Life throws us curveballs. When we run into situations where we are tempted by one sin then we often find ourselves in the middle of an avalanche of sin. We begin to ask ourselves how we got there and how we are going to get out of the onslaught of sinful choices and behavior. The more sin we find ourselves drowning in then the more likely our faith will wane. Our faith life becomes lackluster and soon it becomes a “going through the motions” life as opposed to one of love, obedience, and adoration of the Lord.
Cain seems to have found himself in this downward spiral as well. In Genesis 4 we see where one poor decision, one compromise on his faith, leads to a landslide of depravity.
“In the course of time Cain brought an offering to the Lord from the fruit of the soil, while Abel, for his part, brought one of the best firstlings of his flock. The Lord looked with favor on Abel and his offering, but on Cain and his offering he did not. Cain greatly resented this and was crestfallen. So, the Lord said to Cain: ‘Why are you so resentful and crestfallen? If you do well, you can hold up your head; but if not, sin is a demon lurking at the door: his urge is toward you, yet you can be his master.” (Genesis 4:3-7)
However, we see in the very next verse that Cain does not choose the path of the Lord and to turn from sin. He does not allow his heart to be enlightened by what the Lord was trying to teach him, but instead he allows additional sin to pile up on top of the sin that is already present in his life.
“Cain said to his brother Abel, ‘Let us go out in the field.’ When they were in the field, Cain attacked his brother Abel and killed him. Then the Lord asked Cain, ‘Where is your brother Abel?’ He answered, ‘I do not know. Am I my brother’s keeper?’ The Lord then said: ‘What have you done! Listen: Your brother’s blood cries out to me from the soil!’” (Genesis 4:8-10)
Cain’s problem begins with his half-hearted attempt at honoring the Lord. Notice, back in verse 3 we are shown that “Cain brought an offering to the Lord” and in verse 4 we see that his brother Abel “brought one of the best firstlings of his flock.”
Once Cain compromised his faith and chose to give God whatever was left over or perhaps some of his crop that was not the best for selling, then he began to allow his heart to believe that minimizing obedience to the Lord was acceptable. When God confronts him about the lackluster display of faith, Cain refuses to repent. Instead, he chooses to become even more resentful toward his brother. He allows a weakened faith to lead to the sin of resentment. As resentment piles up, more sin keeps stacking up until he reaches the level of murder. Did you catch that? A faith that is allowed to deteriorate leads to a horrendous sin. It leads to murder. However, did you also see where it not only leads to the taking of a person’s life, his own brother’s life, but it causes him to believe he can lie to God. How often have we fooled ourselves into thinking we can hide something from God?
Cain could have avoided a lot of heartache, consequences, and loss of his walk with the Lord if he would have only been committed to keeping his faith important. We must remember the source of our life. A failure to always prioritize our faith and relationship with the Lord will always cause us to collect more sin in our life.
Christ asks us to “love the Lord with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength.” (Mark 12:30) If we fail to love the Lord above everything else in our life and everyone in our life then we will do well to guard ourselves from sin. We will not be free from temptation or a weakness to give in to sin, but we will be more open to the Lord’s prompting for repentance.
In order to prevent lackluster faith, here are a few suggestions:
1.) Attend Mass at least weekly, if not daily
2.) Spend time in adoration weekly
3.) Read your Bible daily
4.) Pray daily
5.) Go to confession monthly
6.) Do an examination of conscious daily
7.) Read spiritual books and readings from authors such as Edward Sri or Scott Hahn. (or great readings from the saints)
You are called to be a saint. Go be a saint!