November 29 – 10 Commandments – Don’t Covet

Read Exodus 20:17

“Covet” is a strange word that is not used very much these days but is practiced all the time.  

According to the dictionary, “covet” is a verb that means “to yearn to possess or have something.”  God first lists your neighbor’s house and wife but goes on to include anything that belongs to your neighbor.  That can be possessions, positions in life, perceived happiness, talent, fame, or fortune. It goes beyond just the old practice of “keeping up with the Joneses.” It is a yearning, a feeling of intense longing for something.  

When feelings get intense, one usually takes action to get whatever it is they want.  Does that lead to adultery, robbery,  or despair? Despair leads to heartache and pain. The underlying cause is that one is not happy with their OWN life, talents, possessions, or status in life.

Hollywood is a multi-billion dollar business to make you covet the lives of their stars. Magazine covers, commercials, movies, tv and award shows are there to promote the “rich and famous.”  They are filled with pictures of grand mansions, beautiful clothes, thin bodies, luxury cars,  and diamond jewelry just to increase your yearning for more and more things. However, a closer look into the private lives of the rich and famous tells a completely different story of broken marriages, failed relationships, fake friendships, drugs, alcohol, and rehab and all for what?

There is nothing wrong with being inspired by people around you.  In fact, I remember thinking at my cousin’s college graduation, “If she can do it, so can I!”  So I went back to college and finished getting my degree!

Inspiration often means putting forth an effort to change or improve.   Inspiration + perspiration = success.  Coveting has the connotation of not earning what you want but wasting your time wishing for more and not being happy with what you do have. 

Some of the nicest and happiest people I know live in small homes, drive old cars, and their kids wear hand me down clothes. They might not have many material things, but they do have one thing that no amount of money can buy.  They have a close relationship with their Lord and Savior Jesus and their Heavenly Father! With that, they can close their eyes each night with a clear conscience and a blessed assurance that God is watching over them and their family.  No matter what life might throw their way, God is in control and will see them through it all.

Like George Bailey at the end of the movie, It’s a Wonderful Life, when he didn’t get all the things he THOUGHT he wanted and nearly lost everything he already HAD, he found out that, with all the people who loved him, he was the “richest man in the world.”

Don’t throw away what God has given you, searching for happiness next door when happiness is right there in your own back yard!

Give thanks for what you have!

Pat Arnold

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