April 8, 2022

Study Focus: Mastering Sin

(If you are able read Genesis 4:1-8)

Key Verse:  And if you do not do well, sin is crouching at your door. Its desire is for you, but you must rule over it. (Gen. 4:7, ESV)

To Understand:

The story of Cain and Able is one of the first ones we may have learned as a child. It’s a story of sibling rivalry, jealously, and uncontrolled anger, and resentment. The first account of violent death, domestic violence against a family member and tearing apart of a family. When God saw Cain’s attitude toward his brother Abel, and recognized Cain’s heart was filled with bitterness and jealously and warned him if he did not get control—did more than nurse his anger and resentment—but learn to master, or rule over these deep-seated feelings sin was going to rule over him, it would eventually destroy his own life and good future. And as we continue reading, we know that’s exactly what happened.

The play on words is important in this story. God’s counsel to Cain was more than telling him to resist temptation. God tells Cain to first, recognize the proximity of his sin (its closeness), identify his sin (which were his feelings of hatred and jealously toward his brother), then to rule over or master that sin before it destroyed life and relationship. This would mean more than ignoring it, but taking control over it, praying for a purified or clean heart and doing those things that cultivated love.

God’s counsel to Cain proves we don’t have to let sin become our master. We are to identify the sin in our heart or thoughts, then rule over it before it becomes an activity bringing destruction into our or the lives of others.

For Examination, Encouragement, and Application:

Are you honest with yourself about the sin in your heart or thoughts?

How do you handle sin before it become an activity or behavior you act upon?

Do you have sin you have been reluctant to see it as such, or that you have been nursing instead of mastering?


Lord, God, help me to heed the warning you give concerning sin. do not only show me my sin but help me to rule over it before it brings any destruction into my life or the lives of others. I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength, including mastering my sin. Amen    

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