By Angela Wisdom
I once heard a preacher say that this sin is one of the most prevalent in the church, but one that is the hardest to get men to repent of. I don't know if this is so or not, but I know that I have seen the results of this sin many times.
When we have such a desire for the things that another has, and we will do whatever we have to do to have those things, we are coveting. Jesus said: Luke 12:15 And he said unto them, Take heed, and beware of covetousness: for a man's life consisteth not in the abundance of the things which he possesseth. Jesus does not even want this sin named among us ( Eph. 5:3). He calls it idolatry (Col 3:5).
What is the REMEDY for this sin? Heb 13:5 tells us to be content with what we have. If all of us would learn this one lesson we would not have a problem with the sin of covetousness. Are we content with what we have? There is nothing wrong with trying to better ourselves, but when the desire to better ourselves gets out of control, and the things of this life and the acquiring of them become all important, we have let covetousness enter our hearts.
All of us have so much -- more than one outfit to wear; more than one kind of food to eat or drink; nice homes; nice cars. Yet, are we ever guilty of saying (as we stand looking in the closet), "I have nothing to wear."; or as we look at a full refrigerator or pantry "I have nothing to eat"?
Are we content with what we have, or do we pursue our wants to the detriment of our relationships with family, and most importantly, our relationship with God? Are the things we are pursuing our NEEDS, or our WANTS? If we answer this question truthfully we will know whether we are entering a danger zone of covetousness or not.
Do we find that our quest for money or material things is taking more and more time from our family? Time from God? Time from the church? Can we do without that extra money? If we put our efforts on things spiritual, God will take care of us. He has promised to. (Matt. 6:33) But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.
My husband and I worshiped with a man when we were first married that let covetousness into his heart. He and his family had a nice home, and a thriving business -- but they wanted more. They built a bigger house, then a bigger house -- but all the while they were becoming weaker spiritually. This man would tell my husband, "I don't have time to teach a Bible class, or to do this or that work, but I can give money into the treasury of the church." -- all the while he was making the excuse "I have to make a living for my family." Eventually, this man and his family became weaker and weaker and more liberal-minded spiritually. Their quest for material things became insatiable -- they finally left the congregation there and he suffered many things because of his covetousness.
Is it wrong to have or want more than we have? Not always, but PERHAPS it is, if our desire has become covetousness or idolatry. We may need to ask these questions:
- Are we missing more and more church services in order to make money or satisfy our desires?
- Is missing the services of the church necessary to satisfy the demands of a boss, or something necessary to live and pay the bills?
- Or, are we missing the services to have more money, things, or activities to fulfill our desires?
- Putting the KINGDOM FIRST will ensure the Lord takes care of us (I Tim. 6:6 - 12; Heb. 13:5; Matt. 6: 30 - 33).
Covetousness is the ROOT of many other sins
- Departure from the faith ( 1Tim. 6:10).
- Domestic trouble
- Gambling -- One can go in many grocery stores in certain states and play the lottery. How is it covetousness? Spending a little to have a lot -- putting up a little to get "something for nothing" -- when one wins, others have lost. God's principle for how we get what we have was laid down in Gen. 3:19. Paul said in II Thess. 3:10 "If any would not work, neither should he eat." The sins that go along with gambling are more than covetousness -- they are stealing (embezzlement, suicide, neglected children, no self-control (compulsive gambling), crime, prostitution, drinking, violates God's principle of stewardship , etc. Christians should think of all this when tempted to play the lottery.
I Cor. 6:9 tells us that if we have covetousness in our heart we'll not inherit the kingdom of Heaven. Inheriting the Kingdom is what we are striving for.
We don't need covetousness in our lives, and must put it out of our lives if we have a problem with it. We must in order to be pleasing to God and to be sanctified.