‘Let your conduct be without covetousness…’ Hebrews 13:5

Covetousness. A mouthful to say, and pretty hard for God to swallow. What in the name of Moses does it mean though? Here’s an (all too everyday…) example for you: There’s a new iPhone out. Or car. Or bike. Or mate’s holiday that they’ve just announced. Or in fact anything that makes you lick those metaphorical lips and start wishing you had it. (It works with people too, not just objects – the commandment to “Not covet your neighbour’s wife” (Deut 5:21) is talking about exactly the same attitude…) Being greedy for money or possessions and doing pretty much anything to get it is covetousness in a nutshell. To recognise it in yourself when it pops up: it often begins with a craving, followed by schemes of how to get it. In the book of Hebrews it says, ‘Don’t be obsessed with getting more material things. Be relaxed with what you have. Since God assured us, “I’ll never let you down, never walk off and leave you”‘ (TM). Here’s a revolutionary idea. What if none of these things actually mattered? What if Jesus in you meant that you could take or leave any of those things and not be obsessed with them?… What would that do to your friendships? your walk with God? your self-image?… …See what God’s getting at here? Remember, what you have in Christ is not a patch on anything you’re without. What now? Collect all your receipts for a month or check out your most recent month’s bank statement and have a look at where most of your money’s going. Be real with God on what you need to cut out or spend less on.

The Bible says ‘Those who are dominated by the sinful nature think about sinful things, but those who are controlled by the Holy Spirit think about things that please the Spirit’ (Romans 8:5 NLT). Setting your eyes on something you don’t need or shouldn’t have is just inviting trouble into your life. Just like you don’t need to stuff your face when you’re not hungry, you don’t need what isn’t up to God’s standard or measure. Remember, ‘Obsession with self in these matters is a dead end; attention to God leads us out into the open, into a spacious, free life’ (Romans 8:7 TM). What now? In your time with God today, focus on thanking Him for all the things you do have rather than asking Him for the things you don’t. It’ll do you good!

Source: Culled from SALM’s article in the Chronicle newspaper.

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