“Now Adam had sexual relations with his wife, Eve, and she became pregnant. When she gave birth to Cain, she said, “With the Lord’s help, I have produced a man!” Later she gave birth to his brother and named him Abel. When they grew up, Abel became a shepherd, while Cain cultivated the ground. When it was time for the harvest, Cain presented some of his crops as a gift to the Lord. Abel also brought a gift—the best portions of the firstborn lambs from his flock. The Lord accepted Abel and his gift, but he did not accept Cain and his gift. This made Cain very angry, and he looked dejected. “Why are you so angry?” the Lord asked Cain. “Why do you look so dejected? You will be accepted if you do what is right. But if you refuse to do what is right, then watch out! Sin is crouching at the door, eager to control you. But you must subdue it and be its master.””
Genesis 4:1-7 NLT
While in prayer this morning and reflecting on the Bible study lesson of the past evening, I said to the Lord “I will no longer ask you to take out or remove anything in my life that is not of you, rather, I ask you to help me master it.” Then the words He spoke to Cain prior to him murdering his brother came to mind. The last line of verse 7. But you must subdue it and be its master. Whatever temptation, test or trial we may face in life, if we’re willing to become its master it will become our slave. It will serve or submit to us, instead of us serving and submitting to it..
In Luke chapter four the Lord Jesus demonstrated to us how we should master temptation. The offers of Satan were tempting if they were taken at face value, but they would have derailed His divine purpose. Instead Jesus chose to counter the offers to self promote and subdued the tempter. Whenever temptation is met with opposition it cannot flourish. Whenever we choose to heed the warnings of the Holy Spirit, sin will not lord it over us.
“Then Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan River. He was led by the Spirit in the wilderness, where he was tempted by the devil for forty days. Jesus ate nothing all that time and became very hungry. Then the devil said to him, “If you are the Son of God, tell this stone to become a loaf of bread.” But Jesus told him, “No! The Scriptures say, ‘People do not live by bread alone.’” Then the devil took him up and revealed to him all the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time. “I will give you the glory of these kingdoms and authority over them,” the devil said, “because they are mine to give to anyone I please. I will give it all to you if you will worship me.” Jesus replied, “The Scriptures say, ‘You must worship the Lord your God and serve only him.’ ” Then the devil took him to Jerusalem, to the highest point of the Temple, and said, “If you are the Son of God, jump off! For the Scriptures say, ‘He will order his angels to protect and guard you. And they will hold you up with their hands so you won’t even hurt your foot on a stone.’” Jesus responded, “The Scriptures also say, ‘You must not test the Lord your God.’” When the devil had finished tempting Jesus, he left him until the next opportunity came.”
Luke 4:1-13 NLT
Notice the first few words of how Jesus entered the wilderness experience; He was full of the Holy Spirit. Contrast that with this next scripture.
““When an evil spirit leaves a person, it goes into the desert, seeking rest but finding none. Then it says, ‘I will return to the person I came from.’ So it returns and finds its former home empty, swept, and in order. Then the spirit finds seven other spirits more evil than itself, and they all enter the person and live there. And so that person is worse off than before. That will be the experience of this evil generation.””
Matthew 12:43-45 NLT
Notice what I’ve underlined. This individual was well put together but empty, unprotected, vulnerable to attacks. Jesus on the other hand, was full of the Spirit. If we are to master sin and its lures, we too must avoid empty spiritual spaces in our lives and be always full of the Spirit which is the Word of God. Jesus was able to subdue and master the tempter by using what the apostle Paul called the sword of the Spirit in Ephesians 6, which is a part of our spiritual armor. If we allow jealousy and anger and envy into our lives we will like Cain be unable to master sin, we’ll become its slave. But if we daily put on our armor, walking in the Spirit, we will become sins master.
“A final word: Be strong in the Lord and in His mighty power. Put on all of God’s armor so that you will be able to stand firm against all strategies of the devil. For we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places. Therefore, put on every piece of God’s armor so you will be able to resist the enemy in the time of evil. Then after the battle you will still be standing firm. Stand your ground, putting on the belt of truth and the body armor of God’s righteousness. For shoes, put on the peace that comes from the Good News so that you will be fully prepared. In addition to all of these, hold up the shield of faith to stop the fiery arrows of the devil. Put on salvation as your helmet, and take the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. Pray in the Spirit at all times and on every occasion. Stay alert and be persistent in your prayers for all believers everywhere.”
