In our old house there was a cupboard that could comfortably contain a full grown man. I know this because I would often slip inside the cupboard and wait, sat in darkness trying to contain the giggles that threatened to explode at my wittiness, to hear my wife moving around in the room. Upon hearing this I would leap out on her and shout ‘BOO!’. I’m not sure how often I risked my marriage in this way, but I do remember Anna becoming wary of walking past the said cupboard just incase I was crouching inside waiting to pounce. Which I found hilarious, Anna not so much.
We often talk about sin in a very casual way. When we struggle with something we talk about ‘falling into’ a pattern of behaviour. As though everything was fine and we suddenly tripped over into a massive vat of sin. However we don’t have to travel very far into the Bible to see that this is not the case. In Genesis 4 we find Cain and Abel, both bring sacrifices to God and Cain is lazy. When God doesn’t accept his offering Cain starts to sulk. In verses 6 & 7 we find God’s reply:
‘Then the LORD said to Cain, “Why are you angry? Why is your face downcast? If you do what is right, will you not be accepted? But if you do not do what is right, sin is crouching at your door; it desires to have you, but you must master it.”’
Sin is crouching at the door. Why does something crouch? In order to pounce! The suggestion is that sin is not some inactive thing that we can fall into, but something that desires to possess us, that is waiting for us to make any mistake that it can take advantage of, including walking past ignorant of it.
1 Peter 5:8-9 ‘Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. 9 Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that your brothers throughout the world are undergoing the same kind of sufferings.’
Anna learnt to walk past a cupboard cautiously because her adorable husband might be waiting to jump out on her. For us the stakes are much higher than that.