What do we want, and why?
Devotional study from David Niednagel, pastor/teacher, Evansville, IN. David uses the S.O.A.P method for his morning devotional time. (study, observe, apply, pray)
Deuteronomy 5:21 “You must not covet your neighbor’s wife. You must not covet your neighbor’s house or land, male or female servant, ox or donkey, or anything else that belongs to your neighbor. NLT
To covet is to have a strong desire for something that belongs to another. It is not wrong for a man to desire a wife. It is wrong to desire his neighbor’s wife. It has its roots in our insecurity and desire for recognition, and comparing our situation with others. We believe “things” will give us higher standing in the world. 1Timoth 6:9 says “the love of money is the root of all kinds of evil”. Not money, but the love of money. Every day we hear of robberies and theft – some small and some in the millions of dollars. Why do we need passwords and pin numbers? Because someone, lots of someone’s, are coveting someone else’s resources.
Jesus said “Take care, and be on your guard against all covetousness, for one’s life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions.” (Luke 12:15) That is pretty clear, but many of us don’t really believe it. We often think we need “just one thing more”, and then we will be satisfied. Maybe we do need a car, but what kind of car we get is often decided not by economic or functional factors, but by our desire to impress others.
Paul said it was this commandment that convicted him that he was a sinner. As a Pharisee he knew how to look good on the outside. He kept the Law. But this commandment is different than all the rest in that it forbids an inner desire. And we can hide that easier than our actions. He did not covet anyone’s silver or gold (Acts 20:23) but was zealous to advance beyond all his contemporaries in his position. (Gal 1:14). He coveted being famous – prominence in position – and he recognized it was sin. It can be a good thing for a pastor to want to preach good sermons and for his church to grow, if it truly is for the glory of God. But it is often so mixed with the pastor’s ego, that God sees his desire as sinful – as coveting the recognition of someone else.
Lord, No matter what we say, You know our hearts. You see a lot more sin in us than we want to admit. There are still lots of things I desire, and also the compliments of people. Help me walk in the Light, knowing you know my heart and motives. Help me desire to serve and please You more than to receive the recognition or praise of people. Help me say with Paul, “ I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content. 12 I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need. 13 I can do all things through him who strengthens me.” (Phil 4:11-13) Amen