If we look at the 10th commandment it reads as follows
thou shalt not covet thy neighbor’s house, thou shalt not covet thy neighbor’s wife, nor his manservant, nor his maidservant, nor his ox, nor his ass, nor any that is thy neighbor’s.
When we begin to look at this it is important to reflect on the fact that a person’s desire has no limits, because desire itself is boundless.
In this commandment, God is asking us to erect some boundaries.
Personal boundaries help to limit our selfish inclination to control or manipulate others. Likewise, boundaries protect us from those who have no self-control and who wish to control us.
A person with clear, healthy boundaries communicates to others what is and is not permissible, saying, in effect, “This is my jurisdiction, and you have no right to interfere.”
Boundaries are about taking responsibility for our own lives.
God gives us freedom to choose to live within His boundaries or outside of them, and to live outside of God’s boundaries means to accept the consequences.
Living inside God’s boundaries brings blessing, and living outside of them brings destruction and death
For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.
If we go back to the beginning before man, we find the first example of the destructive nature of coveting.
Satan fell because he coveted something, he didn’t have…Power!
The catalyst for this event was driven by a desire to possess what rightly belongs to God, Human Worship.
So, Satan was covetous, and this led to an inflated level of self, followed by a loss of objectivity. Pride may have been the final manifestation but its root was in desire beyond what God had intended.
Its ok to want to better ourselves and indeed when we read the parable of the 5 Talents in Matthew 25 the Lord will Bless those who work to increase their knowledge and ability, but nowhere does it state that we can take a shortcut and gain glory off the work of others.
There is something very satisfying at being able to look back at our works and see the journey we have undertaken in partnership with God. Having a desire to take someone else’s path or take someone else’s glory exposes a lack of understanding or our inner self.
Another way of looking at this is to see the tenth commandment as the internalisation of the eighth commandment. “You must not steal”
Coveting is also a violation of the second great commandment.
Remember how Jesus summarised in Matthew 22:
22:36 Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.
22:37 This is the first and great commandment.
22:38 And the second is like unto it; Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself
Coveting fails to love your neighbour as yourself. When we’re covetous, we think only of what is good for us:
• what we would like,
• what would make us happy,
• what could make our lives better,
[1 John 5:18-19]
18 We know that whosoever is born of God continueth not in sin; but he that is begotten of God and keepeth himself, that wicked one overcometh him not.
19 And we know that we are of God, and the whole world lieth in wickedness.
The world system, with its contrived and deceitful scheme of phony values, worthless pursuits, and unnatural affections, is designed to lure us away from a pure relationship with God.
Our society is built on desire of what others have, be it money or celebrity, or health. The pull can be subtle at times but none the less desire is everywhere.
It is easy to blame our tendency to covert on the lust of human nature. It is certainly true, and if we carefully track our desires and rein them in before they overcome us, we will significantly increase our obedience to this commandment.
The excuses we give ourselves and others for coveting highlights that Unless we keep our conscience razor sharp, it is easily dulled by rationalization.
Can really say that we are genuinely happy with our position in the world and we want for nothing because we know and trust in the Lord to provide?