Monday, April 19, 2010

Thou Shalt Not Covet

"You shall not covet your neighbor's house. You shall not covet your neighbor's wife, or his manservant or maidservant, his ox or donkey, or anything that belongs to your neighbor."
Exodus 20:17



When I was a little girl reading those words, I found them to be very odd.
Why would I covet my friend's donkey?
No one I knew had a donkey anyways. I mean, maybe I'd covet someone's pony, but no one had a pony either.
So, what's the deal, God?

Obviously, as I grew older, I began to understand this command's relevance to my life. Honestly, though, for a long time, it really wasn't up on my list of things I struggled with. Maybe, in a way, I was too focused on myself to notice what other people had around me. I didn't covet too much because I was just concerned with me me me.

Over time, the struggle has certainly become apparent.

It started small. It was imperceptible at first. I let the sin take root because I wasn't on guard for it. It was normal to strive towards something else, right? Then suddenly, I was caught in a cacophony of wants, a web of voices clogging my brain and sapping my energy....

I want her skinny legs I wish I had those boots Why can't we have a baby yet I wish we had enough money to buy a house I wish I looked like that -Then I would be happy- If only I enjoyed my job I wish we had more money If only I could eat wheat like a normal person -Then I would be happy- Why wasn't I born in California I want to move to New Hampshire Why do they get to have babies now Why can't we be in a more stable financial situation I wish I could've "made it" as an actress It would be easier if I had naturally red hair I just want to fit into my size 2's again -Then I would be happy-


It's not edifying in any way.
It doesn't help me spiritually, it doesn't help my husband, and it doesn't lift up the person I covet. I am sinning against God, and against that person, when I indulge in these thoughts.

I've found that the absolute only way to combat these coveting thoughts is to pray. It's sounds so cliche--how could it possibly work, right? But it's true. Confessing might help a bit too, but sometimes confessing to that person might only make things worse. Some things they don't have to know. Maybe confess it to another friend, a family member, a significant other, etc. Sometimes signing off of Facebook helps me (no joke). But overall, I've found the only way for my insides to shift and have a different attitude is to pray for the Spirit's power to change me. Just try it. And trust. See what happens.

Friends, we have to let these things go, and the first step in doing so is naming and denouncing them. Holding on to these things will only embitter us. God has his own purpose for each one of us, and we need to "be content whatever the circumstances" (Philippians 4:11).

Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
Philippians 4:4-7


Guard my heart, Lord!
And let YOUR desires be MY desires.
Amen and Amen!

6 comments:

  1. That is like how Rob wanted to suddenly have an extra car on hand and I told him, "We don't need more than one." and he gave a bit of an argument and tried to pull out the positives of another car, but it didn't work. haha. He gave into my ideals on it.

    It is true that we always want something more or something else, etc. Confessing it seriously is the best way as you stated it and then people can help encourage you to be more content. I must say that when I was hoping to have a family right after getting married, I too though, "why" because I knew 33 people in the course of 9 months who all had babies or got pregnant but not ME. It made me so down in the dumps for a while. Then once I stopped strssing about it I was blessed. I'm not saying that will be the answer for you, but I think often about how there are verses saying how it is easier on one to not have children. ah, where are they. Sorry I am typing so fast as my boys are playing next to me. Basically as stated before, the Lord sees the desires of our hearts and will bless us as HE feels is best for us. He does bless us all in different ways.

    Sorry if my legs are so skinny. I always hated them and now I am content. I am sure you didn't mean me, but There is always another story on the other side. You are one gorgeous lady, and I hope you realize how perfect you are because God made you the way He wanted you to be!! I try to love myself with all these pregnancy scars I have which is hardest, but I am dealing with that slowly. I think my scars are the only issue I have on myself (zit and pregnancy). They are a part of who I am now. I think I'd be extremely vain if I didn't have them. No, I know I'd be really bad with vanity if that were the case.

    Anyway am I going off topic? I am sure you pray often that the Lord will help you deal with these issues that you feel about wanting something more. It is so cool that He knows so much more of a better perspective than we can fathom.

    Anyway for coveting, one thing is that I think it is GOOD to covet things like people's faith in Jesus or how they follow Him or give their lives up for Him. . .that would be something good to want overall. I covet that daily . . maybe that's bad since I am still coveting? I also tend to covet having less and less. . .I'm going to have another large sale of things soon too because of it.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Whew. So honest, you're right, I think it is important to name and confess these to God. They can be so quiet, almost subconscious whispers that we aren't even aware of until they become this big ugly bitterness. I really struggled with this when I couldn't get pregnant, I would be so resentful toward women who had babies. I actually thought that God was going to teach me to be content before he blessed me with a child; He didn't, He chose to bless me anyway, and I have such a long way to go in learning to be content with HIM as my ALL IN ALL. We do need his spirit!!

