And He said to them, “Take heed and beware of covetousness, for one’s life does not consist in the abundance of the things he possesses.” Luke 12:15
Covetousness, the greedy desire to have something, is so engrained in our lives that we hardly notice it anymore. So prevailing is the onslaught of advertising to our senses that we lose the awareness that we are being manipulated into want, desire, and greed. We get to the point that we simply must have “blank”—that thing that currently has our attention. And after that it will be something else. And it all seems perfectly normal, but it is not.
Covetousness is the appetite of the flesh. It goes way beyond physical hunger and, although it could include actual food to consume, it is a dysfunctional lust that can never be content, and is always looking for what is new, next, popular, exciting—something that will fill the void in my life, complete me, help my life make sense, give me status, wealth, influence, power.
Covetousness begins with, “If I only had _______, then…” And it’s not true, it’s a lie of the flesh to distract us from the simplicity of Christ, the beauty of creation, and the miracle of human relationship.
Let your conduct be without covetousness; be content with such things as you have. For He Himself has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” Hebrews 13:5 NKJV
The cure for covetousness is contentment. People who are truly content will be the healthiest, happiest, most untroubled people in the world. Because in the midst of the tsunami of “must have” technology, products, and change, they will be the rested ones, walking in the other direction, always headed toward helping people, and listening for God’s direction to bless, heal, and restore brokenness. The content live without worry because the main issue for them isn’t what they have, but Who they have, or, more precisely, Who has them. Their desire is the presence of Jesus, and He, Himself, promised to never leave, or forsake, His children.
Yet true godliness with contentment is itself great wealth. After all, we brought nothing with us when we came into the world, and we can’t take anything with us when we leave it. So if we have enough food and clothing, let us be content. 1 Timothy 6:6-8 NLT
True godliness with contentment is great wealth. If our basic needs are met and we are free to serve others, we are the richest people in the world. But if our drive to consume and greed for material things has left us with mountains of debt, we cannot be free, for we are enslaved to our debtors, to pay for all the things we thought, at the time, would make a lasting difference in our lives—in general, they did not, but we are left with the bill.
Begin by committing your ways to the Lord and repenting for a life of covetousness, ask for God’s help in slaying the dragon of greed that haunts and taunts you relentlessly. Then begin taking steps to pay off debtors, don’t be enslaved to them one moment longer that necessary, as long as you are, you will never be truly free. Then walk in love and service, honoring others and investing in people, no telling what shape that might take, but you will begin to heal and become content. Your joy, vision, and excitement for life will return and you will find God’s pleasure flood your spirit.
Dear one, turn away your eyes from worthless things, live simply, free from all debt, except to love one another, and cultivate an eagerness in your spirit to live the content, abundant, weatherproof, life, found only in Christ Jesus.
Give me an eagerness for your laws rather than a love for money! Turn my eyes from worthless things, and give me life through your word. Psalm 119:36-37 NLT