Each person has a specific type of character. We are born a certain way, with specific personality traits. Yet many of our character traits, whether we know it or not, form over time.
As a child we begin to take on the nature of those around us. Although not completely developed from our caregivers, our character meshes with our personality and we are developed.
Adversity, challenges, and trials help to develop certain aspects of our character, while joyful experiences like love, laughter, and fulfillment of hope develop other aspects of who we are.
If you’ve ever been around a young person and observed their actions, you would see these changes occur in their development.
If this is the truth in the natural…what can we say, then, about the spiritual?
Do you remember the story of Cain and Able? I’m sure you do…
Two brothers, the first two sons of Adam and Eve. They were the first to be born of the curse, in pain, and distress of child rearing. Cain, the oldest, would be his mother’s first experience of pain and his father’s first successor and student. Never having parented before, Adam and Eve would have obviously done their best, but without the direct communion of God and with the influence of the evil one lurking in the air.
Able, the second son, the child which Adam and Eve knew a bit more of what to expecting child rearing, may have had a bit of an easier time being brought up because he wasn’t his parent’s first experience. They may have been less fearful of the curse and more trusting of God.
Whatever the case, both young men were taught the ways in which they should worship and commune with God. However, it is clear that they, each, developed their own way and did things accordingly.
And in the course of time Cain brought to the Lord an offering of the fruit of the ground.
And Abel brought of the firstborn of his flock and of the fat portions. And the Lord had respect and regard for Abel and for his offering,
But for Cain and his offering He had no respect or regard. So Cain was exceedingly angry and indignant, and he looked sad and depressed. -Genesis 4:3-5
Each man, not according to his upbringing or teaching, but according to his character and decisions offered an offering to God.
Now stop and think with me for a moment. When is what we do not accepted? Is it when she do well or when we don’t do well? It’s when we don’t do well, right?!
That’s exactly what God said to Cain…
And the Lord said to Cain, Why are you angry? And why do you look sad and depressed and dejected?
God could tell that something was wrong with Cain. Not just by his inner thoughts, but also by his countenance. He wanted Cain to be aware of it as well.
See God knew what would come next. We often times believe that what we do will have no immediate effect. Our feelings and emotions are just that, feelings and emotions. Not true…they are precursors to the nature that we take on. We feel a certain way and then we do…something…feel something…do something. The cycle continues, but look at what God said to Cain.
If you do well, will you not be accepted? And if you do not do well, sin crouches at your door; its desire is for you, but you must master it.
First he felt a specific way. His countenance fell. God brought it to his attention and he didn’t change it, so God warned Him. It’s as if God was saying to Him, “I know that you know this. It has been a pattern in your life. Do well, be accepted. Do not do well, sin comes. Sin comes, master sin…you can master sin…I know you know this…”
Yet it says in scripture that at this very moment a decision was to be made by Cain, which nature was he going to take on.
1 John 3:12 Amplified
[And] not be like Cain who [took his nature and got his motivation] from the evil one and slew his brother. And why did he slay him? Because his deeds (activities, works) were wicked and malicious and his brotherâ€™s were righteous (virtuous).
Was his character and nature to be developed by God? If so, he would have to take charge over his emotions and his countance. He’d have to take responsibility for not doing well and remember to do better next time. His motivations would need to change. No pointing the finger and blaming others…take responsibility.
Or was his character and nature to be influenced and developed by the evil one? Blaming others, not realizing the wrong in what he did, and doing things out of the wrong motivation.
We know the answer… He took on the nature of the evil one and killed His brother, but my point is that He didn’t have to do this. He could have chosen different. Not just in the killing, but in the whole process. He could have chosen the nature of God. He could have controlled his emotions. He could have done right. Yet he would not heed the warning of God and humble himself to receive correction.
I don’t mean to pry, but do you find that any of this is remotely similar to how we act in life sometimes? We don’t do things right and then we get angry when things don’t go our way. We forget that sin comes when we don’t do well. But just because sin came doesn’t mean that we have no power over it.
God said that we have to master sin. Genesis 4:7
So the next time that times get a bit hard or you have a tough decision to make, don’t let your countenance fall. Hold yourself together, pray…listen to what God is saying about the situation. Realize that if you did wrong, you need to master sin. Repent, find the right way, and do it. If you take a moment to be humble, God will fix it for you. But, a bit of warning, if you take things into your own hands and follow the way of Cain…the way of the evil one…things will go very wrong…