- 1 Does covet mean jealousy?
- 2 What is the biblical meaning of coveting?
- 3 What is an example of thou shalt not covet?
- 4 Why did God say not to covet?
- 5 What are the unforgivable sins in the Bible?
- 6 Are there no 10 commandments in the Bible?
- 7 Which of the 10 commandments you shall not covet?
- 8 What is the difference between want and covet?
- 9 What is covetous behavior?
- 10 How do you fight coveting?
What is an example of coveting?
If you covet something, you strongly want to have it for yourself. She coveted his job so openly that their conversations were tense.
Does covet mean jealousy?
His brothers were jealous of him. Genesis 37:11 Suppose you’ve been friends with another person or couple for years. Then one day they come into money. They marry into money, or their business thrives, or they are given some unusual success, and overnight their life begins to look very different from yours.
The godly response is to “rejoice with those who rejoice” (Rom.12:15), to find as much pleasure in what has come to them as you would if it had come to you! But that’s not easy. Two temptations will come to you. One is to covet and the other is to envy (or be jealous). Coveting is when you want what someone else has.
Envying is when you don’t want someone else to have what they’ve been given. Coveting wants to gain something for yourself. Envying wants to deny something to someone else. Coveting is saying, “I want the same as you.” Envy says, “I don’t want you to have more than me.” There is a meanness of spirit about it.
Envy makes the bones rot” (Prov.14:30). Joseph’s brothers would have been happy as long as Joseph was their equal. But God said that Joseph would be lifted up and they didn’t want him to have that. If God blesses you, don’t be surprised when others envy you. Rejoicing with those who rejoice is a rare grace in a selfish world.
Very few people have the grace to do this well. God said that His loved and favored Son, Jesus Christ, will be exalted. Before Him every knee will bow. But there is a compulsion in the human heart that does not want Him to have that. We will not have this man to reign over us.
What is the biblical meaning of coveting?
Covetousness ‘is an insatiable desire for worldly gain.’ Covetousness is an insatiable desire to find fulfillment, meaning and purpose in things, instead of in God. The spirit of covetousness leads to and is the mother of many other sins. Coveting another man’s wife leads to adultery (2 Sam.11:4,5).
What is an example of thou shalt not covet?
Other bad examples of coveting – The Bible gives many other bad examples of coveting, such as when David coveted Bathsheba, his neighbor’s wife () and Ahab coveted his neighbor Naboth’s vineyard (). In both of these cases, this mental sin led to other sins, including murder.
The best way to defend against covetousness in our own hearts is by taking steps to counteract it—learning contentment, exercising generosity and expanding our faith. When we covet, we give in to a toxic, selfish mind-set that leads to sin and death. Thankfully, the Bible identifies the cure as well as the disease.
The antidotes to covetousness include:
Contentment. Paul “learned how to be content with whatever I have” (Philippians 4:11, New Living Translation). He wrote, “I know how to be abased, and I know how to abound. Everywhere and in all things I have learned both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need. I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me” (verses 12-13, New King James Version). Generosity. If we learn to be “rich in good works, ready to give, willing to share,” we will be storing up treasure “for the time to come, that may lay hold on eternal life” (). Faith. We can trust in “the living God, who gives us richly all things to enjoy” (). We can know that God has a glorious inheritance for those who have faith in Him. “But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him” (Hebrews 11:6).
For more about the faith to trust God for our needs and desires, be sure to read “?” Learn more about what the Bible says about coveting, the 10th Commandment and related subjects in the following resources: “,” “,” “,” “” “” and our video “.” When we discover that we have sinned and broken God’s, we should turn to God in repentance. For more about this vital subject, see our section on “.”
How do you know if you are coveting?
Taking Sin Seriously – W hat makes coveting such a serious sin? First, we covet when we want for ourselves what belongs to someone else. Coveting is more than thinking, “It’d be great to have a nice house,” or “I’d like to have a better job.” Coveting longs for someone else’s stuff to be your stuff.
- Coveting says, “I want their house.
- I want his job.
- If only I could have what they have, then I’d be happy.” One way of looking at things is to see the tenth commandment as the internalization of the eighth commandment.
- Just as adultery of the heart is lust, and murder of the heart is hatred, so theft is the heart of covetousness.
When Achan stole some of the devoted things from Ai, he first “coveted them” and then “took them” (Josh.7:21). Likewise, James says, “You desire and do not have, so you murder. You covet and cannot obtain, so you fight and quarrel” (James 4:3). Those two sentences stand in parallel.
Coveting is desiring something or someone that is not yours to have. Sex may be a good thing. Possessions may have their place. But they’re both bad when the thoughts are illicit when you want what does not belong to you. Coveting is a violation of the second great commandment. Remember how Jesus summarized the two tables of the law: “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.
This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself ” (Matt.22:37–40). Coveting fails to love your neighbor as yourself. When we’re covetous, we think only (or, at least, supremely) of what is good for us: what we would like, what would make us happy, and what could make our lives better, regardless of how others are affected.
- It’s easy for us to see how selfish children can be.
- They are happy with their Christmas presents until they see a sibling or friend get something bigger and better.
- Suddenly their Super Awesome Barbie Action Playhouse isn’t so super awesome anymore.
- And you know what happens next? You’ll hear those immortal words: “It’s not fair!” This prompts one of the much-beloved mom or dad lectures about starving kids living in a crater on the moon.
But as easily as we can see the selfishness of children, we can be blind to our own self-regard. We notice the camper down the street or the new addition with all the righteous indignation of kids on Christmas morning. Coveting is not just saying, “I would like something.” That can be fine.
What did Jesus say about coveting?
1. Covetousness Never Brings Satisfaction – Ecclesiastes 5:11: “He who loves money will not be satisfied with money; nor he who loves wealth, with gain: this also is vanity.” “The fight of faith is the fight to keep your heart contented in Christ.” This is God’s word on money: it does not satisfy those who love it.
Why did God say not to covet?
Prohibition of greed and envy of possessions – 1909 painting The Worship of Mammon, the New Testament representation and personification of material greed, by Evelyn De Morgan, Catholic teaching on the prohibition of greed and envy center around Christ’s admonishments to desire and store up treasure in Heaven rather than on Earth, “For where your treasure is, there’ll your heart be also.” The tenth commandment is regarded as completing and unfolding the ninth.
The tenth commandment forbids coveting the goods of another, as the root of the stealing and fraud forbidden by the commandment, “You shan’t steal.” “Lust of the eyes” leads to the violence and injustice forbidden by the commandment, “You shan’t murder.” Covetousness, like sexual immorality, originates in the idolatry prohibited by the first three commandments.
