Killing Covetousness

February 10, 2013

Wanting what someone else has is none other than envy, covetousness, and jealousy, and it should be foreign to every child of God.  The last of the Ten Commandments forbids it, stating that we should not set our desire on anything which another person owns.  This includes possessions, positions, people, and looks.  For example, someone may covet someone else’s car, home, boat, furniture, horse, computer, clothes, etc., or they may covet someone’s prestigious, easy, exciting, or high-paying job, or they may covet someone’s spouse or children or friends or church group.  Or, someone may covet someone else’s looks –their face (even more specifically, their eyes, nose, teeth, etc.), their shape, their weight, their hair, etc.  But whatever the specifics, we need to realize that covetousness is sin.  And we need to be on careful guard against it, for it is a sin that is not only winked at in our society, but promoted.

There are many ways that covetousness is promoted –through advertising mainly, but also through people’s conversations.  For how often do we hear people, even “at church”, discussing what they want, what they’ve got, and what they’re going to do in order to get more?  And how often is a statement of envy excused and even laughed about?

No, God’s people must be free of all sin, including the sin of envy.  If it is not renounced, the heart harboring it will have other sins grow up from it –such sins as resentment and hatred, as well as discontentment, ungratefulness, depression, and insecurity.  And who wants those?

If there has been a stronghold of jealousy in a person’s life, there are ways to eliminate it and keep it from returning.  The main way is, of course, to be filled with the Holy Spirit.  The way that is done is to have repented of all known sin by turning our back on sin, by seeking God as we soak ourselves in His Word, and by putting to practice everything the Spirit teaches us from the Word.  Praise, prayer, taking every thought captive to obey Christ (2 Cor. 10:5), and going out in ministering to others is how we “keep in step with the Spirit” (Gal. 5:25) which is what keeps us from resurrecting the sinful nature.  (v. 16,24)

Another way to put envy to death every time a dart is shot toward us, is to think on things lovely.  This gives us pure, joyful, and grateful thoughts, and this, in turn, helps us to be happy for that other person who has what we think is a wonderful thing to have.  In other words, if she has a beautiful home, we should exalt and thank God for His goodness to her and pray that He brings her more good things as He teaches her to be grateful for them, and this, so that she can learn to better further the Kingdom of God and thereby be more joyful and contented herself.

We should always counteract any jealous darts coming toward our heart by thinking the way the Lord would –which we can certainly do by His Spirit in us.  Then we will rejoice with a genuine heart of love and thanksgiving, truly grateful to God that He has given good things to this other person who, likely, being that most people are, has some heavy hurts and is in need of some good things to help her endure.  Besides being given the chance to then pray for the person, by viewing her through the lens of the Spirit and being glad for her, a tremendous amount of love and joy will well up in us –more than could ever come by having that thing for ourselves. Moreover, we will be exalting God for His kindness in bestowing such unique and bountiful gifts, for His wisdom in creating such varieties of beauty and skills, and be rejoicing exceedingly, by His Spirit of joy and love in us, for how He has chosen to give them out.

This is God’s way, Christ’s way, the Spirit’s way.  It is the path of joy, love, self-control, gratefulness, and contentment.  And it is the cure for viewing others –and all things– the way the Lord would have us view them.

with love,

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