I was trained from childhood to want what other people have. If my brother had the exact Matchbox car I wanted there was going to be a fight. Of course the “exact” car I wanted was the one he had! Forget that there were 25 other cars lying on the floor, I had to have the one he had. There’s going to be a battle in our house tonight!
Now that I am older (and more mature!!!) I have grown up. Now, I want my neighbors BMW and conveniently look past the four wheels God has provided for me. Wanting what other people have is a joy killer. It makes me overlook the blessings in my life as I pursue things God has not given to me.
Greed and coveting are in the heart from birth. One of the marks of being human is to be discontent and wanting what other people have. Almost 40 years later I am still trying to trust God with my greedy heart.
Read: James 4:1-4
1 What is causing the quarrels and fights among you? Don’t they come from the evil desires at war within you? 2 You want what you don’t have, so you scheme and kill to get it. You are jealous of what others have, but you can’t get it, so you fight and wage war to take it away from them. Yet you don’t have what you want because you don’t ask God for it. 3 And even when you ask, you don’t get it because your motives are all wrong—you want only what will give you pleasure.
We must not covet. That is pretty clear. I am not to want other people’s stuff. I am not to be jealous of what others have.
Does anyone in the James 4 passage look happy? Look at the terms I highlighted. Yet that is a picture of the human heart out of control .... God's control. That is a human heart that knows no joy. Coveting and greed will kill joy.
It might be easier if we lived on a secluded island. Our marketing culture sells greed to us every day. One can hardly read the Sunday paper or watch TV without being bombarded with ads for things that I must have! A new car, new house, new body, more money, better clothes, nicer kids, a better vacation spot …. the list is endless. We are trained in greed. We compare our vacation with our friends to make sure we are winning. If not, we brood and mope. We spend money we don’t have to impress people we don’t like!
James tells us how to spot coveting and greed in our lives. If you see quarrelling and fighting among children, church members, husband and wife, friends and neighbors there is probably some link to greed and coveting. When we see quarrelling we are invited to pay attention. There might be some greed and jealousy involved. You might look hard and see that joy took a vacation as well.
Being content can be difficult. How is your content meter today? Are you at peace with who you are and what you have? Are you content in your marriage? Are you content with your job, car, church, friends, income level, vacation plans, etc.? Do you KNOW that God controls those things in your life? Do you KNOW that you are where you are and have what you have by the hand of God? God will never leave you nor forsake you so be content with what you have (Hebrews 13:5). If you have Him you have all you need!
“Father, help me to trust you with what I have. Help me to see You today and be satisfied with You alone. Help me to focus on Jesus. Help me to focus on the glory I will have in heaven (Col. 3:4). God I am very rich. Help me to be content with what I have and live in today not in the future. I choose to trust you. Be glorified. In Jesus name, amen.”
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