Exodus 20:17 reveals the final Commandment, which is, “You shall not covet…”
God has given us a desire for love and happiness. It’s not wrong to want success or victory, nor is it wrong to acquire these things. Rather, this commandment warns against unlawful desire. Covetousness has an appetite that is never satisfied. Whether material possessions, money, power, fame, or status, we have been tricked into believing that newer, bigger, or better will bring us happiness. If we want to know the secret of satisfaction, we reject any trace of covetousness in our lives.
First, think about the perplexing problem of covetousness. It is a very deceptive and debasing problem; not many acknowledge that they struggle with this sin. We are egocentric by nature and often wear the cloak of self-righteousness. Adrian Rogers says, “The heart of the human problem is the problem of the human heart.”
It’s a destructive problem. There is a reason why the Bible condemns making riches our lifelong goal. When we do that, we make gods out of wealth when our desire should actually be to “Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness” (Matthew 6:33).
Covetousness is also a lack of perspective. A covetous person is a person who has not put his eyes on the Lord, for contentment is found in Jesus Christ alone. Hebrews 13:5-6 says, “Let your conduct be without covetousness; be content with such things as you have. For He Himself has said, ‘I will never leave you nor forsake you.’ So we may boldly say, ‘The Lord is my Helper. I will not fear. What can man do to me?’” Adrian Rogers says, “The only truly satisfied people in this world are the ones who’ve let go of this world and taken hold of Jesus Christ with both hands.”
As Christians, we have everything we need: We have our salvation and family, our brothers and sisters in Christ. We have knowledge of the Word of God, and wisdom that comes from our time spent in Scripture. We have the peace of God that passes understanding; when we gain this righteous perspective, we can see we are very, very rich.
If we want to rid ourselves of covetousness, we must apply this daily practice:
- Trust in the Lord
- Develop a habit of thankfulness
- Learn to love other people
- Learn to give