Along with the ninth commandment, the tenth summarizes the entire Ten Commandments, by focusing on the intentions and desires of the heart. Covetous desires create disorder because they move beyond satisfying basic human needs and “exceed the limits of reason and drive us to covet unjustly what is not ours and belongs to another or is owed to him.” Greed and the desire to amass earthy goods without limit are forbidden as are avarice and the passion for riches and power.
“You shan’t covet” means that we should banish our desires for whatever doesn’t belong to us. Never having enough money is regarded as a symptom of the love of money. Obedience to the tenth commandment requires that envy be banished from the human heart. Envy is a capital sin that includes sadness at the sight of another’s goods and the immoderate desire to acquire them for oneself.
The baptized person should resist envy by practicing good will and rejoicing and praising God for material blessings granted to neighbor and brother. God warns man away from what seems “good for food, a delight to the eyes, to be desired to make one wise,” and law and grace turn men’s hearts away from avarice and envy and toward the Holy Spirit who satisfies man’s heart.
But now the righteousness of God has been manifested apart from law, although the law and the prophets bear witness to it, the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe.” (Romans 3:21-22) Henceforth, Christ’s faithful “have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires”; they are led by the Spirit and follow the desires of the Spirit.”(Galatians 5:24, cf.
Romans 8:14, 27) — Catechism of the Catholic Church Catholic teaching reminds that Jesus enjoins his disciples to prefer him to everything and everyone, and bids them “renounce all that ” for his sake and that of the Gospel. Jesus gave his disciples the example of the poor widow of Jerusalem who gave out of her poverty all that she had to live on.
Detachment from riches is portrayed as obligatory for entrance into the Kingdom of heaven. “Blessed are the poor in spirit” illustrates that those who voluntarily don’t receive their physical needs are more inclined to seek fulfillment of their spiritual needs through Jesus Christ. “The Lord grieves over the rich, because they find their consolation in the abundance of goods.” “I want to see God” expresses the true desire of man.
The water of eternal life quenches the thirst for God. Attachment to the goods of this world are a bondage. The Scriptural remedy is the desire for true happiness that’s found in seeking and finding God. Holy people must struggle, with grace from on high, to obtain the good things God promises.
Why does God tell us not to covet?
Covetousness in context – To some, coveting may appear to be a small issue. But the apostle Paul inserted covetousness in lists alongside sexual immorality, uncleanness, passion and evil desire (Ephesians 5:3 ; Colossians 3:5 ). He even wrote that a covetous person cannot inherit God’s Kingdom. Coveting is a significant problem in God’s eyes! Paul included a very important point in Colossians 3:5 that helps us understand why it is so serious. “Covetousness,” he wrote, “is idolatry.” Covetousness is linked to idolatry because it leads us to prioritize our desire for stuff above God. Coveting things, no matter what they are, can lead us to put our desire for those things above our desire to please God and be in His Kingdom. When we look at coveting through God’s eyes, it takes on a whole different nature. Coveting corrupts our genuine trust in God as our provider, elevating desire for those things above our reliance on God to provide for our physical necessities. To learn more, read ” Depending on God,”
Is it a sin to smoke cigarettes?
Roman Catholic Church – The Roman Catholic Church does not condemn smoking per se, but considers excessive smoking to be sinful, as described in the Catechism (CCC 2290): The virtue of temperance disposes us to avoid every kind of excess: the abuse of food, alcohol, tobacco, or medicine.
What are the unforgivable sins in the Bible?
- ^ Mark 3:28–29
- ^ Matthew 12:31–32
- ^ Luke 12:10
- ^ Hebrews 6:4–6
- ^ Hebrews 10:26–31
- ^ 1 John 5:16
- ^ Jump up to: a b c d e f g “The Sermons of John Wesley – Sermon 86: A Call To Backsliders”, Northwest Nazarene University, Retrieved 9 August 2021,
- ^ Pat Robertson (2003). Bring It On, Thomas Nelson,p.161. ISBN 978-1-4185-5570-2, The sin unto death, or the so-called unpardonable sin, is to reject the Holy Spirit’s wooing.
- ^ Jump up to: a b Combs, William W (2004). The Blasphemy Against the Holy Spirit Archived 2012-02-10 at the Wayback Machine Detroit Baptist Seminary Journal 9 (Fall 2004)
- ^ “The Unpardonable Sin”, Cbn.com, Retrieved 2016-11-21,
- ^ Matthew 12:30–32
- ^ Mark 3:28–30
- ^ Luke 12:8–10
- ^ Hebrews 6:4–6
- ^ Hebrews 10:26–31
- ^ 1 John 5:16
- ^ 1 Thessalonians 5:17
- ^ Slobodskoy, Serafim Alexivich (1967). “The Christian Faith”, The Law of God: For Study at Home and School (English translation). Translated by Price, Susan (1st ed.). Jordanville, N.Y. : Holy Trinity Monastery, ISBN 978-0-88465-044-7, Archived from the original on 27 August 2018, Retrieved 12 June 2019,
- ^ John 14:17
- ^ John 15:26
- ^ John 16:13
- ^ Matthew 12:31
- ^ 1 John 5:6
- ^ Augustine, St. (1844). Sermons On Selected Lessons Of The New Testament, Vol.1. Translated by Macmullen, Richard. Rivington, London: John Henry Parker. pp.166–196.
- ^ Jump up to: a b Forget, Jacques (1910). “The Catholic Encyclopedia – Holy Ghost”, www.newadvent.org, Robert Appleton Company.
- ^ The Catholic Study Bible (2 ed.). New York, New York: Oxford University Press.1990. pp.1357, 1406. ISBN 978-0-19-529776-8,this sin is called an everlasting sin because it attributes to Satan, who is the power of evil, what is actually the work of the holy Spirit, namely, victory over the demons.
- ^ “Part I, Article X: The Forgiveness of Sins”, The Catechism of the Council of Trent, Baltimore: Lucas Brothers.1829.p.82, Retrieved November 20, 2020,no crime, however heinous, can be committed, which the Church has not power to forgive: as, also, there is no sinner, however abandoned, none, however depraved, who should not confidently hope for pardon, provided he sincerely repent of his past transgressions.
- ^ This is also the Lutheran doctrine. See “The Defense of the Augsburg Confession,” Article XI, Of Confession, paragraph 59, and Article XIII, Of the Number and Use of the Sacraments, paragraphs 4 & 5.
