The concepts in this post are based on an exerpt from my book, River Life: Entering the Character of Jesus. The topic is from the Humility unit, and is taken from the story of Cain and Abel, found in Genesis 4:1-16.
[Cain killed his brother Abel because he was jealous of the favor of God that rested upon Abel’s life. God had spoken to Cain, previous to this, about how he also could obtain favor, but Cain had refused to listen. When God pronounced judgments in Cain’s life in consequence of his sin, rather than taking responsibility for his actions, Cain blamed God for the hardships now coming upon him, and he “left the presence of the Lord.”]
It is common, even in the Church, for people who do not faithfully obey God to envy those who do. They see the favor that God gives to those who go after Him wholeheartedly, and they become embittered because they don’t have equal favor. They resent someone else having a position of responsibility that they have not been given. Usually, they will blame someone other than themselves — perhaps by finding fault with the person they are jealous of, perhaps by accusing the church leadership of playing favorites. It’s easier to blame others than to take a good, hard look at what might be wrong with ourselves.
After complaining and making everyone, including themselves, miserable for a while, they usually “leave the Lord’s presence” by not coming together with the rest of the church anymore. In one sense, they have already left the Lord’s presence long before this. They have been out of fellowship with God in their hearts long before they physically left the local church fellowship behind.
Some of you may have already been living in this pattern. It’s time to break the cycle of blaming others, picking up offenses, and leaving your church family, then going on to another church fellowship and doing the same all over again — or perhaps just not being a part of any church anymore. What can we do instead?
1. Examine our lives for patterns of poor behavior that have repeated themselves.
2. Put the blame firmly where it belongs — on ourselves.
3. Repent for disobedience to God, inconsistency, unfaithfulness, and poor attitudes.
4. Repent for taking offense at others, criticalness, envy, and bitterness.
5. Determine in our hearts that we will do the best we can to be faithful, consistent, and obedient to God. Determine to be teachable, to accept correction humbly, and to go the extra mile for others.
6. Determine to guard our hearts against picking up offense.
7. Ask for God’s deliverance from old behavior patterns. Ask Him to help us change.
River Life can be purchased at http://characterbuildingforfamilies.com/riverlifeindex