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You shall not covet your neighbor's house, your neighbor's wife, or his manservant, or his maidservant, or his ox, or his donkey, or anything that is your neighbor's.
(Ex. 20:17, AMP)
God gave us the Ten Commandments, not to cramp our style or to torture us, but to protect us from the worst in each other and from the devil and his maneuvering. As Jesus said, "Love fulfills all the Law" (Matt. 22:40). All the Commandments have to do with walking in love and respect toward God and each other—being a giver, not a taker.

The Lord commands us never to be covetous. Covetousness has nothing to do with what you have—it has to do with what else you think you ought to have. Covetousness is NOT a physical state—but it is a state of mind or heart. What you own is not direct evidence of your heart condition. It is possible to be wealthy, without being covetous, or be poor, and be very, very covetous. It is your heart attitude that determines your decisions and therefore how and where you end up.
For from within, [that is] out of the hearts of men, come base and wicked thoughts, sexual immorality, stealing, murder, adultery, coveting (a greedy desire to have more wealth), dangerous and destructive wickedness, deceit; unrestrained (indecent) conduct; an evil eye (envy), slander (evil speaking, malicious misrepresentation, abusiveness), pride (the sin of an uplifted heart against God and man), foolishness (folly, lack of sense, recklessness, thoughtlessness). All these evil [purposes and desires] come from within, and they make the man unclean and render him unhallowed.
(Mark 7:21-23, AMP)
Covetousness is a heart condition and it defiles those who tolerate it. Covetousness is a destructive force that destroys both the coveter and the person who is the object of his envy and jealousy. Covetousness leads to all kinds of sin, like envy, anger, hate, and murder. James 4:2 says, "You are jealous and covet [what others have] and your desires go unfulfilled; [so] you become murderers. [To hate is to murder as far as your hearts are concerned.] You burn with envy and anger and are not able to obtain [the gratification, the contentment, and the happiness that you seek], so you fight and war. You do not have, because you do not ask" (AMP).

What you are demonstrating when you covet what someone else has is that you have no faith in God to provide for you. God instructs you to tell Him what you want and ask Him to provide it, but you think that the only way to get what you want is to just take it yourself. Yes, God does say that you should put some effort in and work for what you want, but you must do it honestly. Have faith in God to bless the work of your hands and supply bread for you to eat and also seed to sow.

Actually, God promises to give you more than you personally need right now—He promises to provide for your future and fill your storehouse—but He also warns that if we trust in the riches in our storehouse that it would all rust and be corrupted and eaten by moths (James 5:1-6).

What you have is no reflection of who you are. You are not better than the next person if you have wealth and no worse if you don't. You are a better person if you glorify God with your wealth: if you share that wealth and if you use that wealth to do good things and to help and bless others.

"Weary not yourself to be rich; cease from your own [human] wisdom" (Prov. 23:4, AMP).

Cease from your own human wisdom. Don't wear yourself out running after earthly things. Don't make haste at any cost to be rich—the end does not justify the means. Don't love money and use people—love people and use money! Don't put your trust in money or possessions, because they are perishable and could be destroyed or taken from you, but God is incorruptible and eternal. He is always there to catch you and hold you. He promises to never fail you, never forsake you, never leave you helpless, or without support. He will never relax His grip on you!

The only way to break the back of the crippling force of covetousness in your life is to do things God's way–move in the opposite spirit and become a cheerful, generous giver!

Revival Ministries International
All rights reserved. Used by permission.

Author Biography

Rodney Howard-Browne
Web site: Revival Ministries International
Rodney and Adonica Howard-Browne, married since October 1981, spent the early part of their ministry traveling across southern Africa.

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