- ^ “What are sins that cry to heaven for vengeance and sins against the Holy Spirit? | Catholic Answers”, Catholic.com. Archived from the original on 2016-11-21, Retrieved 2016-11-21,
- ^ Summa Theologiae. II/II 14 II
- ^ Peter Lombard, Sent. ii. D43/2
- ^ S. th. II/II 14 III
- ^ The Catechism of the Catholic Church §1864
- ^ John Paul II, General Audience of July 28, 1999
- ^ Cf, Catechism of the Catholic Church, § 982; cf. Mt 18:21–22
- ^ Enchiridion lxxxiii, and De Verb. Dom., Serm. lxxi
- ^ “Catechism of the Catholic Church – IntraText”, Vatican.va, Retrieved 2016-11-21,
- ^ “James Akin”, Ewtn.com, Retrieved 2016-11-21,
- ^ “What about Matthew 12:31–32, which says that anyone who speaks against the Holy Spirit will never be forgiven? | Catholic Answers”, Catholic.com, Archived from the original on 2016-05-20, Retrieved 2016-11-21,
- ^ “Library : The Unforgiven Sin”, Catholic Culture.2011-05-13, Retrieved 2016-11-21,
- ^ “Dominum et vivificantem (18 May 1986) | John Paul II”, Vatican.va, Retrieved 2016-11-21,
- ^ Calvin’s Institutes of the Christian Religion Book III Chapter III Section 22 (Translated by Henry Beveridge.)
- ^ Hebrews 6:4–6
- ^ Jump up to: a b Rothwell, Mel-Thomas; Rothwell, Helen (1998). A Catechism on the Christian Religion: The Doctrines of Christianity with Special Emphasis on Wesleyan Concepts, Schmul Publishing Co.p.78.
- ^ Burton-Edwards, Taylor (2012). “Do United Methodists believe “once saved, always saved” or can we “lose our salvation”?”, The United Methodist Church, Archived from the original on 1 December 2012, Retrieved 14 June 2012, Wesley notes that the penalty of eternal separation from God with no hope of return applies in scripture only in two cases—either, as in Hebrews 6 and 10, to persons who willfully, publically and explicitly reject Jesus as Savior after having confessed him, or, as in the gospels, to those who blaspheme against the Holy Spirit by declaring that the works of Jesus were the works of the Evil one.
- ^ “The King Follett Sermon”, Ensign, May 1971.
- ^ Edward L. Kimball (ed.), Teachings of Spencer W. Kimball (Bookcraft, Salt Lake City, 1982) p.23; Spencer W. Kimball, The Miracle of Forgiveness (Bookcraft, Salt Lake City, 1969) p.123.
- ^ “What’s the Unforgivable Sin?”,
- ^ https://thecloudchurch.org/about
- ^ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XeIjxbqC12o
- ^ intertextual.bible/text/matthew-12.31-avot-drabbi-natan-24
- ^ Rabbi Menachem Meiri, Book of Repentance, Introduction
- ^ Mishneh Torah Hilchos Teshuvah Chapter 4
- ^ Encyclopedia of Islam, volume 9, 2nd edition, s.v. shirk
- ^ Learn Religions: Shirk
Is fornication a sin?
To engage in premarital or extramarital sex, before or outside of marriage, is to sin in God’s sight. That is precisely the point of Hebrews 13:4, a verse often referred to in this kind of discussion. ‘Marriage’ and the marriage bed go together and are to be kept pure.
Are there no 10 commandments in the Bible?
Religious traditions – Although both the Masoretic Text and the Dead Sea Scrolls have the passages of Exodus 20 and Deuteronomy 5 divided into ten specific commandments formatted with space between them corresponding to the Lutheran counting in the chart below, many Modern English Bible translations give the appearance of more than ten imperative statements in each passage.
|LXX||P||R||T||S||A||C||L||Commandment ( KJV )||Exodus 20:1–17||Deuteronomy 5:4–21|
|—||—||(1)||1||—||—||1||—||I am the Lord thy God||2||6|
|1||1||1||2||1||1||1||1||Thou shalt have no other gods before me||3||7|
|2||2||2||2||1||1||1||1||Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image||4–6||8–10|
|3||3||3||3||2||2||2||2||Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain||7||11|
|4||4||4||4||3||3||3||3||Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy||8–11|
|4||4||4||4||3||3||3||3||Observe the sabbath day, to keep it holy||12–15|
|5||5||5||5||4||4||4||4||Honour thy father and thy mother||12||16|
|6||8||6||6||5||5||5||5||Thou shalt not kill||13||17|
|7||6||7||7||6||6||6||6||Thou shalt not commit adultery||14||18|
|8||7||8||8||7||7||7||7||Thou shalt not steal||15||19|
|9||9||9||9||8||8||8||8||Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbour||16||20|
|10||10||10||10||9||10||10||9||Thou shalt not covet thy neighbour’s house||17a|
|10||10||10||10||9||10||10||9||Thou shalt not desire thy neighbour’s house||21b|
|10||10||10||10||9||9||9||10||Thou shalt not covet thy neighbour’s wife||17b||21a|
|10||10||10||10||9||10||10||10||or his slaves, or his animals, or anything of thy neighbour||17c||21c|
|—||—||—||—||10||—||—||—||You shall set up these stones, which I command you today, on Aargaareezem, (Tsedaka)||14c||18c|
Which of the 10 commandments you shall not covet?
This column discusses the Tenth Commandment : ‘You shall not covet your neighbor’s house. You shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, or his male or female servant, his ox or donkey, or anything that belongs to your neighbor’ (Exodus 20:17). There’s more to this one than what we normally see.
What does coveting thy neighbor mean?
“You Shall Not Covet Anything That Belongs to Your Neighbor” (Exodus 20:17; Deuteronomy 5:21) Bible Commentary / Produced by TOW Project The tenth commandment prohibits coveting “anything that belongs to your neighbor” (Deut.5:21). It is not wrong to notice the things that belong to our neighbors, nor even to desire to obtain such things for ourselves legitimately. Coveting happens when someone sees the prosperity, achievements, or talents of another, and then resents it, or wants to take it, or wants to punish the successful person.
- It is the harm to another person, “your neighbor”—not the desire to have something—that is prohibited.
- We can either take inspiration from the success of others or we can covet.
- The first attitude provokes hard work and prudence.
- The second attitude causes laziness, generates excuses for failure, and provokes acts of confiscation.
We will never succeed if we convince ourselves that life is a zero-sum game and that we are somehow harmed when other people do well. We will never do great things if, instead of working hard, we fantasize that other people’s achievements are our own.
