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. It’s desire is contrary to you, but you must rule over it.”
What a picture of the reality of sin and temptation that we are all familiar with, right? You and I will be tempted to sin today, all day long, in different ways, from different angles. Just remember, there is an adversary who, daily, wants to distract you, deceive you, discourage you. An adversary who daily wants to destroy you. I think we forget this. I think we forget that we are engaged in a cosmic struggle, in our lives, in a battle, not against flesh and blood, but against rulers and powers, and spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms, to use language from Ephesians 6.
When we are tempted by sin, we should cry out to God and pray for His help.
This is why Jesus taught us to pray. What was the last thing he said in the Lord’s prayer, “And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.” This should be constant on our lips. Just as constant as praying to God, our Father, for the hollowing of his name, for His protection. To pray for His protection, in the middle of temptation, for His deliverance from evil, knowing that sin is always crouching at our door. Genesis 4:7 says, “It’s desire, sin’s desire, is contrary to you, but you must rule over it.” And this is where we realize, none of us is able to do that. We have all shown that we are susceptible to sin, we are weak before sin, we are prone to sin, we give in to sin, we are guilty of sin. There is only one who has ruled over sin, and his name is Jesus.
This is why, whenever we think about the gospel, we don’t just think about the cross and the resurrection, the death, and the resurrection of Jesus, we think about the life of Jesus. What makes him able to die for sinners is his perfect sinless life, so that he is not like us in our sin. And the beauty, is all who trust in Jesus, so follow this, not only does God forgive us of our sins, but He puts the spirit of Jesus inside of us, who has power to rule over sin, who has power to say no to sin. I think about a conversation that Heather and I were having with one of our kids, and just talking about how we all struggle with sin and we need Jesus. We just pray together, “Jesus help us to overcome sin,” because we can’t do it on our own.
That’s the whole point in the Lord’s prayer. Jesus is saying, “Pray for help because you need it.” For all these reasons, we pray, “Oh God, lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil today. God help us to realize, to see, to recognize, that sin is crouching at our door, that the adversary wants to pull us away from you today, wants to keep others away from you, and wants to deceive, discourage, distract, destroy, us and others. So God, help us to be vigilant.
Help us to be obedient by your power, by the power of your spirit in us. God, we confess, we cannot rule over sin in our flesh. We need the power of your spirit, to say no to sin, to live in righteousness, to walk in obedience to you. So help us,” we pray. “Today, help us to live by the spirit, help us to walk in the spirit, help us to obey you by the power of your spirit at work in us. Help us to say no to sin, say yes to your commands, to life in you, and in the process to experience the resurrection life of Jesus in us, the power of the Holy Spirit in us.” In a world where sin is always crouching at our door, to live in victory by your spirit’s work in us. May it be so in us today, we pray, by the power of Jesus. In his name, we pray. Amen.