Romans 7:7-8 – “What shall we say then? Is the Law sin? May it never be! On the contrary, I would not have come to know sin except through the Law; for I would not have known about coveting if the Law had not said, “You shall not covet.” 8 But sin, taking opportunity through the commandment, produced in me coveting of every kind; for apart from the Law sin is dead.” NASB
When I consider the Ten Commandments, I find some interesting truths interwoven in those declarations, directives, and prohibitions. I have studied them individually and collectively and concluded that the last commandment is the heart of all the other commandments. I believe that this commandment is the summation of all the others. That may sound strange and you may insist that it is nothing of the sort.
I suggest that if covetousness could be defined as the ‘want to’. We can keep all the commandments, in a measure, by willpower, but not the last one. Covetousness deals with our wanting to do something. We may want to bear false witness but resist because we know it is the right thing to do. We may want to steal but refrain because it is wrong to steal. We may be tempted with lust and want to engage in adulty or fornication but refrain because we know it is a violation of God’s moral code.
I do not believe you can truly deal with the matter of covetousness by willpower. It is a matter of the heart! It is a matter of the ‘want to.’ If I want what you have, lust after what you have whether it is your possession, position, or wife, I have violated that commandment. I may not steal, lie, or engage in inappropriate and illegitimate sexual behavior but I ‘wanted to.’ Therefore, I have coveted.
I may not acknowledge any God but the LORD. I may not create an idol and worship it. I may not take God’s name in vain. I may honor the Sabbath with perfection. I may use all the right words and do the right things concerning my parents. I may not kill anyone, commit adulty, steal or lie. That is great and commendable but if I had it in my heart to do any of those, I have fallen short in Covetousness.
Remember Jesus said in Matthew 22:40 that the two commandments referring to loving God and our neighbor was the foundation for the entire Law and Prophets. Simply, if I LOVE YOU, I will not covet what you have. I will not kill you if I love you. In fact, I will not want to kill you. I may disagree with you and be the polar opposite on issues, but I will not want to harm you. I will not lie about you or to you if I love you. I will not desire to have an illicit affair. If I love God, I need no prohibition about idolatry, the Sabbath, or honoring Him. If I love Him, I WANT TO do those things.
Covetousness has to do with the WANT TO not the ability to restrain myself. That causes me to contend that Covetousness is the Root of Sin. That is the base cause of Wars between nations. Covetousness breeds jealousy and greed and those engender a willingness to commit acts against others that violate God’s moral law.
It is a heart issue and only God can change the heart. I believe that one of the signs that a person has been born again is revealed in their WANT TO!
God bless you as you enjoy this day in Him!