Daily Success
Institute in Basic Life Principles

Command 31 : Beware of Covetousness | Day 217

Consider the Cost of Coveting!

He was the son of royalty and rightful heir to the throne. One day, he saw a beautiful young woman and began to covet her. He was so ravished with desire that he actually became sick. A cunning friend devised a wicked plan to obtain for him that which he knew he could not rightfully get for himself. Amnon went along with the sinister plot and by force took what did not belong to him. After the momentary pleasure of lust, Amnon's attraction for Tamar turned into hatred for her. His actions caused others to hate him and resulted in his death. (See II Samuel 13.)

We will never truly enjoy the things we have coveted because our consciences will convict us of our sin.

Coveting means that we are seeking our own pleasure, power, or possessions, which disqualify us from ministry, because God requires that a leader not be covetous (see I Timothy 3:3). Paul said, “For I have no man likeminded, who will naturally care for your state. For all seek their own, not the things which are Jesus Christ's" (Philippians 2:20-21).

Coveting prohibits us from enjoying the good gifts that God gives to us every day, because the mind, will, and emotions are bound up in those things that we covet. Ahab could not enjoy the wealth of his kingdom because he was emotionally controlled by his desire to have Naboth's vineyard. On the other hand, Moses rejected the treasures of Egypt, which he could have had, “esteeming the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures in Egypt ...” (Hebrews 11:26).

Coveting takes our eyes off of God, Who is the Giver of every good and perfect gift and from Whom all blessings flow, and puts them on that which will “fly away as an eagle toward heaven” (Proverbs 23:5).

Coveting causes us to bring much heartache upon ourselves, “for the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows” (I Timothy 6:10).

Coveting is worshiping a false god, which will bring the wrath of God upon us. “Mortify therefore your members which are upon the earth; fornication, uncleanness, inordinate affection, evil concupiscence, and covetousness, which is idolatry: for which things' sake the wrath of God cometh on the children of disobedience” (Colossians 3:5-6).

All the grief and misery of sin in our world can be traced back to one couple who coveted what God told them they could not have.

The hard lessons that we learn from our mistakes can be valuable lessons for others. In your journal, write out an experience of longing for something that you knew was not God's will for you to have and the results of getting it or not getting it. Let's recognize the seriousness of coveting and learn to overcome it.

“… Take heed, and beware of covetousness: for a man's life consisteth not in the abundance of the things which he possesseth” (Luke 12:15).

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Contributing writer: Bill Gothard