Do you covet? Most would say, “not really” or “not too often.” But I wonder how in tune we are with the presence of this subtle sin? Even when we recognize its presence in our hearts, how quick are we to minimize its gravity? It seems we will more readily admit to any of the other moral transgressions than we will to a covetous heart. We have the ability to dismiss the sinfulness of coveting with a shrug of the shoulders, while God, on the other hand, has placed its warning as a part of his centerpiece of moral prohibitions in the Ten Commandments.
Christians would be wise to learn to hate coveting as much as God does. It would behoove those making a claim to godliness to ferret out those insidious and unstated feelings of displeasure about someone else’s prosperity, intelligence or beauty the way we would the temptation to murder or commit armed robbery. We would do well to declare war on our inability to honestly rejoice in the blessings of others without the fleshly addendum of “I wish I had that,” or “I’m not sure she deserves it.” God told his people to be content with what they have and to rejoice with those who rejoice not only because it honors his holy character, but also because it has profound benefits for those who obey.
As we learn to grieve over our covetous hearts and cry out to God in repentance, we will find a multitude of insidious effects remedied. We might see that coveting is in fact the cause of a hundred lesser evils in our lives. We might discover afresh that a war on coveting is one of the best things we could do for our progress in sanctification. So let’s get honest about its presence and serious about its eradication. And let us look forward to the blessings that come from a heart undefiled by an enslavement to wanting what we don’t have.