21 “You shall not covet your neighbor’s wife. You shall not set your desire on your neighbor’s house or land, his male or female servant, his ox or donkey, or anything that belongs to your neighbor.” (Dt. 5:21)
1 What causes fights and quarrels among you? Don’t they come from your desires that battle within you? 2 You desire but do not have, so you kill. You covet but you cannot get what you want, so you quarrel and fight. You do not have because you do not ask God. 3 When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures. (James 4:1-3)
20 He went on: “What comes out of a person is what defiles them. 21 For it is from within, out of a person’s heart, that evil thoughts come—sexual immorality, theft, murder, 22 adultery, greed, malice, deceit, lewdness, envy, slander, arrogance and folly. 23 All these evils come from inside and defile a person.” (Mark 7:20-22)
Thoughts: Jesus said that the sins we commit on the outside begin on the inside. If we get our inside cleaned up, the outside will be more controlled. Jesus did not mention coveting by name, but he had a lot to say about it. He spoke about worry (Mt. 6); he spoke about having your heart set on the wrong treasure; he spoke about having our outside appear clean when our inside is not; he warned that anger is murder; lust is adultery. Coveting is similar to stealing from the inside.
James says that coveting causes fights and quarrels. Coveting is interior selfishness. It is wanting for me what you already have. It looks to our own interest instead of the interest of others (Phil. 2:3,4).
Prayer: Lord, forgive my selfishness and covetousness. Help me to be more giving, more kind, more considerate.
Quote from John Calvin:
“God wills our souls to be disposed to love, therefore we must banish all desires contrary to love.”