Coveting Day 3: Coveting Others’ Status
You make known to me the path of life; in your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore. (Psalm 16:11, ESV)
This is eternal life, that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent. (John 17:3, ESV)
Have you ever coveted someone else’s status? While this may not be as obvious a form of coveting, I think most of us are more prone to this than we’d like to admit. It’s so easy to begin to compare our job title, success, popularity, etc. to someone else’s: If only I was as well liked as he is. I’m just a stay-at-home mom—no one will ever think I’m as successful as she is. I wish I had her entrepreneurial skills; then people would really notice me. And so we covet. We want what others have yet completely ignore everything we’ve already been given.
As always, the Bible has a lot to say about this type of coveting, but here are just a few verses that give us some insight: “Whoever is greedy for unjust gain troubles his own household, but he who hates bribes will live” (Proverbs 15:27). “For where jealousy and selfish ambition exist, there will be disorder and every vile practice” (James 3:16). “The world offers only a craving for physical pleasure, a craving for everything we see, and pride in our achievements and possessions. These are not from the Father, but are from this world” (1 John 2:16, NLT).
Clearly, no good can come from coveting the position and/or status that someone else has. It leads to bitterness and negativity in our hearts (see Prov 14:30) and robs us of loving others the way God intends. What’s more, we’re all the same before God—because we’re all sinners who have broken His law. But also, for those of us who are believers in Jesus, we’ve been delivered out of that sin and given an even greater status…
“When you were dead in your sins and in the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made you alive with Christ. He forgave us all our sins, having canceled the charge of our legal indebtedness, which stood against us and condemned us; he has taken it away, nailing it to the cross” (Colossians 2:13-14, NIV).
“But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God, who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God” (John 1:12-13).
“For we too were once foolish, disobedient, deceived, enslaved to various lusts and pleasures, spending our life in malice and envy, hateful, hating one another. But when the kindness of God our Savior and His love for mankind appeared, He saved us, not on the basis of deeds which we did in righteousness, but in accordance with His mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewing by the Holy Spirit, whom He richly poured out upon us through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that being justified by His grace we would be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life” (Titus 3:3-7, NASB).
After reading these verses that tell us about all we’ve been given in Jesus, it begs the question: “What more could we want?” We’ve received unimaginable grace. God gave us His Son to die for our sins—in our place. But it didn’t end there. He gave us both abundant life now and eternal life, He brought us into His family, making us children and heirs, and He promised that we will reign with Jesus one day.
Our future is secure. Our hope is solid. We’ve all been given the same blessings through Jesus—we all have the same status. When we begin to compare our lives to that of others, think about these truths. It’s also important to remember that because of our eternal hope and the presence of Jesus with us, everything we do matters, no matter how simple our “status” may seem. Your job matters. Your role as a mom or dad matters. Your skills in your workplace matter. Your daily life matters.
As we think on everything we’ve been given in Christ, I pray these words will challenge us to live in a way that focuses more on eternity:
“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. If we live by the Spirit, let us also keep in step with the Spirit. Let us not become conceited, provoking one another, envying one another” (Galatians 5:22-26).
“Therefore, as you received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in him, rooted and built up in him, and established in the faith, just as you were taught, abounding in thanksgiving” (Colossians 2:6-7).