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We’re under the accusations of the evil one. He continues to try and turn our guilt into shame.

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Read Genesis 4:3-16

Although the enemy is never mentioned in this story, his deceptive influence saturates the entire narrative. Cain reacts in anger and complete dejection when God uses a simple offering as a teachable moment. Cain must have been listening to lies because he seems to believe that God liked him less and would not accept him due to the fact that he wasn’t enough. Instead of humbly admitting his behavior was not exactly what God wanted, he questioned God’s character and saw the offering as a major failure that began to define him and even control him.

If you’ve ever taught children, students or young adults and seen them over-react to a teachable moment, you’ll recognize what this would have looked like. Someone goes from admitting wrong behavior to becoming consumed by the shame of it. From that point on in the story, Cain only uses personal pronouns which indicates his focus – himself. This is the distinction between guilt and shame. Guilt focuses on behavior. Shame focuses on self. Guilt says, “I did something bad.” Shame says, “I am bad.”

No wonder Cain’s punishment seemed overwhelming to him and he wanted to hide his face from God. Cain’s identity and his character were brought into question. But not from God. It was from the enemy. Satan successfully convinced Cain it was all his fault, that God was no longer safe, and that God did not love him. In Revelation 12, Satan is named “the deceiver of the whole world… who accuses [the brothers] day and night before God” (Revelation 12:7-12). This means we too are under the accusations of the evil one. He continues to try and turn our guilt into shame so that we, like Cain, will feel completely responsible for becoming lost in lies and desiring to walk away from the presence of God. Watch out for this strategy and remind yourself that God doesn’t come to accuse, that’s the devil’s doing.

Satan loves to convince us our failures or lack of devotion are the very things that define us. He delights in leaving us stuck – believing we are the disappointment, the failure, the problem. But, we aren’t the problem, sin is. Jesus doesn’t point the finger, the enemy does. Which areas does the enemy most frequently accuse you? Write out a prayer of protection from the enemy accusations today.

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By Yvonne Biel 

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