Here again, the ultimate grounding of this commandment is the command to worship God alone. If God is the focus of our worship, desire for him displaces all unholy, covetous desire for anything else, including that which belongs to our neighbors. As the Apostle Paul put it, “I have learned to be content with whatever I have” (Phil.4:11).
Deuteronomy adds the words “or field” to Exodus’s list of your neighbor’s things you are not to covet. As in the other additions to the Ten Commandments’ in Deuteronomy, this one draws attention to the workplace. Fields are workplaces, and to covet a field is to covet the productive resources another person has.
- Envy and acquisitiveness are indeed especially dangerous at work where status, pay, and power are routine factors in our relationships with people we spend a lot of time with.
- We may have many good reasons to desire achievement, advancement, or reward at work.
- But envy isn’t one of them.
- Nor is working obsessively out of envy for the social standing it may enable.
In particular, we face temptation at work to falsely inflate our accomplishments at the expense of others. The antidote is simple, although hard to do at times. Make it a consistent practice to recognize the accomplishments of others and give them all the credit they deserve.
- If we can learn to rejoice in—or at least acknowledge—others’ successes, we cut off the lifeblood of envy and covetousness at work.
- Even better, if we can learn how to work so that our success goes hand in hand with others’ success, covetousness is replaced by collaboration and envy by unity.
- Leith Anderson, former pastor of Wooddale Church in Eden Prairie, Minnesota, says, “As the senior pastor, it’s as if I have an unlimited supply of coins in my pocket.
Whenever I give credit to a staff member for a good idea, praise a volunteer’s work, or thank someone, it’s like I’m slipping a coin from my pocket into theirs. That’s my job as the leader, to slip coins from my pocket to others’ pockets, to build up the appreciation other people have for them.” : “You Shall Not Covet Anything That Belongs to Your Neighbor” (Exodus 20:17; Deuteronomy 5:21)
Is there a difference between admiring and coveting?
Be yourselfeverybody else is already taken – Have you ever looked at someone else’s body — their size, their shape, the length of their legs* — and thought, “I have to make my body look like that”? I certainly did, back in my dieting and fitness magazine-obsessed days.
I had a binder of pictures of fitness models as my “body inspiration.” I know people who took up running so they could achieve a “runner’s body,” when people who have that body type — a stereotype, really, because if you run and you have a body then you have a runner’s body — had it before they started running.
It’s part of their genetic blueprint. One of my college boyfriends considered taking steroids so his lengthy gym workouts would yield thick, muscled “bodybuilder calves.” My husband has those calves, and he doesn’t lift weights. Or take steroids. I have clients who are working on improving their body image, who worry about what it means when they notice a woman who is thinner, younger, maybe fitter, maybe taller, and like how she looks — or sometimes, simply how she looks in her clothes,
Is this normal, or is this a problem?” It depends. Are you admiring or coveting? To be able to admire, rather than covet, you need to accept what you already have. That’s true for houses, for bank accounts, and for bodies. It also helps if your idea of beauty is broad, rather than limited. That allows you to admire the appearance of someone who doesn’t look like you, without feeling like there is something inferior about how you look.
Of course, appearance isn’t everything. We are not objects to be consumed visually. We are living, breathing, human beings with thoughts and hopes and dreams and skills and talents and the capacity to love and be loved. *Just wait
What is the difference between want and covet?
Synonyms – Choose the Right Synonym for covet desires to start a new life wish sometimes implies a general or transient longing especially for the unattainable. wishes for permanent world peace want specifically suggests a felt need or lack. crave stresses the force of physical appetite or emotional need. covet implies strong envious desire.
What can coveting lead to?
Coveting is an ungodly desire for something that belongs to another. It can lead to greed, stealing, jealousy, envy—even murder.
What happens when you covet?
Why Is Coveting Dangerous? – Coveting is dangerous for many reasons. It can cause you to become consumed with envy, which leads to bitterness, hatred, and anger. If you covet something that someone else has, you will never be satisfied with what you have because there will always be something else that you think is better.
- You may also be tempted to bear false witness, which could lead to stealing or other illegal actions.
- Some people even go so far as to take drastic measures such as murder or committing suicide when they are unable to have what they want.
- Coveting can cause problems in your relationships if you constantly compare yourself with others.
This can lead to resentment toward those who appear to have more than you do and can cause arguments between spouses and friends over money and possessions. The Bible says that “the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous, and his ears are open to their cry” (Psalm 34:15).
The Lord knows what you need before you ask. He knows your desires before you have a craving for something. He knows your needs before they become an issue. He knows one’s heart. The same is true for other people. When you covet someone else’s possessions or accomplishments, you are placing yourself in a position where it becomes easy for Satan to give you what he thinks you want—but only at a cost far more significant than anything God will allow him to take from you in return.
This is why the rich fall when God’s presence isn’t with them.
What is the difference between greed and covet?
Greed is a limitless desire for more (e.g., food, money, books) even if you already have some of it, without particular regard to where it comes from. Covetousness is a specific desire for what someone else has that you don’t, because they have it and you don’t.
Is coveting an emotion?
For English-speakers, there is little if any doubt about what it means ‘to covet.’ Based on considerations of etymology and widely accepted usage, I define it in this way: ‘to desire (someone or something) obsessively, wrongfully, and/or without due regard for the rights/feelings of others.’ It is an emotion, a strong
What does it mean to covet someone?
transitive verb 2 : to desire (what belongs to another) inordinately or culpably The king’s brother coveted the throne.
What happens if you covet?
Guest Blogger: Jason Helopoulos Many individuals are like the Rich Young Man when Jesus said to him, “You shall not murder, You shall not commit adultery, You shall not steal, You shall not bear false witness, Honor your father and mother, and You shall love your neighbor as yourself” (Matthew 19:18-19), readily reply, “All these I have kept” (Matthew 19:20).
A person may rationalize they have never murdered, committed adultery, or stolen, however untrue their claim may be, but no person in their right mind would say they have never coveted. The final commandment of the Ten Commandments, “You shall not covet,” stands out from the rest. In those few words, the very heart of the Law is laid open to us.
God’s Law does not concern itself with our actions alone. “You shall not covet” unreservedly proclaims that our thoughts, feelings, inclinations–matters of the heart–matter a great deal to the Lord. The sin it strikes at is an all-too familiar companion.
It surfaces when we hear of a co-worker’s promotion, see a new car in the driveway next door, or reflect upon the seemingly perfect family at church. This enemy raises its evil head in a moment. We do not need to go looking for it or be schooled in it. Rather, it comes quite naturally. And though this sin is a familiar acquaintance, it is no friend.
It is an opportunistic and deadly foe, which grips the heart, turns the affections, occupies the mind, and unravels a life. Where there was peace it brings hostility, where there was love it stirs up division, and where there was contentment it breeds complaint.
