Saturday, February 15, 2014

You shall not covet

TODAY'S SPECIAL: Exodus 20:1-17

TO CHEW ON: "You shall not covet your neighbour's house; you shall not covet your neighbour's wife, or his male servant, or his female servant or his ox or his donkey, or anything that is your neighbour's." Exodus 20:17 ESV

A modern version of this verse might read: You shall not covet your neighbor's magazine cover house, her granite counter tops, or her chef-quality stainless steel kitchen. You shall not covet your neighbor's wife, his home theater system, his SUV, or anything else that is your neighbor's.

Think what serious trouble the advertising industry would be in if everyone suddenly started obeying this. For isn't stimulating the desire to possess what we don't have behind most advertising whether in print, online, or TV? 

On the surface the sin of coveting may seem insignificant when compared to the other sins on this list We are tempted to ask, is covetousness—a sin so endemic to our culture we hardly notice it in ourselves or others—really as serious as murder, or stealing, or adultery? It's not even an action, just an attitude.

Yes, it is only an attitude, but what an attitude!
  • It whispers to us that what we have is not enough or good enough and plants a seed of dissatisfaction with God and His provision in our lives.
  • It can be a gateway sin—the first step down the road to committing a more "serious" sin, such as stealing or adultery.
  • Covetousness was the active ingredient in Satan's temptation of Eve (Genesis 3:1-6) and continues to appear first on the ingredient list of temptation through the centuries (James 1:13-15).
What is the best way to overcome covetousness? Perhaps it's not a head-on offensive at all but the oblique defense of distraction and replacement. Today let's  distract our covetous tendencies with an attitude of thankfulness, and replace the list of things we want with the things we have. Instead of covetousness, let's nurture contentment,

PRAYER: Dear God, thank You for highlighting the dangerous attitude of covetousness. Help me to detect it and then defeat it with gratitude and contentment. Amen.


MORE: Practicing contentment
Paul’s relationship with God superseded whatever he did or did not have. His contentment was not based on his circumstances, but on his relationship with Christ.

Paul reminds us that contentment doesn’t happen overnight. It’s something that we learn. As our relationship with God develops over time and through experiences, we learn to trust God more and ourselves less" - Albert Lee, "Contentment," Our Daily Bread Devotional for August 24, 2010.
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Unless otherwise noted all Scripture quotations are taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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