Last week, I wrote about the sin of coveting. About having what is described as “an immodest desire for something that doesn’t belong to you.”
As I said, coveting may not seem like a big deal to us, but that’s because we’re not thinking biblically about it. Here are some of the reasons why God commands us not to covet.
1. Coveting causes us to assign too much value to temporary things.
Remember the parable in Luke 12 about the man who built the bigger barns? Jesus tells that story to teach us to “be on your guard against all covetousness, for one’s life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions” (Luke 12:15).
I’m the kind of person who has a hard time getting rid of things that we don’t need or don’t use anymore because… well, because “I paid good money for those things back in the day!” (things like VHS tapes or old computer floppy discs – I know, I know, don’t judge me!).
Most of the things we buy today will lose their value over time. Most of the things we buy will one day get listed for sale on ebay, be taken to the Goodwill or end up in the dump.
Only two things are eternal. The word of God and people. That’s what we should be investing in. That’s where our focus should be. “One’s life does not consist in the abundance of possessions” but in God, His word and people.
If you look for life and joy and meaning in possessions here and now, you’ll find, ask King Solomon did, that it’s all vanity.
2. Coveting causes us to mis-prioritize our lives.
If I asked you to list your top priorities in life, most of you would be able to give the Sunday school answer – God, your spouse or your family, and then whatever else you want to put next.
But just how “first” is God? Do we seek Him first? His kingdom and His righteousness? Or do we seek Him second? Or third? Or only if things in life get out of control?
If God is first in our lives, then His priorities for us should be our priorities, right?
So what is God’s top priority for us? It’s what Jesus told His followers to do in Matthew 28 – to “go and make disciples.”
We often refer to that as “the Great Commission.” But in reality, it’s not very high up on most Christian’s priority list. Most of us treat it more like an “oh, by the way, in your spare time, when you are done with the really important stuff, if you have a few minutes, could you maybe do something that would point people you know to Jesus?
To often, coveting – the immodest desire for money and stuff – is what lures my heart away from the mission to which God has called me. I’m seduced by the idea that I will find more joy, more happiness and more fulfillment in life if I can only earn more or acquire more. When Jesus tells me to seek the Kingdom first. Not to be distracted by the shiny things.
3. Coveting is the antithesis of loving God and loving others.
David Platt says that we are much more committed as Christians in America to the pursuit of the American Dream than we are to the advancement of the Kingdom of God. And I’m afraid he’s right. It’s a constant fight for me.
Here’s where the Bible tells us to focus – on loving God and loving others more than we love money and stuff. “Owe no one anything, except to love each other, for the one who loves another has fulfilled the law. For the commandments, “You shall not commit adultery, You shall not murder, You shall not steal, You shall not covet,” and any other commandment, are summed up in this word: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” Love does no wrong to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfilling of the law.” (Romans 12:8-10)
4. Coveting is a statement of unbelief. We really don’t believe God when He tells us that money and stuff won’t satisfy our soul.
God tells us in 1 John 2:15 to “love not the world or the things of this world”.
He tells us Col. 3 to “set our minds on things above and not on things on earth.”
We may nod our heads and say “that’s good advice,” but do we follow it? Do we really believe our lives will be better if we set our mind and our heart on things above and if we don’t love the things of earth?
The Puritan pastor William Gouch said “It is the blindness of a man’s mind that makes him place a kind of happiness in the things of this world.”
Real happiness, Gouch says, is not something this world can offer. We need to remember that money and stuff cannot provide solid comfort, especially in times of spiritual distress. The riches of this world are uncertain and can be suddenly taken away.
Stuff of earth, Rich Mullins says, competes for the allegiance we own only to the Giver of all good things.
5, Coveting, John Piper says, chokes off spiritual life, spawns other sins, and in the end, destroys your soul.
“If you dropped dead right now,” Piper says, “would you take with you a payload of pleasure in God or would you stand before Him with a spiritual cavity where covetousness used to be?”
“The fight of faith is the fight to keep your heart contented in Christ— to really believe, and keep on believing, that he will meet every need and satisfy every longing… Whenever we sense the slightest rise of covetousness in our hearts we must turn on it and fight it with all our might.”
As we continue to look at what the Bible says about the spiritual battle that is being waged all around us, let’s remember that one of the strategies of the enemy is to tempt us to find our joy and peace and meaning and purpose for life anywhere but in the one place where we will find it – in Christ. Let’s redouble our efforts to guard our hearts from the deceitful temptation to look for life in the stuff of earth.
Ladies, what are you doing to intentionally connect with other women at Redeemer for spiritual encouragement and refreshment? Remember, you are invited to join with other women each Tuesday night for the on line virtual prayer time.
|There is more information about the prayer time available here.
And the women’s Bible study starts next week. It’s a five week study of the book of Colossians.
|All the details are in a flyer you can open or download by clicking here.
FIRST FRIDAY GAME NIGHT
Our Junior High and High School students will be getting together this Friday night for the first game night of the new year. The games begin at 7:00 and will be over by 9:00. It’s all happening at the Gurney’s house (you can email Matt with any questions or if you need directions – email@example.com. Matt said to be sure to tell the teens that there will be pre-packaged snacks available for those who want them.
Dressing for spiritual success involves putting on the spiritual armor that is available to all who are in Christ. This Sunday, we’ll look at how we’re instructed to cover our vital organs with the breastplate of righteousness.
In addition, we’ll be joining together as a church family this Sunday to pledge our support for the moms and dads who will be formally dedicating their children to the Lord.
|See you (in person or on line) Sunday!
Soli Deo Gloria!