Does it surprise you that when God gave the Ten Commandments to Charlton Heston (you have to be of a certain age to get that), that along with commandments having no other gods before Him, not bowing to idols, and prohibitions against murder, theft, adultery and lying, He includes a commandment about coveting?
It’s the last commandment on the list. Thou shalt not covet. And compared to what’s come before, it may seem like God was running out of really big sins, so He just included coveting to make it an even ten commandments instead of nine.
Covet and murder and adultery on the same list? Does that seem odd to you? Is coveting really that big a deal?
It is to God.
Let’s think for a minute about what coveting really is.
The dictionary defines coveting as “desiring something inordinately, especially something that doesn’t belong to you.”
A 17th century pastor named William Gouch defined it as “an immoderate desire for riches.”
But how do we know if a desire has become “immoderate?” Gouch said that when we are not content with the portion which God by His providence and through lawful means allows, our desires become sinful.
John Piper said it this way. He says “Covetousness is desiring something so much that you lose your contentment in God.”
Covetousness is a sin of the heart, not of the bank account. You can have little, and be content; or you can be rich, and wish you had more.
How do you know if you’re coveting? Here are some questions we can ask ourselves to help diagnose what may be in our hearts.
Do you ever sin against God or others to acquire money or possessions, like King Ahab in 1 Kings 21 who killed Naboth to get his vineyard?
Do you ever sacrifice your health or your family or your other relationships for money or stuff?
Do you care more for our money and stuff than you do about the condition of your soul, like the people in the Bible who were invited to the King’s banquet and said “I can’t come because I just bought some land or some oxen.” Or like the Gadarenes who asked Jesus to leave them when he cast the demon spirits into their pigs and messed with their livestock?
Do you hoard stuff like the man who built the bigger barns?
Do you lay up treasures on earth, where month and rust destroy?
Do you show care or concern for the poor or the needy around you?
Is your desire for something, or your enjoyment of that thing, disproportionate to the worth of what it is you desire? John Piper calls it a great desire for non-great things.
When you do enjoy God’s good gifts, is your enjoyment saturated with gratitude to God?
Do you find yourself thinking “I deserve this” or “I’ve earned this,” instead of seeing good things you have as a blessing from God? In other words, does what should be a delight ever become a demand?
Have you found yourself loving the gift more than the Giver, the creation more than the Creator, the stuff more than the Savior?
And when you don’t get what you want or think you deserve, do you lose your joy and contentment?
Here is one of the interesting things about coveting. When you have the things you’ve coveted, you are never satisfied. The more you get, the more you want. The more we have, the more we think we need or deserve.
I have always loved the wisdom from Agur, the son of Jakeh, found in Proverbs 30. This is his prayer to help guard his own heart from covetousness. It’s a good prayer for all of us to pray.
Keep deception and lies far from me,
Give me neither poverty nor riches;
Feed me with the food that is my portion,
9 That I not be full and deny You and say, “Who is the LORD?”
Or that I not be in want and steal,
And profane the name of my God. (Proverbs 30:8-9)
Ask God today to show you if covetousness has become an issue in your life. If it has, or when you find yourself tempted to covet, remember that the secret of contentment in life is to find your joy, your peace, your hope, your life, in Christ. Seek first His kingdom. And let God, who knows your needs perfectly, give you whatever is best for you.
Back last spring, we had planned to take time on a Sunday to celebrate the arrival of new children in our church and to dedicate those precious ones to the Lord.
Well, for reasons I’ll explain later, we’ve decided to invite moms and dads to dedicate their children to the Lord on Sunday, February 7 during our morning worship service.
BABY DEDICATION SUNDAY
| For those who can’t make that date work or who aren’t comfortable being with us that morning, we’ll make plans for another baby dedication service later this year. |
As I mentioned last week, everyone is welcome to join the women of the church for a weekly virtual prayer time on Tuesday nights.
|The prayer time each week will be ongoing. You can get more information by clicking here. |
In addition, the WINTER Ladies Bible study is starting in a few weeks. 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.
We’ve been digging into what the Bible has to say about spiritual warfare in recent weeks. This Sunday, we’ll start to focus on the specific elements that make up the whole armor of God.
And we’ll get some special help this week from some of the children in our church. You won’t want to miss this!
See you (in person or on line) Sunday!
Soli Deo Gloria!