New Hope Notes

Insecurity: Cain And Abel
Defining Moments

Pastor Wayne Cordeiro
May 18, 2008 - W0820

As many of you know, I have a brother whose name is Gary.  When we were growing up, Gary took karate lessons and liked to try out his new karate moves – like his roundabout kicks – on me.  Oftentimes he would beat me to a pulp!  We grew up in the days of Black Belt Theatre.  Gary liked to watch the martial arts but I was more interested in sounds they made.  They always sounded like 60 year old men climbing into scalding hot furos (Japanese baths)!


My brother and I spent so much of our childhood beating on each other and getting one another in trouble with our mom.  There was a lot of sibling rivalry in our family and we see it in the Bible as well. Today we’re going to talk about insecurity as it relates to the story about Cain and Abel, but additionally, we will also talk about how to stay whole and complete.


Cain and Abel were the sons of Adam and Eve; they are the first set of siblings we hear of in the Bible.  As you may recall, both brothers were God-fearing men – both offered up sacrifices to God from the fruits of their labor.  Cain was a farmer who tilled the land.  He offered God a sacrifice of fruits of the ground while his brother Abel, who was a shepherd, offered God a sacrifice of the first of his flock.  Well one got his sacrifice accepted (Abel) while the other did not.


“Cain brought an offering to the Lord of the fruit of the ground.  Abel brought of the firstlings of his flock...the Lord had regard for Abel and his offering; but for Cain and for his offering He had no regard.  So Cain became very angry and his countenance fell.” (Gen. 4:3-5)


Cain was so mad that God had not accepted his sacrifice when he accepted Abel’s.  This may not seem applicable to your life but isn’t it like when we get mad because someone got the better job, the bigger pay raise, the better-looking spouse, or the smarter kids than us?  The similarity here is that we get mad because we think that someone is getting the better deal than we are.                                                                  


When this happens, insecurity breeds in us.  We start to wonder why we didn’t get the better deal and that kind of attitude makes up vulnerable to three thoughts:





·     Jealousy

·     Anger

·     Deception


The first thing we become vulnerable to when we’re insecure is an attitude of jealousy or covetousness.   We see what others have and we want it.  We become jealous of them or we start to covet (want) what they have.  That breeds a sense of discontent in us and we become angry.  When we are jealous, discontent, and angry, that can often lead us to a spirit of deception.


I want to take a brief moment out this morning to point something out, and that is…the church is not impervious to these things.  In fact, the things tend to thrive in the soil of the church.  Today we’re going to talk about the lessons we get from the past:  our wholeness and when we’re not, how there’s a spirit of deception that creeps in.  


In our world today, the greatest theft of all is identity theft.  Identity theft is not only happening in the world at large but also specifically in the church.  Think of it this way:  “here” is who God wants us to be but when we are insecure and starting to look/focus over “there,” there’s a split – what we are and what we want to be. See how this causes a spirit of jealousy…to anger…to deception?


On the flip side, consider salvation.  The word “salvation” actually means “wholeness” or “one.”


David had some related words to share with us on our attitude and perspective:


“The LORD is the portion of mine inheritance and of my cup: thou maintainest my lot.  The lines are fallen unto me in pleasant places; yea, I have a goodly heritage.”  (Psalm 16:5-6)


What David is stating here is that his heritage is good and he is satisfied with the way the Lord is treating him in this season of his life.  I was speaking to a gentleman recently and he said, “I need time…space...I need to find myself.”  What does that mean?  I wanted to tell him, “Where did you last see yourself!?!” 


This kind of statement suggests that a person needs to seek himself out or look for himself/herself somewhere else, or in something else but realistically, to stay whole, you need to contend for it!  For anyone who is searching for who they are, the answer is:





“God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.” (Gen. 1:27)


When it says that you are created in His image, and that our read design is to be in His image, we are not talking about our outer images but rather in our minds, hearts, and perceptions.  God created us in His image but He never takes away your choice.  Being like God requires us to choose to be.  When you’re becoming more like Christ…





It doesn’t matter if you’re 20 years, 30 years, or 50 years in the Lord, your flesh will never be saved so becoming more like Christ is dynamic activity that requires our cooperation, participation, and obedience.


“If you do well, will not your countenance be lifted up?  And if you do not do well, sin is crouching at the door; and its desire is for you, but you must master it.”  (Gen. 4:7)


That’s when the spirit of deception comes in.  Sometimes we are fooled into believing that things are free – for example, certain relationships – but the enemy is very cunning.  He’s like a fisherman.  He casts a fly (that looks a lot like the real thing) into the water and waits for you to bite.  When you bite, he doesn’t reel you in – not immediately anyway.  As one fisherman put it, “I like to play with him for a while.”  That’s just like the devil.  He hooks you and he lets you swim around for a while and at some future time, perhaps when you’re least expecting it, he’ll reel you in.




How you live your life – whether you distinguish between the fly and the real thing – will affect your future.  The Bible says that the nearness of the Lord is my good and I will be satisfied.


“It came about when they were in the field, that Cain rose up against Abel his brother and killed him.  Then the Lord said to Cain, ‘Where is Abel your brother?’ And he said, ‘I do not know.  Am I my brother’s keeper?’” (Gen. 4:8-9)


Wholeness for your heart has sensors so when you’re going off course, alarms will go off.  However, if you don’t respond, your sensors will get dull.  The spirit of deception also obscures those sensors.  God has put early warning sensors in our hearts. 



"Cain became very angry and his countenance fell. Then the Lord said to Cain, ‘Why are you angry? And why has your countenance fallen?’" (Gen. 4:5-6)

Insecurity makes you vulnerable to jealousy and anger. Do not give into your insecurity or you may soon find yourself as someone who has fallen into a spirit of deception. Instead, contend to be the person God intended you to be. He designed you to be in His own image – of His mind, heart, and perceptions. Once you commit to being someone of His image, you will see that finding the real you is a dynamic process. Your security will be tested by how you live in relation to others. But rest assured that God means for you to succeed.  He has provided your heart with sensors to know when you are going off course.  You simply need to maintain the sensors of your heart and correct early in order to be the person He intends for you to be.

As we close, I’d just like to alert you to the fact that a spirit of deception is present in this church and others.  Churches are rich soil for these kinds of things:  affairs and other activities for which people have convinced themselves that they will not be caught. But we need to heed the early warning system of our hearts. Stay whole. Stay satisfied in the way God is treating you this season. Contend for wholeness. Stay the person that He wants you to be and don’t get caught up in duplicity.



  1. Are you an insecure person? Why would you say that?
  2. What are you most vulnerable to?
  3. In what way are you most like the person you think God intends for you to be?
  4. Share about how you’re changing despite your time with the Lord.
  5. How is your security being test? How are you doing with your tests?
  6. What are you doing to maintain your heart sensors?