Covet

<<yearn for, crave>>

It is to intensely want or lust for what another person has, with a deep envy.  The 10th commandment states, “You shall not covet anything that belongs to another” (Ex 20:17). To covet is wanting what you don’t have. Greed is wanting more of what you already have. Idolatry is wanting things more than God. Admiration for another person’s possessions or ability is not coveting, nor is seeking to acquire similar things for yourself.  It becomes a sin when you resent that others have what you don’t, and you are not prepared to put in the effort to acquire, by legitimate means, similar possessions for yourself. When you take from another, this is both coveting and stealing. It is not wrong to desire a marriage partner, yet it is wrong to covet the spouse of another.

The Bible clearly states, seek God’s Kingdom first and all things necessary for life will be given, for real life doesn’t revolve around things but rather a relationship with God (Mt 6:33; Lk 12:15; Jn 17:3).

It is in the attitudes of the heart and the thoughts of the mind where Satan sows his wrong ideas of yearning for what another has. “Do not covet” goes to the source (thoughts and desires), not just addressing the outworked action. We need to affirm the sovereignty of God to ensure that every desire is under His control.

‘Forbidden fruit’ appeals to our unregenerate fleshly instincts. The Bible states we are to take wrong thoughts captive, and use its promises to combat such attacks (Mt 4:1-11; 2 Cor 10:4,5). Saturate your life in prayer, the Scriptures and be disciplined in what you feed your mind. Deal with wrong desires, fascinations and attractions as soon as you become aware of them.

Coveting is catering to what self-wants. There is an element of dissatisfaction with His provision and wanting something He hasn’t supplied. Instead, be thankful for what you do have and enjoy it. If we truly love God we won’t covet anything except what He supplies (Ps 37:4). If we

        Are my eyes and thoughts disciplined                                                    or do I covet?

truly delight in Him, our one desire will be only His will for us. To desire anything beyond or outside God’s will is to desire something that in the end will destroy us unless that desire is stopped or terminated.

Jesus calls us to self-sacrifice (denying the flesh) in order to follow Him yet we cling to self-preservation – the love of self and its desires (Mt 16:24,25). The way to blessing is to put Him first, followed by the welfare of others before ourselves. The life we covetously sought to preserve and ‘spend’ as we saw best is now handed back to its rightful owner, laying it on the altar of sacrifice for His Kingdom – which includes our fellow man (Mk 12:30,31). This is voluntarily submitting to the hassles and demands placed on you without justifying or demanding your rights. He can now live His life through you.

The eyes are the main trigger or entry point where coveting makes inroads into the mind. Job understood that temptation can quickly take hold, hence “He made a covenant with his eyes not to look lustfully at a girl” (Job 31:1). Unfortunately, David did not have this discipline when confronted with ‘an opportunity’ (2 Sam 11:2-4). Instead of rejecting the thought, he allowed this covetous thought to turn into sinful action. What the heart conceives, the mind endeavours to bring into reality. Jesus emphasised that not only is immoral action sinful, but also the thought when He said, “Anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart” (Mt 5:27,28).

See also: adultery, contentment, desires, entry points, envy, greed, idol/idolatry, jealous, lust, self-discipline, temptation, thinking/thoughts


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