I remember when I first memorized Genesis 4:7 – “If you do what is right, won’t you be accepted? But if you do not do what is right, sin is crouching at the door. Its desire is for you, but you must rule over it.” The image of sin ready to pounce on me if I didn’t do right has stuck with me for many years. Here are some ways to recognize when sin is about to win:
- We’ve given little attention to the power of sin. Indeed, we almost ignore the fact that sin separates . . . divides . . . and destroys. Our lack of healthy respect for sin’s power is dangerous.
- We have not been faithful in Christian disciplines like Bible study and prayer. When we stop listening to God and give little time to talking with Him, we’ve opened the door to the enemy.
- We hang out with people, or we go to places, where we know temptation will be greater. That is, we play with the proverbial fire – and we thus shouldn’t be surprised when sin burns us. Most of us know when we’re stepping into the fire, too.
- We convince ourselves that our “little sins” aren’t that bad. And, we think all’s good as long as we don’t move beyond whatever we deem “little” sins—except that little sins only give the enemy more open doors from which to pounce on us.
- We begin rationalizing our choices before we ever make them. As soon as we’ve begun to think about why this choice wouldn’t be that wrong, we can know that sin is about to pounce.
- We find ourselves running from accountability rather than toward it. God has given us Christian family members, pastors, and friends to walk with us—to help us do right. To push away from them is hardly a smart move when we’re tempted to do wrong.
- We just know in our heart that we’re headed for trouble if we don’t put the brakes on. The Holy Spirit has a way of re-directing us from sinful choices if we pay attention to His warnings. When we ignore those promptings, sin is ready to pounce.
What would you add to this list?