October 21, 2017

Tenth Commandment

George Stiekes

Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor’s house. Exodus 20:17

Do not desire or lust after what belongs to someone else. To break this commandment is to be guilty of the sin of envy. Our humanistic society is geared toward this kind of behavior. For many people, it is no longer just a feeling of discontent but an obsession that can lead to financial ruin. It used to be referred to as keeping up with the Joneses. Businesses advertise in such a way to create envy. Go ahead, you are worth it! Politicians campaign on slogans that encourages coveting. Many people today are living in homes and driving expensive cars while deeply in debt.

Easy credit, a society that encourages instant gratification, the desire to show off our success and the NEED/DESIRE to have what other people have is nothing less than sin. That desire to keep up with the Joneses is a never ending struggle because there are always more wealthy Joneses.

It is God’s will that we be content in what God has purposed for our lives. But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and His righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you. Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. SUFFICIENT unto the day is the evil thereof (Matthew 6:33-34).

Can you imagine the epistles that we would not have today if the Apostle Paul struggled with this sin? He said, Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be CONTENT (Philippians 4:11). And having food and raiment let us be therewith CONTENT (I Timothy 6:8). It comes down to whether or not we are willing to trust God for His care in our lives.

Covetousness is not necessarily the desire for something evil. It could be for something good, but if it is something that belongs to your neighbor, then it is sin. Those who are free from this sin are those who have learned to see themselves in relationship to God and His will for their lives.

An interesting study that illustrates this matter is in the granting of spiritual gifts by the Holy Spirit of God (I Corinthians 12). The Spirit of God distributes these gifts to each individual, as he wills (I Corinthians 12:11). God chooses who gets what gifts and how we are to function in the body of Christ. Yet, there are some who covet the spiritual gifts of others. Inwardly, that is the same as telling God that He has let you down or that He does not know what He is doing. That is what happens when we covet what does not belong to us. If we are to truly trust God, then we must also trust what He is doing in our lives and what He has chosen to give us in this world.

Are you truly trusting and delighting in the Lord? But he that glorieth, let him glory in the Lord (II Corinthians 10:17). We need to learn contentment as did the Apostle Paul. Let his life and his dependency on the Lord encourage you today.


George Stiekes held successful pastorates in churches in Michigan and Washington among other places. He currently resides in North Carolina and blogs at Reverent Reflections. We recommend his ministry and republish his material by permission.


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