2020-08-09 - How Do I Deal With This Problem?
Exodus Study Continued, Final Installment
You Shall Not Covet
By Pastor Geoff Kragen
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 covetousness? 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 accepted part of our society. 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, effect of the constant barrage of promotional material that is pouring into our lives. We must learn to examined 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 it because it is a legitimate need or because someone else has it?
“Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ But seek first the kingdom of God and his right- eousness, and all these things will be added to you.” (Matthew 6:31, 33 ESV).
Basically I am saying, we have to depend on the Lord, the Holy Spirit. And as noted in other sessions, what is extremely important is teaching our children, our young people to be aware of these same dangers. Again the issue isn’t things, but the attitude towards them.
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 that catches his fancy. 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 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.
“For we walk by faith, not by sight” (2 Corinthians 5:7 ESV).
The second point here is how do we turn this command around and bring something positive from it? Instead of worrying about how to stop coveting, lets focus on the opposite idea. If coveting is “To feel immoderate desire for that which is another’s,” then what would the opposite be?
Instead of wanting what our neighbor has, we should desire them to have what we have that which they need. As with our handling of a couple of other commandments the idea here is how we can help out those who are our neighbors. Their greatest need may be to know the Lord, so we must live a life that will be a factor in their having the opportunity to come to know Him.
Once again, there is significant overlap here with what we discussed when addressing the command not to steal. First we can be grateful for what we have rather than coveting more, and then we can give to others from our blessings.
As Christ lived for others, so must we also live receiving what the Lord, in His grace, has given us and using it for those who are our neighbors. What are some ways that you can think of that we as individuals and as a body can see to the needs of those around us? And so …
"You shall not covet,” “Do not love the world or the things in the world? If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world— the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes … is not from the Father but is from the world.” Instead let us live a life that testifies to the reality of Christ. “… Since we have gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, let each exercise them accordingly:… if service, in his serving;… he who gives, with liberality …
Let love be genuine. … Love one another with brotherly affection. … Contribute to the needs of the saints”
And if we would keep all the commandments as Christ would have us as believers and His servants, then we must remember His words; “‘… you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength (ESV).’… ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself (ESV).’” (See also Exodus 20:17; 1 John 2:15-16; Romans 12:6-10,13; Mark 12:30-31).
Exodus Study to be continued.