Ephesians 6:10-18 NLT
The last thing we want to be is self confident. The first example I gave was of the man that was everything a Christian should be minus one. Clean but empty. We must endeavor to be filled like Jesus with the Spirit. We cannot escape the flesh or its temptations, we are clothed with it. Until we are translated to glory, sin will always be at the door. The Holy Spirit is our source of alerting us to the dangers ahead. We must heed His warnings. Cain was warned by God Himself, but refused to master his anger and consequently became its slave.
The apostle Paul made this startling discovery about himself and we have since learned it about ourselves as well. We cannot master what we are unaware of, but we can once we have an honest estimation of ourselves, begin to break the yoke of slavery and walk in the victory we have been given in Christ’s finished work. We now have the tools to become masters over sin, instead of slaves to sin. I’ll close with this scripture because it is lengthy but it gives us insight into how our old nature seeks to trip us up. But thanks be to God, it ends with our victory. Let us read together.
“So, what shall we say about all this? Am I suggesting that the law is sinful? Of course not! In fact, it was the law that gave us the clear definition of sin. For example, when the law said, “Do not covet,” it became the catalyst to see how wrong it was for me to crave what belongs to someone else. It was through God’s commandment that sin was awakened in me and built its base of operation within me to stir up every kind of wrong desire. For in the absence of the law, sin hides dormant. I once lived without a clear understanding of the law, but when I heard God’s commandments, sin sprang to life and brought with it a death sentence. The commandment that was intended to bring life brought me death instead. Sin, by means of the commandment, built a base of operation within me, to overpower me and put me to death. So then, we have to conclude that the problem is not with the law itself, for the law is holy and its commandments are correct and for our good. So, did something meant to be good become death to me? Certainly not! It was not the law but sin unmasked that produced my spiritual death. The sacred commandment merely uncovered the evil of sin so it could be seen for what it is. For we know that the law is divinely inspired and comes from the spiritual realm, but I am a human being made of flesh and trafficked as a slave under sin’s authority. I’m a mystery to myself, for I want to do what is right, but end up doing what my moral instincts condemn. And if my behavior is not in line with my desire, my conscience still confirms the excellence of the law. And now I realize that it is no longer my true self doing it, but the unwelcome intruder of sin in my humanity. For I know that nothing good lives within the flesh of my fallen humanity. The longings to do what is right are within me, but willpower is not enough to accomplish it. My lofty desires to do what is good are dashed when I do the things I want to avoid. So if my behavior contradicts my desires to do good, I must conclude that it’s not my true identity doing it, but the unwelcome intruder of sin hindering me from being who I really am. Through my experience of this principle, I discover that even when I want to do good, evil is ready to sabotage me. Truly, deep within my true identity, I love to do what pleases God. But I discern another power operating in my humanity, waging a war against the moral principles of my conscience and bringing me into captivity as a prisoner to the “law” of sin—this unwelcome intruder in my humanity. What an agonizing situation I am in! So who has the power to rescue this miserable man from the unwelcome intruder of sin and death? I give all my thanks to God, for his mighty power has finally provided a way out through our Lord Jesus, the Anointed One! So if left to myself, the flesh is aligned with the law of sin, but now my renewed mind is fixed on and submitted to God’s righteous principles.”
Romans 7:7-25 TPT
Thanks be to God!!! We are no longer slaves but masters. We overcome temptations' power by heeding the warnings of scripture by the Holy Spirit. Jesus did, Paul did, and we can too.
“When we were merely living natural lives, the law, through defining sin, actually awakened sinful desires within us, which resulted in bearing the fruit of death. But now that we have been fully released from the power of the law, we are dead to what once controlled us. And our lives are no longer motivated by the obsolete way of following the written code, so that now we may serve God by living in the freshness of a new life in the power of the Holy Spirit.”
Romans 7:5-6 TPT
Written by permission of the Holy Spirit.
February 9, 2023