On Becoming an Overcomer

Source: Unknown

Read: Genesis 3:1-5:32

Reflect: Wow.

In humanity’s infancy, sin had already made it’s mark. While still in the Garden of Eden, Adam and Eve knowingly disobeyed. Outside of the Garden of Eden, the first generation of offspring chose to deal with anger by murdering. By the time Adam’s and Eve’s redemption baby was born (Seth), “people began calling out the name of Yahweh.” (Genesis 4:26) Things were desperate. And that was all within the first 130 years of existence!

Tucked neatly in the middle of this passage is this little nugget:

“…if you do not do what is right, sin is crouching at the door. It’s desire is for you, but you must rule over it.” Genesis 4:7b HCSB

What a picturesque glimpse of the destructive tactics of this “thing” that plagues us all – sin. Other translations paint an even more vivid portrait of our nemesis, so much so that you can see in your mind’s eye a lion ready to go in for the kill –

NLT – “Sin is crouching at the door, eager to control you. But you must subdue it and be it’s master.”

International Standard Version – “Sin is crouching near your doorway, turning toward you. Now as for you, will you take dominion over it?”

G0d’s Word Translation – “Sin is lying outside your door ready to attack. It wants to control you, but you must master it.”

Apply:  So, what am I to do to prevent sin’s death pounce? If sin is crouching at my door, I can choose to close the door. I can choose not to let it cross the threshold. How?

  • I can take every thought captive. Don’t let any go astray or they will wander to the door and let sin come in and devour me. (2 Corinthians 10:5)
  • I can overcome evil with good. (Romans 12:21)
  • I can choose not to pay back evil for evil. (Romans 12:17)
  • I can leave judgment/vengeance to God. (Romans 12:19)
  • I can choose to love my enemies and do good. (Luke 6:35)
  • I can bless those who curse me; pray for those who mistreat me. (Luke 6:27-28)

The bottom line is that our salvation is found only in Jesus. He is the overcomer (I John 4:4, I John 5:5). It is through His power alone that we can become overcomers, too.

Ponder: Sin is crouching near your doorway, turning toward you. Now as for you, will you take dominion over it? (ISV-Gen. 4:7b)

More: I found Patheos an excellent resource for practical tips that I can implement immediately in overcoming sin here.

I’d love to read your feedback – the good, the bad, the indifferent. Please share your thoughts in the comments.

A Sneaky Enemy

I removed my review of a Bible-themed movie from Facebook this morning. Yesterday when I wrote it, my goal was to give a thorough, thoughtful and clever review from my Christian perspective to help believers who were on the fence about supporting it financially. By last night, it had become all about me.

One person in particular criticized and belittled me for my opinion – not just once, but repeatedly. I felt marginalized, my perspective somehow rendered invalid by his comments. By the time my head hit my pillow, I was angry. I prayed until I fell asleep.

I awoke this morning with cleared vision. What had caused such inner turmoil last night wasn’t the other person’s opinion. It was my pride.

Pride comes before destruction, and an arrogant spirit before a fall. – Proverbs 16:18

Pride is a sneaky enemy. It manifests itself many ways – complaints, anger, being consumed with what other’s think, defensiveness, impatience, jealousy, disrespectfulness, an unwillingness to forgive. I displayed them all. Pride pushed God off the throne of my heart and sat myself down in His place, arms angrily crossed.

PONDER: How does the sin of pride manifest itself in your life?

PRAYER: Father, I desire to have less of myself and more of You interacting in this world through me. I want to be a conduit for Your love instead of my own agenda. I want to be a means through which You bring healing and restoration to a sick and lost world. Please forgive me for choosing self over You.

My Inner Ogre

My stellar second-born (Abigail-5), our precious third (Jude-2 months), and my fabulous first-born (Job-7) - Easter 1999
My stellar second-born (Abigail-5), our precious third (Jude-2 months), and my fabulous first-born (Job-7) – Easter 1999

I have this incredibly meaningful picture of my first three kids on display in my house. It is a pre-digitalized, unadulterated photograph taken during the olden days of film photography.  I love the composition. The natural lighting is beautiful. The subject matter is – wait for it – picture perfect.

Instead of bringing me joy, however, it brings a healthy dose of sobriety to my view of self. When I look into the smiling faces of my children captured in that photo, I’m taken back to the day I took it. It was Easter. My kids were dressed to impress. We had just celebrated the most important event of our faith. What started as a quick and easy photo op morphed into a  l o n g  and oppressive ordeal that left my tenderhearted young kids in tears. With each blinked eye, each scratched nose, each look in the wrong direction, my inner ogre inched closer to the surface until she exploded in rage. I’m not exaggerating when I confess that I was scary. It is one of my lowest moments as a parent and it is thankfully seared into my memory. I cannot look at that photo without tears and the justified feelings of tremendous remorse, shame, and sorrow.

Sorrow is better than laughter, because sober reflection is good for the heart.  Ecclesiastes 7:3

That photo is a sober reflection of who I am at my core, of my own undeniable state of sinfulness. It reminds me that I fight a battle not only with the enemy of my soul, but with my own sin-stained flesh, as well.

I display it, not for the warm fuzzies it generates, but as a solemn reminder of my inner ogre. It reminds me of who I could (too easily) be without the transforming power of Jesus Christ at work, forever renewing and always refining my heart and mind (Romans 12:1-2).  

Spend some time today in sober reflection.  Ask God to bring to mind the things He wishes you to ponder.