GENESIS 4:8-9 – Cain spoke to Abel his brother. And when they were in the field, Cain rose up against his brother Abel and killed him. Then the LORD said to Cain, “Where is Abel your brother?” He said, “I do not know; am I my brother’s keeper?”
THEME OF THE DAY. YES, WE ARE. In today’s scripture, particularly Cain, we encounter three firsts in humanity because of sin. There is the first murder, the first lie, and first attempt to deny personal responsibility. And all three remain alive and well in every person. Let’s break them down. All of us lie. We may say, “ I don’t lie” which is a lie in itself. Let me provide a quick illustration removing any doubt. Ever meet someone at church or any other encounter and we are asked, “How are you?” and our response falls in line with words like, “Good, fine, pretty good” when, really, we are anything but. We are exhausted, irritable, impatient, had a rough day or week at home or work, or find ourselves in a spiritual desert where joy in the Lord and peace in the heart don’t define us right now. Well, when we give the “patent answers” to the “How are you?” question, we lie. We are Cain-like. How about murder? We might be quick to respond, “Okay, I may lie, but I don’t murder.” Be careful. We are not literal murderers, but remember what Jesus said in His Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5:21-22). He likened anger to murder. As for seeking to deflect personal responsibility, we do that too. Every time we justify disobedience to God’s commands, we fail in this area. Here is one example. We are told throughout scripture to “serve one another” and yet, when we say, “I don’t have time. My life is too full”, we are shirking personal responsibility to God and one another. And that leads to another lesson from Cain. It comes from the answer to the question the Lord asked of him, “Where is Abel your brother?” and his response, “I don’t know; am I my brother’s keeper?”
The answer to Cain’s question applied to us spiritually is, “Yes, we are our brothers’ keepers.” And to extend it further in the family of God, “Yes, we are our brothers’ and sisters’ keepers.” Do we see our Christian lives in this light? Are we taking seriously the over fifty “one another” commands the Lord gave us that validate we are our brothers’ and sisters’ spiritual keepers? God has made it clear that no one is on a spiritual island as a believer. We live in community together. We grow in community together. We carry burdens in community together. We weep in community together. We rejoice in community together. And when this is occurring, we protect one another from the spiritual foes that would seek our destruction.
Our strength and influence in the world for the Lord Jesus is more impactful and wider by our togetherness; a togetherness that moves us to hold each other accountable, that lifts each other up, and that really does make us realize we are each other’s spiritual keepers.
PRAYER: “Father, show me my spiritual responsibilities to my brothers and sisters in Christ.”
QUOTE: “The Christian life is a life of togetherness with other believers. God ordained it that way.”