Why is coveting so deadly? Because it can never be satiated. Coveting relentlessly craves more of this world; and a person’s thoughts, affections, and heart occupied with the world will cease seeking heaven. It forsakes love for God and disposes one to hate their neighbor. Coveting pulls the heart down into the pit of self-seeking and the muck and mire of envy, slander, adultery, pride, dishonor, murder, thievery, and idolatry.
It has rightly been said that when we break any of the first nine commandments, we also break the tenth commandment. How do we combat such a sin of the heart? Let me offer three simple biblical encouragements: look to Christ, live in contentment, and rejoice in thankfulness.
Look to Christ and the things above. “But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you,” said the Lord (Matthew 6:33). The more we value Christ, the less we ascribe inordinate worth to earthly things. The more we desire Christ, the less we long for the things of this world.
Honor, wealth, material possessions, reputation, worldly success, and even health possess little glimmer when compared to the radiance of the glory of God in the person of Christ (Hebrews 1:3). As we seek Him, we find earthly treasures hold fleeting pleasures, but joy in Him is everlasting (Psalm 103:17).
- They possess hollow promises, but His promises are secure.
- They offer comfort, but He insures it (Matthew 11:28-30).
- Seeking after Christ is an enterprise unlike any other, it never disappoints.
- His beauty, loveliness, comfort, peace, and joy surpass all this world has to offer.
- If we desire covetousness to have no hold on our lives, we also must seek to live in contentment.
Contentment is not something we chase after, but rest in. The Apostle Paul said, “I have learned in whatever situation to be content” (Philippians 4:11b). He said to Timothy, “Now there is great gain in godliness with contentment” (1 Timothy 6:6). The Apostle Paul believed in a sovereign God and trusted in this God, who reigns over heaven and earth.
He knew God’s providence provided what he needed. Whatever he possessed, it was sufficient, so he could rest content. If God thought it was good for us to have more, he would have given us more. Every Christian rightly seeks to maintain this mindset. And when this is the case, what joy contentment brings to the Christian life.
Contentment is one of those rare jewels, once found and treasured it fills the soul with delight. Maybe the greatest force we can muster against coveting is rejoicing in thankfulness. Thankfulness steers the Christian life away from the dangerous shoals of discontentment.
It is difficult to be content in all circumstances if thankfulness does not dwell in our hearts. The Apostle Paul exhorts us even when struggling with anxiousness or concern that we should “by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God” (Philippians 4:6). We want to thank God for what we have received and what He has given.
Every good gift and every perfect gift comes from above” (James 1:17). Therefore, we not only rejoice in what we personally receive, but also in the good gifts the Lord has granted others. We and others enjoy these gifts by no mere coincidence. In this we can rejoice in thankfulness.
- Dear Christian, look to Christ, live in contentment, and rejoice in thanksgiving and send coveting scurrying from your heart and life.
- It is a deadly foe not to be trifled with.
- Rather, let us live in love for God and one another–storing our treasures in heaven above.
- This article first appeared in the June 2015 issue of Tabletalk magazine.
Kevin DeYoung (PhD, University of Leicester) is senior pastor of Christ Covenant Church (PCA) in Matthews, North Carolina, and associate professor of systematic theology at Reformed Theological Seminary (Charlotte). He is the author of more than 20 books and a popular columnist, blogger, and podcaster.
What is covetous behavior?
1 : marked by inordinate desire for wealth or possessions or for another’s possessions He looked at his boss’s new car with covetous eyes.2 : having a craving for possession
How do you fight coveting?
The Cure for Covetousness
- The Lord’s Day Morning
- September 5, 2010
- Luke 12:22-34
- “The Cure for Covetousness”
Dr.J. Ligon Duncan III As we continue to prepare for worship, I want you to take your bulletins in hand if you would. Notice in the middle of the order of service this morning, you will be singing with the choir during the offertory. At that time you’ll sing John Rutter’s arrangement of the wonderful hymn, “Christ Is Made the Sure Foundation.” And how many times do you get to sing parts of the ancient Trinitarian creeds of the church in your morning worship? You’ll be singing the words consubstantial and co-eternal, and all of the theologians in the room are so excited about that that we would love to talk with anybody who has questions about those terms.
But you’re just singing parts of the Nicene and Constantinopolitan Creeds from the third and fourth centuries of the early church as they articulated the Bible’s teaching about the Trinity and about the Lord Jesus Christ, so note that. At the end of the service today we’re going to be singing hymn number 670, “If Thou But Suffer God to Guide Thee.” It is virtually an application of the sermon passage that we’re going to be studying today.
Last Lord’s Day we looked in particular at the passage about the parable of the rich fool, a passage that has to say a lot about covetousness, and we diagnosed the problem of covetousness last Lord’s Day. This morning it’s our joy to see Jesus’ cure for covetousness from Luke 12:22-34, and hymn 670, “If Thou But Suffer God to Guide Thee,” is virtually an application of the sermon.
I’d draw your attention to a few things. In stanza 2, the whole of the stanza addresses the context of our battle against covetousness. In stanza 3, the words that we should not doubt that our inmost wants are known to God, that’s one of the cures that Jesus gives for the battle against covetousness, and then stanza 5 as well.
So be on the lookout for applications even as we sing that hymn at the end of the service. Now as we prepare to worship, since we’re going to be thinking about the kingdom of God in the passage that we read from today, let me share these words with you from J.C.
Ryle. “When can we be said to seek the kingdom of God? We do so when we make it the chief business of our lives to secure a place among the number of the saved, to have our sins pardoned, our hearts renewed, and ourselves made fit for the inheritance of the saints in light. We do so when we give a primary place in our minds to the interests of God’s kingdom, when we labor to increase the number of God’s subjects, and when we strive to maintain God’s cause and to advance God’s glory in this world.” Let’s prepare to worship the living God together.
Our Lord and our God, we come before You this day, our hearts dancing for joy because of the love and grace shown to us in Your Gospel. While we were yet sinners, at the right time, in Your love and mercy, You sent Your Son, Your only Son, to die in our place, to be raised again from the dead, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him, and our hearts are glad.
And we ask that by Your Spirit You would make us even gladder in Christ as we contemplate His glory, as we sit under the means of enrichment and edification and growth that You have provided in Your Word. We ask, O Lord, that You would inhabit the praises of Your people, that the words of our mouths and the meditations of our heart would be acceptable in Your sight, that You would speak to us by Your Word as it is read and explained, applied and proclaimed, that You would receive the worship of our songs, and that You would teach us to love You and to trust You even as we sing.
