[CF Devotionals] 2011-02-06 - The Tenth Commandment

The Ten Commandments ~ Part 64
Tenth Commandment ~ Part 6

How do we deal with this Problem?

Coveting is basically keeping up with the Joneses, desiring what they have, because they have it. Coveting involves passion. It is that passion that is encouraged often, as a basis to get us to consume.

By the way, notice the focus here is on the wrong desire. No action need be carried out to fulfill the desire. The desire itself is the sin. This seems much more in line with the teachings of Jesus regarding adultery. The desire for the act is the same as the act, from God's point of view. So let us not confuse wanting with coveting, but let us also not confuse the fact that we can sin just by coveting; getting isn't necessary.

There are two issues we need to deal with here. The first is: how do I deal with covetous desires in a society that encourages that desire? The second is: how do I turn this commandment around to make it something positive in my life?

As we have already seen, we are constantly bombarded with messages intended to cause us to covet that which we don't have. This is an acceptable part of living in this culture. But is it acceptable? The answer is obviously no. The question then becomes how can we deal with this pressure. Do you have any ideas?

I am not necessarily suggesting we have to turn off the TV, or cancel our subscriptions to "U.S. News and World Report," but we need to become aware of the subtle, and sometimes not so subtle, effects of the constant barrage of promotional material that is pouring into our lives. We must learn to examine our reasons for consumption.

What we have is from the Lord. He gives us things because He loves us. But He also provides them so we can use them for Him. Why do we want what we want? Is is because it is a legitimate need - or because someone else has it?

Basically, I am saying that we have to depend on the Lord, the Holy Spirit, to help us overcome the fact we live in a consumer society. Another area where this becomes extremely important is teaching children, young people, to be aware of these same dangers. They need to see the dangers of a materialistic society, just as much as we do. Again, the issue isn't things, but the attitude towards wanting.

The attitude towards how one handles things carries over into all areas of life. For the person who never denies himself anything, why do we expect him to stop at things? He will take his neighbor's wife, job or anything else he desires. The thought is that if we don't learn discipline in the little things, we will have none in the large. This is the same idea we talked about with lying. If we lie in "little" things, then why are we surprised we don't tell the truth in more "important" matters?

The bottom line is that we have to be sensitive to what the Lord wants from us in our lives. Our focus needs to be on Him We have to have control over that which we allow to be the input of our lives, by depending on the presence of the Holy Spirit within ourselves.

Comments or Questions?

[email geoff] GKragen@aol.com

Additional studies by Geoff
Podcasts of Studies in Matthew can be found at www.GKragen.com