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Sin's "Dark Side" Power

It's more dangerous than it looks.

Genesis 4:1-7 (ESV)

Now Adam knew Eve his wife, and she conceived and bore Cain, saying, “I have gotten a man with the help of the LORD.” And again, she bore his brother Abel. Now Abel was a keeper of sheep, and Cain a worker of the ground. In the course of time Cain brought to the LORD an offering of the fruit of the ground, and Abel also brought of the firstborn of his flock and of their fat portions. And the LORD had regard for Abel and his offering, 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 for you, but you must rule over it.”

Here, God warns Cain about an enemy he isn’t aware of. This sounds a lot like the “Star Wars” concept of the dark side of the force. In those movies, you can “give yourself” to the dark side but you should resist. In Genesis 4:7, sin’s desire is for you, but you must rule over it.

This is chilling. Sin is more than some pesky little demon sitting on your shoulder. It desires you. You must rule over it. If you don’t, it will rule over you.

This is where the Star Wars movies teach something useful. They portray giving in to the Dark Side as something more than a temporary slip-up, something enduring. If you give in to the Dark Side, you’ve joined it.

Sin isn’t quite as black and white, but giving in to sin does have an enduring effect. Each of us is in a life-long battle against sin and with each victory or defeat one side gains ground. Small sins grow into habits, and then into greater sins. Small victories establish trends too. Temptation becomes less tempting when it has been conquered a few times.

This is easier to see in others than in ourselves. Watching someone slide into sin is gut wrenching. You see them become comfortable with things they used to be repulsed by. The worst thing is that they can’t see the transformation that is so obvious to others.

That’s what going on here with Cain. Simple disappointment is turning into rage. It’s his own fault that his sacrifices aren’t up to snuff – and God indicates it’s an easy fix. But Cain is letting sinful resentment run loose in his heart, and he doesn’t see the danger in that.

Sin is taking over.

Almost everyone will, at some point in their life, grieve for someone we love who caught in sin’s clutches. It’s heartbreaking and infuriating to see them slip-sliding away. Still, very few of these cases lead to an intervention. Most often they’re just left to rot.

It is especially important to pray for these extreme cases. If you are personally connected to one, pray for supernatural deliverance. Also, ask God to help you reach out to them. Just making contact and chatting with them can be significant.

If you ask them how they’re doing, they might surprise you by actually answering.

The weekly study guides, which include discussion questions, are available for download here:

Mike Slay

As a mathematician, inventor, and ruling elder in the Presbyterian Church in America, Mike Slay brings an analytical, conversational, and even whimsical approach to the daily study of God's Word.

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