We ask, O Lord, that in all these things You would be glorified, in Jesus’ name. Amen. Not unto us, O Lord, not unto us, but to Your name give glory, because of Your steadfast love and faithfulness. O Israel, trust in the Lord! He is your help and shield.
- (Hymn) “Christ Is Made the Sure Foundation” by John Rutter
- “Christ is made the sure Foundation, Christ the head and Cornerstone,
- Chosen of the Lord, and precious, binding all the Church in one.
- Holy Sion’s help forever, and her confidence alone.
- All that dedicated city, dearly loved of God on high,
- In exultant jubilation pours perpetual melody,
- God the One in Three adoring in glad hymns eternally.
- To this temple, where we call Thee, come, O Lord of hosts, today.
- With Thy wonted loving-kindness hear Thy servants as they pray.
- And Thy fullest benediction shed within its walls always.
- Here vouchsafe to all Thy servants what they ask of Thee to gain,
- What they gain from Thee forever with the blessed to retain.
- And hereafter in Thy glory evermore with Thee to reign.
- Praise and honour to the Father, Praise and honour to the Son.
- Praise and honour to the Spirit, ever Three, and ever One.
Consubstantial, co-eternal, while unending ages run. Amen.” If you have your Bibles I’d invite you to turn with me to Luke chapter 12 as we continue our way through the gospel together. Last Lord’s Day, as we were looking at this passage, we said that we saw, in the previous passage, we said we saw a diagnosis of covetousness.
- And a number of you have commented at the door, last Lord’s Day and since, how the Lord had convicted you as we read that passage and studied it together.
- Well, the passage that we’re going to study today has to do with the cure of covetousness.
- Jesus, having diagnosed the illness and help up the royal mirror of His Word that we might look into it and see our own sin, is now giving us direction on how we may, by the Gospel, and by the Spirit, and by faith, fight against that sin of covetousness.
So let’s pray before we read God’s Word here in Luke 12, verses 22 to 34. Let’s pray. Heavenly Father, we thank You for Your Word. We know that we struggle with an inordinate love of this world and the things that it offers. We know that we often want what we do not have, that we are insufficiently grateful for what we have been given, that we compare ourselves to others and wish that we had the things they have, the money they have, the spouse they have, the children they have, the house they have, the status they have, the life they have.
- And we know that when we do this it betrays a certain ingratitude and resentment that dwells in our hearts.
- We know this is pervasive but we also know it’s hidden because very often this is going on in our private world while we sit next to someone and we’ve got our bright smile on and we’ve got our best clothes on and we look happy and we look holy; all the while we’re miserable inside, at least in part of our insides.
And so we pray that as we come to this passage today that You would give us the only cure there is and that You would open our eyes to behold wonderful things from Your Word. This we ask in Jesus’ name. Amen. So, as we look at this passage together, look for four parts of the passage.
In verses 22 to 30 of Luke chapter 12 you’ll see Jesus give a series of arguments. He’s arming you with arguments against your worry and anxiety that’s caused by covetousness. Then if you look at verses 32 and 33 there’s a second part to the passage. Here, Jesus makes a profound counterstrike against coveting.
He gives a direction that you would never ever expect as a key to defeating coveting in your heart. Then, especially in the second half of verse 31 you will also see a promise that He makes, a promise that is absolutely essential to defeating the powers of covetousness in our hearts.
- And then in verses 33 and 34 He gives a call.
- He calls us to a particular way of living this life that’s ironically absolutely essential if we’re going to defeat covetousness in our hearts.
- Let’s hear God’s Word beginning in Luke 12:22: “And He said to His disciples, ‘Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat, nor about your body, what you will put on.
For life is more than food, and the body more than clothing. Consider the ravens: they neither sow nor reap, they have neither storehouse nor barn, and yet God feeds them. Of how much more value are you than the birds! And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life? If then you are not able to do as small a thing as that, why are you anxious about the rest? Consider the lilies, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.
- But if God so clothes the grass, which is alive in the field today, and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, how much more will He clothe you, O you of little faith! And do not seek what you are to eat and what you are to drink, nor be worried.
- For all the nations of the world seek after these things, and your Father knows that you need them.
Instead, seek His kingdom, and these things will be added to you. Fear not, little flock, for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom. Sell your possessions, and give to the needy. Provide yourselves with moneybags that do not grow old, with a treasure in the heavens that does not fail, where no thief approaches and no moth destroys.
For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.'” Amen, and thus ends this reading of God’s holy, inspired, and inerrant Word. May He write its eternal truth upon all our hearts. Covetousness, as we said last Lord’s Day, is a pervasive sin. We all struggle with it in one shape or form, from one time to another, sometimes with great intensity, sometimes almost imperceptibly, but we do struggle with it.
After last Sunday’s sermon, one of our elders said to me, “You know you told us that you didn’t want to create in us a vague sense of guilt. I now understand, after hearing your sermon, that you didn’t want to create a vague sense of guilt; you wanted to create a very specific, definite, and precise sense of guilt!” And, of course, there’s a sense in which that is true, because we need to know precisely where we struggle in this area if we’re going to successfully struggle against it.
But the reason I said that my goal was not to create a vague sense of guilt is because I want to be helpful ultimately. I don’t want us to just go away and feel badly about this for a little while and then just fall back into our old ways of coveting. I want to see us, under God, by the help of the Holy Spirit, by the grace of the Gospel, make some progress in this area in the Christian life.
And it’s important for us to remember, even as we focused mostly on material coveting because that’s what Jesus mostly focused on in the passage last week, it’s important for us to realize that covetousness involves far more than money. Covetousness is about more than having an inordinate desire for material possessions that you do not have or longing to have what your neighbor has materially — his money or his house.
Covetousness can involve wanting your neighbor’s husband or his wife. Covetousness can involve wanting your neighbor’s status or his position or his prestige or his power. Covetousness can involve longing to have anything that you do not have or overly desiring anything in this world, good or bad. It is a very pervasive sin.
And covetousness is a Gospel issue. Covetousness often forces upon us the question, “Do we love God more than we love stuff? Do we treasure the gifts of the Gospel more than we treasure the things that our hearts are preoccupied with in this world?” And it is a heart issue as well as a pervasive issue.
The apostle Paul said it was the tenth commandment that forbids coveting that taught him that the law was spiritual. You know, when you lie, at least some people can know that. When you steal, people can know that and see that. When you murder, people can know that and see that. But when you covet, it is possible for you to be sitting right where you’re sitting in the pew, next to your wife or to your husband or to your children or to your best friends or to congregation members that you’ve known for years or months, and for them to not have the slightest idea that you’re struggling with coveting because coveting is something that is possible to do with no one in the world being aware, other than yourself, that you’re doing it.
