Thou Shalt Not Covet

By Don Wilton   •   December 1, 2013   •   Topics:

Thou Shalt Not Covet

The Ten Commandments are not fictitious. We are never given the option to pick and choose our way through the Bible and decide what suits us and what does not suit us. God’s Word is true and infallible in every way, and every word is inspired by the Holy Spirit (2 Timothy 3:16). This is why nothing in life can be acceptable if it is not biblically correct. Way back in the beginning, Almighty God spoke to His people and issued a solemn warning—a warning so important it is spelled out in detail as we read it in His Word.

Perhaps a closer look at the word covet will help us realize why God would consider it so vital and so important in His set of commands to His people. The transliteration of the Hebrew word sounds like khaw-mad, which makes me think of an animal clawing madly after something it desperately wants to have. The direct meaning of the word carries with it the idea of lust. Ironically the word itself speaks to taking delight in something—but in the wrong way.

A similar thought could concern the issue of money. God’s Word never condemns the making of money nor the ability to have money. It is the love of money that is “the root of all evil” (1 Timothy 6:10) because when we love money, it can occupy an unhealthy and sinful place in our hearts to the point that it takes the place of our love for Christ.

God is making it abundantly clear that the thoughts and desires of the heart do not escape attention. A strong longing to have what belongs to someone else is wrong and sinful. This Tenth Commandment also serves as a reminder that the previous nine commandments are not simply just a list of external acts that stand by themselves. God looks on the heart. He sees us, He knows us—and, praise God, He really loves us!

Writing to the church at Rome, in Romans 7:7, Paul made it clear that his understanding of the seriousness of coveting came from God’s clear statement that it is sin. Jesus certainly did not beat around the bush when a man asked Him to demand that his brother divide his inheritance with him. The man must have recoiled as Jesus told the Parable of the Rich Fool (Luke 12:13-21) and warned him to “take heed and beware of covetousness, for one’s life does not consist in the abundance of the things he possesses” (Luke 12:15).

When God created man, He did so with divine purpose. Every person was formed according to God’s design, with the very image of God etched into each life. The couple we see in the Garden of Eden were originally made to look like God, to love like God and to live with God. Their sin shattered every semblance of fellowship between themselves and a righteous and holy God. Sin, in fact, made it impossible for them to look like God, love like God and certainly prevented them from ever living with God. But God provided the way for man to have peace with Him and be reconciled once again. He loved them so very much that He gave His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, to come to this earth and take on Himself the sin of all who would believe in His name. This is my hope. This is our hope. This is your hope. Without our risen Savior, we would be lost in our trespasses and sins. When we confess our sin to Jesus and repent of that sin before Him, God, by His grace, and through the finished work of Jesus Christ on the cross, enters our hearts and lives by His Spirit and saves us.

And yet the war between the flesh and the Spirit goes on. Paul knew this and spoke of the battle between the lust of the flesh and the fruit of the Spirit in Galatians 5. Perhaps this is why the sin of covetousness represents the climactic expression of the Ten Commandments. The propensity of sinful man is to desire anything and everything that has not been given by God. Speaking to the church at Philippi, Paul implored believers to be content with what they have and with who they are (Philippians 4:12).

This commandment given to Moses on the top of Mount Sinai was designed to help us realize just how unique we all are in His eyes. In a viciously competitive world, where so many people jostle for position and power, it is so wonderful to remember that God made us unique to His design. Is it not too wonderful to know that God loves us just the way we are? His strong command here really ought to encourage every believer. So many spend years trying to be someone else. Thousands of dollars are spent trying to look like another, and the heart of all people has such a propensity to make heroes out of others. Even the church can so easily be caught up in covetousness. When this happens jealousy arises, competitiveness seeps into the Body of Christ and many end up losing their focus on Jesus Christ and Him crucified.

Perhaps you may be suffering from the sin of covetousness. May I suggest you consider eight simple steps? These steps will help you respond to all the Holy Spirit is convicting you about—and you will be set free. First, confess your sin to Jesus. Just like that!

