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What God Wrote in Stone 12: Do Not Covet

What God Wrote in Stone Day 12 – Do Not Covet

You shall not covet your neighbor’s house; you shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, or his male servant, or his female servant, or his ox, or his donkey, or anything that is your neighbor’s. (Exodus 20:17, ESV)

And he said to them, “Take care, and be on your guard against all covetousness, for one’s life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions. (Luke 12:15, ESV)

But each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire. Then desire when it has conceived gives birth to sin, and sin when it is fully grown brings forth death. (James 1:14-15, ESV).

When was the last time you were envious of someone’s home, car, spouse, abilities, job title, body, clothing, marriage or something else? I’m going to guess it’s been pretty recent—I know that’s true for myself. This commandment gets to the root of something for which we have a tendency—our tendency to compare ourselves against others. When we do this, we are bound to experience feelings of insecurity and jealousy, and a spirit of ungratefulness for our own blessings.

This area is one I certainly struggle with on a regular basis. I look at other women in their 50s and wonder how they maintain such a great physique. Those things mentioned above? I’m acutely aware of most, if not all, of them. I find myself feeling jealous, and before you know it, I’m feeling sorry for myself. This isn’t a new issue among humans. In fact, we can go back to the very first family God created and see how jealousy and coveting led to the first murder in history. Cain was jealous of God’s approval of his brother, Abel, and he took Abel’s life.

Not only is coveting sin, but it often leads to further sin. For instance, when we covet someone else’s spouse, it can lead us down a path of infidelity. If we covet someone’s job title, we may do what we can to take it from them and gain it for ourselves. Or we want certain possessions so badly that we find dishonest ways to acquire them. So while this commandment was written in stone many years ago, it’s still a principle we should live by today.

Covetousness steals our of joy and gratefulness. God has given us so much in His Son, and we must learn, like Paul, to be content with whatever we have. When I’m comparing myself to someone else or coveting the things they possess, I’m not appreciating my own blessings. From comparison comes jealousy, and from jealousy comes further sin. 

My challenge today is that we would seek to remove covetousness from our lives, that every time we find ourselves looking wistfully elsewhere, we would turn our eyes inward, and find beauty in what God has given us. The common saying that there is always something to be grateful for is so true! As you finish this reading today, make a mental list of just five blessings you currently enjoy. Thank God for those blessings, and every time you feel tempted to compare yourself to others, remind yourself of those blessings and appreciate how God has been so good to you. As we incorporate this into the rhythm of our thoughts, we will find ourselves living much more satisfied lives and even experience joy for the blessings others possess.

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