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Christian Living

Spiritual Life

What Is Coveting?

Coveting is an inordinate desire to have something that someone else has, whether it is an automobile, house, employee, wife, husband, or anything else. Coveting is a condition of the heart--an inner condition which ultimately leads to an outer offense. If someone covets something that someone else has, it can lead to lying, to bearing false witness, to committing murder, to stealing, or to any number of other crimes, even war between nations.

There are a finite number of houses, lands, automobiles, wives, and husbands in this world, so we are not permitted to desire what already belongs to someone else. Coveting is followed ultimately by a clash of wills, painful unhappiness, or open conflict. But God Himself is infinite, and His supply for His people is infinite. We need not covet what belongs to another. Instead, we can ask God to supply, peaceably and freely, the desires of our hearts.

We are permitted, however, to covet God Himself, to long for Him, because there is enough of Him for everyone. God is not diminished if one person "takes" a great share of Him. An equally great share is available for you and for everyone else in the world. So you can let all your desire for fulfillment be devoted toward desiring God. As Jesus put it, "Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you" (Matthew 6:33).

We must also guard against wanting to be another person. For instance, Billy Graham is a great man. But I am not Billy Graham and I cannot be. God did not choose me to do what Billy Graham does, nor did He choose Billy Graham to do what I do. I can do things he cannot do, and he can do things I cannot do. But if I desire to be him, and he wants to be me, then we both have serious trouble.

Some people are successful entertainers, some are businessmen, some are politicians, some are athletes, some are craftsmen. God gives talents, abilities, and situations that are suitable for each individual. We need to seek His perfect will for each one of us, not the career achievement of another.
To attempt to be someone else can set a person upon a false course which can lead to heartbreak, frustration, and even destruction.

Excerpt taken from Answers to 200 of Life's Most Probing Questions, Copyright 1984 by Pat Robertson. 

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