Green With Envy - Why Is Coveting Such A Bad Thing?

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The majority of us reading this will be blessed with having more than enough. We live in a world where it's a competition to have the "newest", "fastest", "biggest" technology, car, TV... the list is endless. It's very easy to get caught up in this "keeping up with the Jones'" behaviour, constantly striving to have more and better than everyone else. One of the massive pitfalls with being so blessed is that we can become covetous of what others have. The Bible talks a lot about coveting what others have and it is a repeated theme running right through the Old and New Testaments.

One "trendy" phrase at the moment and over the last couple of years is "well jel", short for "well jealous" and I've even caught myself using it only to feel guilty afterwards. I'm in no doubt that it is something many of us beat ourselves up about and yet we still find ourselves repeatedly falling into this trap. It is still displaying an envy, wanting something that someone else has instead of being grateful for what we do have. We live in a consumer driven culture meaning our social status, values and activities revolve around the consumption of goods and services. It's easy to see this when we talk about "paying for the name/brand" knowing that one item is just as good as another but the dearer one only costs more because it has a brand name on it.

Being a parent I know this better than any one and have seen many well known brands including a "cheap" product being endorsed by the latest cartoon character and knowing that I could have got something better for my kids if it didn't have the name on it but they want the one with the name because it's the one all their friends have. However it's very difficult for them as children to understand that concept, sometimes it's even hard for us as adults!

We "follow" big celebrities on Twitter and Instagram, read about them in magazines and strive to be more like them buying the "As Seen On Screen" dress or bag to show how wealthy or en pointe we are, even though we know that the Bible teaches otherwise. It may be the 10th commandment  but it doesn't make it any less of a sin than disobeying the first.

"You shall not covet your neighbour's house; you shall not covet your neighbour's wife, nor his male servant, nor his female servant, nor his ox, nor his donkey, nor anything that is your neighbour's"  ~  Exodus 20:17

Why is coveting such a bad thing? Where is our focus when we covet? Inwards! Our focus when we covet is to please ourselves, our inner, human desires. They are not our Spirit-led desires, our souls panting for the Lord but those of greed. What happens when we don't get the worldly desires? We sulk, we wallow in self-pity feeling sorry for ourselves for not being good enough, wealthy enough, strong enough, thin enough. God is continually telling us quite the opposite, that we are enough. We were enough for Him to die on the cross for us, he made us enough! Isn't that exciting and amazing? We don't need the latest bag or cartoon character endorsed pyjamas to be enough for God, He died for us even though we were dirty and sinful and made us clean and pure again. The Bible tells us, in Matthew 6:19-21, to store up treasures in heaven, not on earth where they can be destroyed or stolen. To put our hearts on earthly desires can lead us to be idolatrous and put God in second place. So you can clearly see how being covetous can lead us down a dark and dusty road of sin.

The Bible does however explain that there is one thing we can covet and that is the gifts of the Spirit, We are reminded in 1st Corinthians 12:31 to "eagerly desire" the higher gifts, you can even hear the tone of the message - eagerly just shows us how much we should desire to be more like Him although it makes it clear that we shouldn't wish for another's gifts. We are not less just because of the gift(s) we have, we should boast only in God for what we have been blessed with.

We need to learn to put our hearts on God, to be in the world but not of the world. We should not be striving for worldly desires but of those in Heaven and I doubt we will see those on Facebook or Instagram!!

I will finish with one final verse, perhaps one which needs to go on a sticky note next to all our beds (as I'm sure I struggle with this as much as anyone else!):

"Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said,
“Never will I leave you;
never will I forsake you.” (Deuteronomy 31:6)"  ~  Hebrews 13:5
God Bless,

2 comments:

  1. I hadn't heard well jel...humorous but convicting. Lord, help me to be content!!

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    1. Must be a "British" thing, it seems to be the saying of most of the tweens and teens of the day, I've seen it a lot on Instagram too. I'm always thinking about how God clothed the flowers so why would he forget about making me look fabulous but I definitely think it's something we need to constantly tell ourselves as we're being battered on all sides by advertising for more "things" at all time!
      Lord I pray that Nannette and I, and anyone else reading feels the Spirit upon them, giving them peace in their lives, in what they have, that they don't "want" for anything as you will always care for us. Amen!

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