin.
- BELIEVE that Jesus Christ died for you on the cross
- RECEIVE, through prayer, Jesus Christ into your heart and life.
*What to Pray:
Dear Lord Jesus, I know that I am a sinner and need Your forgiveness. I believe that you died for my sins. I want to turn from my sins. I now invite You to come into my heart and life. I want to trust and follow You as Lord and Savior. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
*Taken from The Billy Graham Christian Worker’s Handbook.
Just a note from me: Until you follow through on receiving Jesus into your heart, you will be hard-pressed to do any of the previous on your own. When you ask Jesus to come into your life He actually comes into your life in the form of His Holy Spirit. Much like Mary, the mother of Jesus, when she conceived Jesus as the angel said she would physically (see Luke chapter 1 in the New Testament), we receive Jesus spiritually. It’s an amazing thing! (See Acts 1 and 2 in the New Testament.). I know His Holy Spirit lives in me because He helps me behave in a manner that I would not behave if He were not at home in my life. Oh, I still make mistakes and sin and slip up, but forgiveness is just a prayer away.
I pray this speaks to your heart and if you have questions please feel free to contact me through this website.