'Let your conduct be without covetousness...' Hebrews 13:5 NKJV
Covetousness begins with craving, and then evolves into conniving to get what you want. Achan, Ahab, Ananias and Sapphira were willing to steal, lie or kill to get what they wanted. '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."' This Scripture means that what you have in Christ is greater than whatever else you don't have! Covetousness is: (1) Wanting status but not wanting to serve; wanting control so that you can be at the centre; wanting wealth strictly for yourself; wanting praise from others. (2) Wanting the right things but for the wrong reasons '...If a man desires the position of a bishop, he desires a good work.' (1 Timothy 3:1 NKJV) Wanting to make an impact is a good thing, but you must want it for the right reasons. If you want it for personal recognition and power over others, that's covetousness. (3) Wanting the right things but at the wrong time A young couple says, 'We love each other. We're going to get married in three months. But we want to sleep together now.' They want the right thing for the right reason, but they want it at the wrong time. That's covetousness. (4) Wanting the right things but in the wrong amount Covetousness is wanting more than is required for your needs, and to fulfill God's purpose for your life. Understand this: More of anything other than God will never satisfy the longing for fulfillment He's placed within you. Only when you acknowledge that, will you find true and lasting happiness.
'You shall not covet...' Exodus 20:17 NKJV
Why do we keep giving in to sinful desires? For two reasons: (1) Because the new birth doesn't automatically do away with the old nature Like two cars approaching crossroads at the same time, your old and new natures are always on a collision course. (2) Because if you dwell on a desire long enough, yielding is only a matter of time Ever gone to your fridge when you weren't really hungry, but weren't really satisfied, sort of looking for something to grab you? As bad as that is, it's worse when you do it in life. It's like surfing the web of behavior options, looking for something to make you happier than you are at that particular moment. When you covet something, you embellish and empower it, making it more attractive and accessible. A one-night stand? You say, 'Nobody will ever know.' The Bible says, 'Do not be deceived; God is not mocked: for whatever a man sows, that also will he reap.' (Galatians 6:7 NKJV) As surely as a seed produces a harvest, your decisions will have consequences. Covetousness just maximizes the desire while minimizing the danger. It's impossible to dwell on a desire for any length of time without rationalizing a way to get it. Like starting the countdown on the space shuttle, it's just a matter of time before you get liftoff. So if you're dwelling on it, set the clock; yielding is inevitable. What's the answer? Change your focus! 'Those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit, the things of the Spirit.' (Romans 8:5 NKJV)
'He gave them their request, but sent leanness into their soul.' Psalm 106:15 NKJV
See if you recognize this pattern. As slaves in Egypt the Israelites pray, 'God, get us out of here!' So He does. Then in the wilderness, on their way to the Promised Land they say, 'God, we're going to die out here. We were better off in Egypt. At least there, we had all the food we wanted.' So God sends bread from Heaven. He even delivers it to their door. It was a diet so perfect that '...there was not one feeble person among [them].' (Psalm 105:37 KJV) Did that make them happy? No! They said, 'We're tired of this stuff, we want some prime rib.' So God says ok, '[I'll] give you meat, and you will eat it...until it comes out of your nostrils and you loathe it...' (Numbers 11:1820 NIV) Covetousness angers God because it is rooted in pride that says, 'I deserve better,' and ingratitude that says, 'I want something other than what You've blessed me with.' The saying goes, 'Be careful what you wish for, you just might get it.' Because they thought something else could satisfy them in a way that God couldn't, 'He gave them their request; but sent leanness into their soul.' With God, you can be satisfied with very little. Without Him, all your acquisitions and accomplishments will leave you empty. What are you coveting? Putting your life on hold for? Continually begging God for? Nothing is essential but God. Material things can never take His place. What will it take for you to come to that settled place where the central desire of your life is, 'God, I just want more of You.'
'...Be content with such things as you have...' Hebrews 13:5 NKJV
If your goals are God-centered, He will help you to achieve them. But if you are asking Him for something just because your neighbor has it, you'll be disappointed. The Bible says, '...No good thing will He withhold from them that walk uprightly.' (Psalm 84:11 NAS) When God withholds something from you, trust Him; He knows what He's doing. God loves you too much to give you what you're not ready for, can't handle, doesn't fit into His plan for your life, or will end up draining your energies and maybe even destroying you. When you covet something, make it essential to your happiness, and beg God to give it to you, you're asking Him to replace Himself with something you consider more important. When you do this, God may allow you to experience the consequences Israel suffered. 'He gave them their request; but sent leanness into their soul.' (Psalm 106:15 NKJV) Don't reach the end of your life only to look back with regret on a shattered marriage, children who've gone astray, a blighted conscience or the pain of realising you missed out on God's best. Our problem is not that we don't want God; it's that we want God - plus - a house by the sea, an impressive career, a perfect spouse, or whatever catches our fancy. That's why Jesus said, '...Take heed and beware of covetousness, for one's life does not consist in the abundance of the things he possesses.' (Luke 12:15 NKJV) Life is not built on things, it's built on relationships. And the first relationship you need to work on is your relationship with God.