And that, Paul said, taught him that all sin has its root in the heart. It may be expressed outwardly, but all sin has its root in the desires of the heart. And so this is a heart issue. And Jesus, in the passage today, gives us ways to fight against this heart issue.
- Let me say, at the very outset, the ways that God has given us to fight against this sin, and in fact against every sin, are three: We must believe, we must meditate, and we must pray.
- The way that you fight the sin of covetousness is you believe.
- God wants you to believe certain truths about Himself and about His providence and about yourself that are absolutely necessary for you to believe in order to fight against covetousness.
You must have faith to fight against covetousness — faith in God, faith to believe what He says in His Word, faith to trust Him. If you look at your circumstances and especially circumstances in which you are struggling with some lack, some want, some unfulfilled desire, and you deduct from your circumstances your opinions about God and this world, you will never win the battle against covetousness.
But in the midst of your circumstances in which you are facing a lack or a want or an unfulfilled desire, God says, “Don’t look at the circumstances. Look at Me. Look at My promise. Look at My Word.” And that means believing what He has said in His Word. And then we have to meditate and reflect on what we say we believe in His Word because it doesn’t just happen over night.
When we are in a circumstance of life in which we are feeling some great lack and some desire, an inordinate desire has taken hold of our hearts and we can’t get something out of our minds that we don’t have but that we want, it requires placing that desire and our circumstances and what God has said in His Word side-by-side and meditating over and over and over on God’s Word until what He has said is bigger than our circumstances and bigger than our unfulfilled desire before we will be able to believe in what He has said.
- And that requires meditation.
- That’s why men get up at six-thirty in the morning and study God’s Word together.
- That’s why we read the Bible and memorize the Bible and study the Bible.
- That’s why we come Lord’s Day morning and evening and we sit under the Word as a means of grace because God must work His Word deep into our hearts until we believe it or we will not be able to fight against the sins of this life and especially against coveting.
And it requires that we pray, that we take our coveting before the Lord and we confess our coveting to Him. “Lord, You already know what I covet, but I’m going to name it. I’m going to name the coveting. I’m going to name how intense it is for me. I’m going to name how specific it is and I’m going to confess that sin to you.
- And then I’m going to ask You, by Your Holy Spirit, to break that coveting in me.
- Break me of it and show me a better desire, a deeper desire, a greater desire.
- Help me to believe Your Word.” And so battling this sin will require believing, and meditating and reflecting on God’s Word, and praying.I.
- Jesus’ arguments against our anxiety and worry that comes from coveting But Jesus gives us specifics as we do those things in this passage and I’d like to look at them with you.
First of all, in verses 22 to 30, you’ll see Jesus’ arguments against our anxiety and worry that comes from coveting. And here’s what Jesus says. He says to you and me, “Fight covetousness with truth and faith.” That’s what Jesus says in this passage. And notice specifically four arguments that He gives in verses 22 to 30.
The first argument you see in verse 24 – “Consider the ravens.” Jesus’ point here is that we ought to look at these birds, birds that don’t have jobs, birds that don’t earn a paycheck, birds that don’t have titles and work at businesses, and God provides the food that they need to eat. And Jesus’ argument is this — if God provides for the birds, He’ll provide for you.
Now that argument depends on at least two things. If you look at the passage, it depends on your coming to really believe God’s providence. Do you really believe that God provides for you? That’s why He points you to the birds in the first place. And then it depends on you understanding that you are made in the image of God and you are in fact more important to God than birds.
So Jesus essentially puts two doctrines in front of you and He says, “If you will understand providence — that God provides for you — and if you will understand that you are far more important to God than birds, and then you will realize that God provides for the birds, your deduction will be — God will provide for me.” But my friends, that is easy to say, and when facing the lacks of life, it will require you to meditate on it until you believe it and to pray it until you believe it.
Then He gives a second argument. Look at verses 25 and 26. He says, “Which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his life span?” In other words, Jesus’ second argument is that worry is ineffectual. It doesn’t work. Don’t worry because you’re locked in on this thing that you don’t have because it won’t help.
When we are in circumstances that point us to our human limitations and finite, that we are not what we want to be and we do not have what we want to be, we cannot, by our own strength and effort, rectify that situation. And so, what do we do? Our tendency is to worry about it. We don’t have the strength to change the situation so we’ll just worry about it.
And Jesus says, “Hey gang, that doesn’t work! It doesn’t do anything. It doesn’t make you feel better, it doesn’t make the people around you feel better, and it doesn’t change your situation.” Instead, when you are in a situation in which your human lack and weakness and finitude is made aware to you, the answer is not to worry, the answer is to what? Rest in God’s sovereignty,
- Every experience in life that points to your finitude points to His infinitude.
- Every situation in your life that points to your own limitations points to His lack of limitations.
- Every situation in your life that points to your weakness points to His power.
- So your limitation shouldn’t lead to worry.
- It should lead to meditation on His sovereignty because you can’t add an hour to your life or a hair to your head but God can supply all your needs.
Third, He makes this argument in verses 27 and 28 — “Consider the lilies. They don’t toil or spin, yet they’re arrayed in more glory than Solomon.” In other words, Jesus argues if God would clothe grass, and gloriously so, He will clothe you. If God will decorate this world with beautiful grass and flowers and trees — in other words, God didn’t just make this world functional.
- He made it gorgeous.
- It’s beautiful, even though it’s temporary, even though flowers that look beautiful today can be shriveled in tomorrow’s sun, even though grass that can be rich and green today can be dried up the very next day, He makes it beautiful.
- The point is this — if God will make lavish provision and clothe His earth in beauty even though it’s transient, even though it’s temporary, even though it doesn’t last, don’t you think He’s concerned about clothing you? Again, this argument depends upon your understanding how lavish God is, that He is incredibly generous.
You see, the person who is struggling with coveting, here’s the sad and secret news — the person who is struggling with coveting, and that’s me and you, we believe that God is stingy. We think that God is stingy. We think that He is parsimonious, He just sort of parcels out little tiny chunks of blessing, just enough to get you wanting more, when in fact He incredibly opulent and lavish and prodigal and generous in His giving, to the point that He cares about the aesthetics of the world that He made so much that He made trees and flowers and grass beautiful.