Second, take inventory of your life before God. Perhaps write down any areas of discontent. Third, determine to be satisfied. Fourth, refresh your vision—to be all you can be before God as He made you. Fifth, develop a new strategy built around full acceptance of the blessings with which God has blessed you. Sixth, strive to open and explore all opportunities. Remember ambition is a good thing when given to God. Seventh, accept God’s decisions for your life. Eighth, move forward in contented action. In short, be satisfied with who you are. Be content with what God has given you. Be grateful in all things for your Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.  ©2013 Don Wilton

Scripture quotations are taken from The Holy Bible, New King James Version.

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  1. Linda Yeary says:

    Thank you for this lesson, I needed this, it warms my soul to know that God loves me as I am,I thank you for the simple steps you have pointed out to me and I will study them ,May God Bless you all for the work you are doing in helping people like me,

  2. John Meena says:

    Dear Brethren in Christ Mr Grahams family and that great large family brought by GOD to you for care, Praise the name of JESUS CHRIST and the finished work of the Cross.
    I feel saying that May the GOD of your Calling makes His face shine brighter and Brighter day by day in whatever you do for KINGDOM of GOD.
    By His Grace every doors of your desires be and remains open up to the second and the third generations may all your Loved one be saved and see the goodness of GOD in CHRIST JESUS Now than ever for His Glory in the Name of JESUS CHRIST

  3. Steve says:

    Thank goodness our Lord and Savior loves us so deeply and gave us His Grace that we may be part of His family. My spirit hurts as I see where our society is headed. It’s not a pretty sight. We have had our heads in the spiritual sand way to long God commands us to reach out. What a blessing the BGEA has been to me over the last 40+ years God Bless

  4. Rev Judith Iheanacho says:

    This is the truth, just that in this end time people including ministers will not preach or live by it, some preach without practicing it.

  5. Jack says:

    I think we all are guilty of that, Not that so much, We want more then our neighbor has , But just to keep up with what he all ready has, I was like that one time, But I THANK THAT MY HEAVEN FATHER, Has helped me to change, I do not have that problem any more, I think it is better to use the words, It is better to give then receive, And follow through, I fell that most people would help others, but most of us are limited with what we have, But GOD BLESS ALL THOSE PEOPLE WHO KEEP THE FIRES BURNING, If it not fore those people, Our world would be even worse then it is, What more could I say, JESUS CHRIST IS COMMING AGAIN, PRAY, PRAY, PRAY,

  6. Dr Lawrence Corcoran says:

    Right on- good Biblical presentation

  7. Patrick says:

    Dear Reverend Graham, God loves us just the way we are. I pray for those who did not listen to the Grace of God our Father. For Grace is the divine help of the Holy Spirit known as conversion. Conversion is when Jesus Christ’s Father God is at work in us, both to will us towards moral improvement and to work us for God the Father’s good pleasure. Yeah, but God loves us just they way we are …God will accept my behavior no matter how I act or do. No, God loves what He created -the Holy Temple -our bodies. It is the sinful acts God begins to eliminate in our lives. God converts us to His lifestyle through a conversion process which requires us to repent of our sins. It is only when we repent of our sins which allows God to begin working in us to increase our morals and decrease our sinful desires; thus cleaning out His temple- our mortal bodies- it is then when God loves us just the way we are. God cleaned us from sin to and made us clean, holy. That is why God loves us just the way we are.

  8. Francis Ndakeni says:

    Greetings,thank you for sharing these powerful truth.Sometimes we walk in our Christian faith with the seemingly small issues.

  9. David Tromble says:

    Well put. Much of our anxiety comes from wanting. Maybe even wanting something bad to pass. God knows the day we live so we can take comfort in that. He’s with us in good and bad, always. I find nothing more satisfying than that and I try to live with that thought every day. God Bless, and thanks Billy and Franklin for all you do to further the Word.