If you asked me yesterday, “what does covet mean?”, my reply would have been “use it in a sentence?….Oh yeah, I know what it means….Jealousy!”.
…mistake numero 1
Today for some reason, my haphazard definition was not enough for the Holy Spirit.
Covet is one of those archaic terms that I associate with ‘archaic sins’ in the Bible. You know those Old Testament rules we happily skim past in the Bible once they mention rituals or sacrificing an Ox (I mean, where would I come across one of those in 2016?).
Honestly, I breathe a sigh of relief when I skim those passages because it is one less thing I need to worry about as it is not ‘practical’ in today’s world. After, I quickly dismiss the guilt (a very tiny amount) that follows with the automated answer most Christians like to give: ‘Jesus, came so that we would be free from the Law of Moses’.
…mistake numero 2
Matthew 5:17, 19
17 Don’t misunderstand why I have come. I did not come to abolish the law of Moses or the writings of the prophets. No, I came to accomplish their purpose.
19 So if you ignore the lease commandment and teach others to do the same, you will be called the least in the Kingdom of Heaven. But anyone who obeys God’s laws and teaches them will be called great in the Kingdom of Heaven. (NLT)
….*no more guesses, dictionary please*
Covet – yearn to possess (something, especially something belonging to another) (Oxford)
The Bible refers to coveting in the 10 Commandments in Exodus 20:17:
17 “You shall not covet your neighbor’s house. You shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, or his male or female servant, his ox or donkey, or anything that belongs to your neighbor.”
Covet! Covet! Covet! Coveting is not limited to your actual next-door neighbour and although the term gives off archaic vibes, that does not mean we should dismiss its relevancy in 2016.
Coveting includes desiring for yourself possessions, influence, status, beauty, clothes, attributes etc… especially those that belong to someone else, even a stranger.
Instagram is the perfect breeding ground for covetousness and I am sure the devil knows all about the app:
Job 1:7 “Where have you come from? the LORD asked satan. satan answered the Lord, “I have been patrolling the earth, watching everything that is going on.” (NLT)
However, the mundanity of scrolling through pictures only for a few minutes (who are we kidding, hours) may not convince you. The impact at first is unobtrusive to our daily lives, however, one can easily loose track of time getting lost in the sensation of looking at other people’s lives (through something as simple as pictures) and come away desiring something (no matter how small or trivial) of what they have.
- a smaller nose (pre-contouring)
- a bigger butt (a very popular one this year)
- one more ab (or depending on your current ab-situation, a whole set)
- a nicer car
- nicer clothes
- better looking face (both guys and girls)
- or even being able to take better pictures (whether it be of exotic fruit or selfies)
The suffix ‘er’ suggests more of what we have already or upgrade. Our discontent (no matter what scale, is still discontent) is how we dishonour God: we want a more attractive version of the things He has already given to us. Adding insult to injury, we now heap on requests for things we do not need.
Alternatively, our prayer requests may seem genuine, yet He knows our hearts. Prayer: “God, please give me more access to money”. He searches your heart for why and knows that it is so you can possess things that will impress others.
This scenario is just based on coveting the things we see on social media alone.
1st John 2:16 refers to this desire via visual stimuli as “the lust of the eyes“. The craving for the things you see. That faint pang of ‘oh I wish I had that or looked like them‘ that we feel after roaming Instagram.
As menial as it seems, these are opportunities that the devil uses to tempt us. This idiot relies on visual images to stimulate our covet desires hoping to tempt us.
The devil used visual stimuli in an attempt to tempt Jesus in the desert.
The devil took Jesus to a high mountain and “showed Him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory.
9 And he said to Him, “All these things I will give to You if You will fall down and worship me.” Matthew 4:8- 9 (NKJV)
The purpose of this ‘spectacular’ view was to incite Jesus to covet power outside of God’s realm and cause Him to sin by denouncing His Father.
Our God has power in the Heavens and Earth; He can act in both realms at His displeasure without lying, cheating or deceiving (à la Joanne the Scammer lool).
The devil could only offer Jesus possessions and power localised to earth because he does not have supreme authority in the Spiritual realm, his reach is only limited to the earth. Even then, we are told “this world is fading away, along with everything that people crave” (1st John 2:17).
That includes the worldly things we covet.
kingdoms of world or Kingdom of Heaven… that is a no brainer