“… sin is crouching at the door. It’s desire is contrary to you, but you must rule over it.” (Genesis 4:7 ESV)
“Sin.” Really? Isn’t that a little old fashioned? The concept of sin has fallen out of vogue in our modern, so-called “progressive” society. We’ve evolved beyond it. (So we think, but have you read the news lately?)
A simple definition of sin is anything that is contrary to God. This can include failing to do what we ought as well as doing what we ought not. Ecclesiastes 7:20 highlights both sides of sin. “Surely there is not a righteous man on earth who does good (what he ought) and never sins (what he ought not).”
Genesis 4:7 reveals another layer to the definition of sin. God told Cain that sin’s desire was “contrary” to him. Sin is not only that which is contrary to God but also that which is contrary to God’s design for us.
The problem is we often think we know what’s best for us better than God does. Like young children we say, “I want what I want, and I want it now! Give it to me!” But any parent knows that most of the time your child says that, whatever it is they want isn’t good for them in that moment. Whether it’s screen time, candy, a new toy, or something else, parents know what’s best for their children, and that often involves telling them, “No.” Like children, we often think that if we could only have what we want, we’d be happy. But God is the perfect parent, and he knows what is actually good for us. And sometimes that involves telling us, “Don’t do that.” I once heard a pastor say, “When God says, ‘Do this,’ it’s for our good. And when God says, ‘Don’t do this,’ it’s for our protection.”
Sin feels good and satisfies for a season. But its desire is /contrary/ to you. It is contrary to who God designed and created you to be. Over time, sin will not bring you the happiness you think it will. That happiness is found only when we’re living in God’s direction. In fact, sin will harm you and twist your heart away from God. It requires maturity, humility, and trust to believe that God is smarter than you. Immature children have no self-control: “Give it to me now!” But the Holy Spirit produces self-control in the children of God.