“But for Cain and his offering he had no regard. So Cain was very angry, and his face fell. The Lord said to Cain, “Why are you angry, and why has your face fallen? 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 contrary to you, but you must rule over it.”” (Genesis 4:5–7, ESV)
If you do not do well, sin is crouching at the door. How many times have we wanted life – and God – to grade us on a “curve?” We want God, and those around us, to let us do whatever we desire and then, pronounce that as acceptable. The trouble is, almost always our choices are unacceptable, especially to a God who has made much of His will and whim known in the pages of the Bible.
Cain knew what God wanted for an offering in the passage above. How do we know that? Abel brought the acceptable one and God chided Cain to do the same so he, too, could be accepted.
All too often in life, as most toddlers will demonstrate for us, what is required isn’t that hard. The problem is that is required just isn’t what we want to do. “Pick up your toy,” the mother will say. “No!” the toddler will snipe back. This is an age-old problem that we don’t grow out of as children, unfortunately.
When sin – which simply means, “missing what is acceptable to God” – takes control of our thoughts and our will, we are destined to be ruled by and ruined by our decisions. As we discovered here, God doesn’t change His mind just because it hurt Cain’s feelings. He is not a God who can be manipulated. He does, however, long for us to be accepted so we can be blessed by Him as a result of our obedience.
Turning around our trials and troubles requires we master our rebellion and our selfishness. It means we will need to surrender to God’s wisdom and plan. For that to happen, we will have to come to the realization that God loves us and has a much better plan for us that we have for ourselves.
Amazing things can happen in a short period of time when we choose to do what God says. Our lives literally turn on our choices. Ruling our emotions and our will are the first steps to a happy life, one that enjoys the path of God and seeks His direction.
Turn-Around Tuesdays are designed to bring hope and help, insight and encouragement to those of us who are simply overwhelmed by the flood of problems life throws at us. No one is immune to trials and troubles, but God has a way of lifting us from life’s torrents. Each short thought is written by Dr. Matthew Lee Smith, Executive Director of Eagles In Leadership, and comes from his life-journey with the God who never leaves us or forsakes us. He welcomes your comments below.