    ReplyDelete
  3. Victoria, don't apologize about your legs being skinny. :-P It wasn't you in particular; I just have a serious problem with secretly coveting the body of anyone who is thinner than I am. It's really an awful, toxic way to live....but it is so ingrained in my head that sometimes I don't even realize I'm doing it. Thank God he has opened my eyes a bit more so that I am aware of it now.

    So it appears that many women struggle with wanting to be pregnant, and struggle with the envy of those who have children already. I know we're not ready, but I just wish we were.

    Evie, it must have been so hard for you. :( Your comment really struck me - hit home - because it's so true of the Lord to bless us even when we know we are so undeserving. I totally felt that way about Elliott coming into my life. The time that he did, I was absolutely separated from God and consumed by my sins to the point of complete depression. And I was never, ever single... and figured God would "make me" be single for a long time before I got married...you know, to learn my lesson and all. And in the midst of my complete rebellion, he gave me Elliott. Totally, utterly undeserved. It made me encounter the grace of God on a whole new level.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Victoria, don't apologize about your legs being skinny. :-P It wasn't you in particular; I just have a serious problem with secretly coveting the body of anyone who is thinner than I am. It's really an awful, toxic way to live....but it is so ingrained in my head that sometimes I don't even realize I'm doing it. Thank God he has opened my eyes a bit more so that I am aware of it now.

    So it appears that many women struggle with wanting to be pregnant, and struggle with the envy of those who have children already. I know we're not ready, but I just wish we were.

    Evie, it must have been so hard for you. :( Your comment really struck me - hit home - because it's so true of the Lord to bless us even when we know we are so undeserving. I totally felt that way about Elliott coming into my life. The time that he did, I was absolutely separated from God and consumed by my sins to the point of complete depression. And I was never, ever single... and figured God would "make me" be single for a long time before I got married...you know, to learn my lesson and all. And in the midst of my complete rebellion, he gave me Elliott. Totally, utterly undeserved. It made me encounter the grace of God on a whole new level.

    ReplyDelete
  5. That is like how Rob wanted to suddenly have an extra car on hand and I told him, "We don't need more than one." and he gave a bit of an argument and tried to pull out the positives of another car, but it didn't work. haha. He gave into my ideals on it.

    It is true that we always want something more or something else, etc. Confessing it seriously is the best way as you stated it and then people can help encourage you to be more content. I must say that when I was hoping to have a family right after getting married, I too though, "why" because I knew 33 people in the course of 9 months who all had babies or got pregnant but not ME. It made me so down in the dumps for a while. Then once I stopped strssing about it I was blessed. I'm not saying that will be the answer for you, but I think often about how there are verses saying how it is easier on one to not have children. ah, where are they. Sorry I am typing so fast as my boys are playing next to me. Basically as stated before, the Lord sees the desires of our hearts and will bless us as HE feels is best for us. He does bless us all in different ways.

    Sorry if my legs are so skinny. I always hated them and now I am content. I am sure you didn't mean me, but There is always another story on the other side. You are one gorgeous lady, and I hope you realize how perfect you are because God made you the way He wanted you to be!! I try to love myself with all these pregnancy scars I have which is hardest, but I am dealing with that slowly. I think my scars are the only issue I have on myself (zit and pregnancy). They are a part of who I am now. I think I'd be extremely vain if I didn't have them. No, I know I'd be really bad with vanity if that were the case.

    Anyway am I going off topic? I am sure you pray often that the Lord will help you deal with these issues that you feel about wanting something more. It is so cool that He knows so much more of a better perspective than we can fathom.

    Anyway for coveting, one thing is that I think it is GOOD to covet things like people's faith in Jesus or how they follow Him or give their lives up for Him. . .that would be something good to want overall. I covet that daily . . maybe that's bad since I am still coveting? I also tend to covet having less and less. . .I'm going to have another large sale of things soon too because of it.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Whew. So honest, you're right, I think it is important to name and confess these to God. They can be so quiet, almost subconscious whispers that we aren't even aware of until they become this big ugly bitterness. I really struggled with this when I couldn't get pregnant, I would be so resentful toward women who had babies. I actually thought that God was going to teach me to be content before he blessed me with a child; He didn't, He chose to bless me anyway, and I have such a long way to go in learning to be content with HIM as my ALL IN ALL. We do need his spirit!!

    ReplyDelete

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