Bible Reading: Genesis 4:1-16
“Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen” (Hebrews 11:1)
There are two ways we can set our heart’s attitude when it comes to serving God or presenting offerings to God. Our hearts can either offer in faith because we are assured of God’s plan and are willing to trust in Him, or we can offer to get acceptance from God or others through our works.
Both Cain and Abel were asked to give sacrifices to God. The difference was Cain took the opportunity to try and please God while Abel sacrificed out of trust in God. Where are our hearts? Do we serve God to try and gain His acceptance and the acceptance of others by our works? Or do we serve God because we trust in Him and what He has already accomplished for us?
1 John 3:2 calls out Cain to be the evil one, and his evil leads to Abel’s murder. But, on the contrary, Hebrews 11:4 says, “By faith Abel offered to God a more acceptable sacrifice than Cain, through which he was commended as righteous, God commending him by accepting his gifts”.
When we serve God, we ought to do so out of a realisation and trust in who God is and what He has done for us. We must serve Him in obedience, trusting that what He calls us to do is best. This way, our hearts are God-centred. If we choose to serve God to win His approval, our hearts are self-centred. If we think that our works can gain us acceptance and salvation, we are mistaken. If we think this way, our heart thinks that we are good enough in our own efforts to be rewarded with righteousness. We think our own ways are good and right. This is the essence of sin because we reject that God’s way is good and right.
When we talk about offerings, Romans 12:1-2 comes to mind for our New Testament context where we no longer sacrifice lambs or produce. “I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect”.
Have we given up everything to trust in God? Have we put our faith in Him, wholly trusting that His way is the only way and the one true way that is abundantly good? If so, the sacrifice we are called to give is our present body, our whole self. We are called to put our worldly and sinful self to be consumed upon the altar. We present ourselves to obedience and to be changed by God, who is waiting to renew our mind, heart and to make us holy.
Oh, Lord, that our lives would be living sacrifices in faith, holy and acceptable before You. Forgive us for we are like Cain; thinking our ways and works would please You. Your ways and Your ways alone are holy and perfect and ultimately good. Teach us to trust in You with a trust leading to obedience. Renew us, make us holy, and consume our lives with holy fire, to burn out wholly for Thee all the days of our lives. In Jesus’ name, amen.