In keeping it real here, I have to admit that for most of my life I have struggled with envy and covetousness. As I’ve written about here before, growing up as a poor kid we did without a lot of name brands, designer threads, luxurious furnishings and decadent vacations. And as I’ve aged, I still have had to battle those demons. I still look at my peer group and think about their big fancy houses, their shiny new convertible BMW’s and Infinity SUV’s, their Vogue wardrobes, and super designer handbags, their all-inclusive vacations, their swimming pools and their Country Clubs.
But the Bible tells me “You must not covet your neighbor’s house. You must not covet your neighbor’s wife, male or female servant, ox or donkey, or anything else that belongs to your neighbor.” Exodus 20:17
The tenth commandment focuses on a person’s unseen evil motives and desires. To covet is to wish for enviously, to long or crave for something, especially something that belongs to another person. This includes spouse, house, cars, possessions, success, prosperity, power, influence, and so forth.
A covetous person always wants more. It’s not wrong to desire things that will better our life, but it is wrong when we make those things the focus of our life instead of God. Those desires can become a trap – a gateway that will allow us to break the other nine commandments.
Consider this, we live in an age of instant gratification. Television, movies, music, and advertising tout stuff, stuff, stuff, and more stuff. Everything from cars to real estate to designer clothes and the latest electronic gadgets. We are taught to believe that we need bigger, better, faster, louder, and more expensive stuff then what we already have.
But all that stuff can’t bring peace or a joy. Only a lasting relationship with Jesus can. It’s important to keep our focus and perspective. Don’t think that more money, or more power, or a bigger house, or a newer car, or a younger more attractive spouse, or a Country Club membership will produce peace or happiness. Instead, seek a lasting and meaningful relationship with Jesus Christ and learn how true contentment really feels.
“Dear Heavenly Father, thank you for your many blessings in my life. Help me to keep my focus on you and not on obtaining the stuff of this world. Forgive me of the times when I have allowed myself to covet things that are not mine. In Jesus precious name, amen.”