“Why are you so angry? the LORD asked Cain. Why do you look so dejected? You will be accepted if you do what it right. But if you refuse to do what is right, then watch out! Sin is crouching at the door eager to control you. But you must subdue it and be its master.” Genesis 4: 6-7 NLT
Several years ago, I was sitting right where I am sitting now when I happened to glance out the window to my right. Slithering across my front lawn was a snake that appeared to be about six or seven feet long and heading directly toward the flower bed just outside our home. The snake was probably not of the poisonous variety (most likely a black snake) and wasn’t breathing fire. But knowing my wife’s feelings about such creatures and knowing that I would probably have to sell our home and move if she saw it, I decided to spring into action.
I ran to the garage and grabbed a shovel. I then approached the snake, which was just about to traverse our sidewalk, and I brought the blade of that spade shovel down on the head of the snake as hard as possible. Contrary to what some believe, the snake showed no signs of life after separating it from its head. I then scooped up that head, gathered up the rest of the body, then threw it in the drainage ditch to the west of my house.
Did you know that in India, some parents allow their two-year-old children to play with cobras? That strikes me as a rather odd parenting philosophy, but it serves to help us make a point. Even as believers in and followers of Jesus Christ, that cobra is still crouching just outside the door of our daily lives. We have no reason to believe that it will go away on this side of heaven (1 John 1:8).
But, you know, some of those snakes are, well, attractive and somewhat fascinating as well. So we crack the door, and there it is, rising and doing that dance that it does, and we are transfixed. We open it a little wider. Now we can see the whole creature, and it looks harmless – indeed, it looks beautiful! Then, before you can say, “Come in,” that cobra is wrapped around you tighter than a coil spring, squeezing the spiritual life out of you.
You no longer want to read your Bible. Your prayer life has fallen into the dust bin. And, in a reversal of the last phrase from verse seven above, it’s got you – it is your master, not the other way around. THE SOLUTION: The best cure is always prevention but, what if the door is already open, even if just a crack? Did you know that the Greek word for confession – homologeo – does not mean saying I’m sorry? It means “to say the same thing.” It means that we agree with God as to what the sins in our lives are and we say to Him, “Yes, Lord, I agree with you that the way I spoke to that person was sin and I repent of it.”
I wish that I were always as wise as I was with that snake in the yard. Sadly, that is not the case. God help us to cut off the head of the cobra before we are entwined in the suffocation of sin.