So the LORD said to Cain, “Why are you angry? And why has your countenance fallen? If you do well, will you not be accepted? And if you do not do well, sin lies at the door. And its desire is for you, but you should rule over it.” – Genesis 4:6-7.
Blessed is the man who endures temptation; for when he has been approved, he will receive the crown of life, which the Lord has promised to those who love Him. Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am tempted by God”; for God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does He Himself tempt anyone. But each one is tempted when he is drawn away by his own desires and enticed. Then, when desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, brings forth death. – James 1:12-15.
When I was growing up, I was warned on very cold days not to stick my tongue to the water pump handle. Apparently, that was tried by some and found to cause their tongue to be frozen to the handle. Their stories about the ordeal were enough to convince me never to try it. Recently there has been a story about a nine-year-old boy in Virginia who touched his tongue to a metal pole while waiting for a school bus. His tongue froze to the pole. The police were called, and the boy’s father obtained some warm water, which he poured on his son’s tongue and the pole. The boy was freed – probably with a memory he will never forget. When the boy was asked by the police officer (while his tongue was still stuck) if he was going to do such a stupid thing again, he said, “Uh-uh”.
When I asked Jeanie if she had ever done anything like that, she said she had stuck her tongue to an ice tray. I’d never thought of doing that either. One poll I saw about whether a person had given in to a similar temptation reported that 25% had done so. Total participants in the poll were over 20,000.
The painful truth of life is that we all face temptations that are much more tempting and much more damaging than sticking our tongue to a pole if we give in to them. God tells Cain, “…sin lies at the door. And its desire is for you, but you should rule over it.” I believe God tells us the same thing. Temptation, which leads to sin, is constantly at our door beckoning to us. Giving in to those temptations will lead to painful consequences. We cannot say we are without warning. James tells us, “But each one is tempted when he is drawn away by his own desires and enticed. Then, when desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, brings forth death.” The result of Cain’s failure to rule over sin was the murder of his brother and a spiraling down of Cain’s life after that event. “For the wages of sin is death… (Romans 6:23a).”
Why should you not give into temptation? Because it leads to sin which brings about death. Giving in to temptation brings about death to God’s perfect will for your life. Giving in to temptation at best delays God’s plan for your life and at worst prevents it from ever being fulfilled. Giving in to temptation not only hurts you it also hurts your family and your friends. Cain killed his brother (and all of the descendants of Abel – Cain, by killing one person was a mass murderer killing generations of people.), bringing heartache to his parents, ruining his own life, and it took his own descendants down a difficult path. Your sin does not just affect you. Your sin is not just about you.
“…sin lies at the door. And its desire is for you, but you should rule over it.”