From the JAR – The 10 Commandments (Do not Covet)

Exodus 20:17 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 thing that is thy neighbor’s.

10 Basic Rules for Life


  • To covet is to wish to have the possessions of others
  • It goes beyond simply admiring someone else’s possessions or thinking, I’d like to have one of those
  • Coveting includes envy resenting the fact that others have what you don’t
  • God knows however, that possessions never make anyone happy for long
  • Since only God can supply all our needs, true contentment is found only in him
  • When you begin to feel covetous, try to determine if a more basic need is standing behind your envy.  For example, you may covet someone’s success, not because you want to take it away from him, but because you would like to feel as appreciated by others as he is.  If this is the case, pray that God will help you deal with your resentment and meet your basic needs *1
  • Jesus says that the good life has nothing to do with being wealthy, so beware of covetousness (greedy desire for what we don’t have)
  • This is the exact opposite of what society usually says
  • Advertisers spend millions of dollars to entice us to think that if we buy more and more of their products, we will be happier, more in tune, more comfortable
  • How do you respond to the constant pressure to buy?
  • Learn to tune out expensive enticements and concentrate on the truly good life–living in a relationship with God and doing his work *2
  • Despite almost overwhelming evidence to the contrary, most people still believe that money brings happiness
  • Rich people craving greater riches can be caught in an endless cycle that only ends in ruin and destruction
  • How can you keep away from the love of money?
  • Paul gives us some guidelines:
    • realize that one day riches will all be gone (1 Tim. 6:7, 17)
    • be content with what you have (1 Tim. 6:8)
    • monitor what you are willing to do to get more money (1 Tim. 6:9, 10)
    • love people more than money (1 Tim. 6:11)
    • love God’s work more than money (1 Tim. 6:11)
    • freely share what you have with others 1 Tim. 6:18)
  • This is the key to spiritual growth and personal fulfilment
  • We should honor God and center our lives on him (godliness, see Matthew 6:33)
  • And we should be content with what God is doing in our lives (contentment, see Philippians 4:11-13) *3
  • Having too much money can be dangerous, but so can having too little
  • Being poor can, in fact, be hazardous to spiritual as well as physical health
  • On the other hand, being rich is not the answer
  • As Jesus pointed out, rich people have trouble getting into God’s Kingdom (Matthew 19:23, 24)
  • Like Paul, we can learn how to be abassed or how to abound (Philppians 4:12), but our lives are more likely to be effective if we have neither too much nor too little money *4

Ref. Verses:

Luke 12:15

Rom. 7:7 – 14; 13:8 – 10

Eph. 5:3 – 7

1 Tim. 6:6-10

Heb. 13:5

Proverbs 30:7-9

*1 Notes from Life Application Study Bible notes on Exodus 20:17, pg.143

*2 Notes from Life Application Study Bible notes on Luke 12:15, pg. 1751

*3 Notes from Life Application Study Bible notes on 1 Timothy 6:6-10

*4 Notes from Life Application Study Bible notes on Proverbs 30:7-9, pg. 1124


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