He clothed this world beautifully. And Jesus is saying, “Do you believe that God would make lavish provision for grass and He wouldn’t make that provision for you?” And fourth He makes the argument, look in verses 29 and 30 — “Don’t seek what you are to eat or drink, don’t be worried. For the nations, the Gentiles, pagan unbelievers seek after these things” and then listen to these words “and your Father knows that you need them.” Now Jesus in that passage points you to three Biblical truths – the truth of the Fatherhood of God.
Don’t you understand that God is your Father? And Jesus asks you to pause for a second. Do you know of a good father who doesn’t care whether his children eat? Do you know of a good father who doesn’t care whether his children are clothed? Do you know of a good father who doesn’t care whether his children have a place to lay their heads at night? He says, “I want you to pause on the fact that God is your Father and He’s good.
- I want you to meditate on the goodness of your Father, and furthermore, I want you to meditate on the fact that your Father already knows that you need.” Listen to His last words — “Your Father knows that you need these things.” He knows everything.
- He knows you.
- He knows the desires of your heart, so He wants you to meditate on His Fatherhood, the Fatherhood of God, on the goodness of God, and on the omniscience of God.
In other words, Jesus piles up arguments and reasons and very frankly He piles up doctrines and He says, “You have got to believe these things. You’ve got to have faith in Me. I’m telling you these things are true. You’ve got to believe them and mediate on them and pray them back to Me.” In other words, He’s telling you to fight your covetousness with the truth of God and faith in that truth, faith in what God has promised, faith in what God has said.
- That’s why we spend so much time working together to make sure that we understand what God teaches in His Word about Himself, about His providence, about His works, about His will, about His ways, because it’s all designed to help us in the fight against sin. II.
- We settle for too little when we covet.
And then if you look at verses 31 and 32, Jesus gives this counter strike against coveting. It really is extraordinary. Look at what He says — “Instead, instead of worrying, instead of seeking what you are to eat and drink, being all caught up in getting the things that you need, instead, seek His kingdom for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom.” You see what Jesus is saying there? He’s saying, when you are coveting what you don’t have, here’s your problem — your problem is you don’t want enough.
- Listen to me loud and clear.
- Jesus’ counterstrike against our coveting those things that we don’t have is – you don’t want enough.
- What you’ve set your heart on is too little because even if you got what your heart is set on, when it’s not set on God, when it’s not set on the kingdom, even if you got it, it wouldn’t satisfy you, it wouldn’t rid you of worry, it wouldn’t give you joy because if your heart is set on anything less than God and His kingdom through Jesus Christ, it will not fulfill your desires.
That’s why C.S. Lewis said, “Our problem is not that we want too much, it’s that we’re satisfied with too little.” Our eyes are set too low. Our desires are set below that which God has prepared for us. And Jesus says, “Seek the kingdom” because what does the Father want to give to you? He wants to give you the kingdom.
You want a Lexus and He wants to give you the kingdom. You want a bigger house and He wants to give you the kingdom. You want a smarter husband or a better looking wife and He wants to give you the kingdom. You want to be important and He wants to give you the kingdom. He wants to give you far more than you have your heart set on.
So Jesus is saying, “Make sure you want what God made you for, not something less. You’re not asking for enough. You’re not wanting enough. You don’t want something that is really going to satisfy you until you seek the kingdom.” III. How to fight covetousness.
- And then He adds to this word, look at the end of verse 31, He adds a promise.
- This is the third thing I want you to see.
- How do you fight covetousness? You fight it by believing the truths that Jesus teaches in verses 22 to 30, you fight it by making sure that your desires are set on the kingdom and nothing less, and third, you do it by believing the promise.
And what’s the promise? “All these things will be added to you. Seek first the kingdom and all these things will be added to you.” What is Jesus saying here? He’s making a promise to kingdom-seekers. He’s saying He will supply all your needs. He’s saying God will supply your needs.
What does Paul say in Philippians 4:19? “My God will supply every need of yours according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus.” What does Paul say in Romans 8:32? “He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how will He not with Him freely give us all things?” It’s a promise.
And Jesus says to you, “Believe the promise.” And then, this is really extraordinary. Look at verses 33 and 34. Jesus gives a call to disciples who want to reject the life of coveting. He says, if you want to reject the life of coveting, always wanting to hang on to what you have and get enough more that you’ll really be happy, look at what He says — “Sell your possessions and give to the needy.
Provide yourselves with moneybags that do not grow old, with a treasure in the heavens that does not fail, for where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.” Jesus says, here’s the last thing you need to do to defeat coveting, you need to be generous. Be generous with what you already have. If you are overly preoccupied with what you don’t have, Jesus says, here’s how you defeat that — you believe what God has said in the Word, you make sure that what you really want is the kingdom, you believe God’s promise, and then if you’re struggling with trying to find joy in what you don’t have, you start giving away what you already have.
And what does that do? It does two things. First of all it reminds you that God has provided for you generously because He’s given you enough to be able to give some away. And secondly it reminds you that that stuff you’re giving away isn’t where you get your joy.
It is not the source from which your happiness comes. And you’re just blessed to be able to help someone who’s less fortunate than you. So He calls us to be generous with what we already have. This is why generosity is not an option in the Christian life. You will not be able to defeat covetousness if you are not generous because if you are not generous there is every likelihood that you are still coveting stuff.
Now my friends, all of these things, all of these things are absolutely in vain if the Spirit is not working the Gospel deep into our hearts because coveting is a Gospel issue. Coveting comes down to the issue of what you desire more. And this is exactly the struggle that Eve faced with Satan in the Garden.
What do I want more – God or this piece of fruit? And she chose the piece of fruit, and so did Adam. That’s what’s happening every time we covet. So what can avail for us in that battle? Only the Gospel, only the Gospel can what — what did we just sing in the opening hymn? Only the Gospel can “break the power of reigning sin in us and set the prisoner free” from worshipping that apple to worshipping the living God, seeking His kingdom.
And how do you seek the kingdom? You care more about God than anything in this world. You care more about your soul and the souls of countless others than you care about the treasures and spoils of this life. You long to see the Gospel advanced in your heart and in the hearts of others, with people being converted and built up.
You long to see God’s kingdom advance. You long to see God’s glory in this world displayed. You care more about those things than anything else and only the Gospel can do that in a person. Let’s pray. Our Heavenly Father, we know how prone we are to this sin. Some of us are utterly engulfed in what seems like an interminable conflagration in our soul, battling against and seemingly being defeated by unfulfilled desires that just will not go away.
O wretched people that we are. Who can deliver us from this bondage to the flesh? Thanks be to God who gives us the victory through Jesus Christ our Lord! Give us the victory, O Lord. We pray in Jesus’ name. Amen. Now receive the blessings of God’s kingdom.