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Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Thou shall not covet

I usually don't blog about this type of thing, but something I heard at church this past week really spoke to me and I thought I'd share.
The sermon was from Exodus 20:17 - which is the commandment to not covet.
Coveting is defined as an unhealthy longing for something that does not belong to us.
And the part that spoke most to me was the following:
The things we covet will let us down. They will fail us; they will never last. And even if we reach them, they won't satisfy.
Notice how the people we look at as 'having it all' seem to still want more? That's the part that made me think, and has kept me thinking this week.
The more free we think we will become with achieving more, the less free we actually are. And we eventually will find that we are being controlled by those desires - fighting to hold onto the things and status that we gain through those efforts.
The bottom line is that only Christ can satisfy the deep longings of our hearts. The contentment with Jesus (once one has that) does not fade. The acceptance with Christ only gets better and better. The example that was given is to look at the picture of marriage with time: acceptance grows.
Looking deeper into my heart, I find myself struggling with my desires for certain 'things' - and living in LA doesn't help my focus. I'm surrounded by millions of people scrambling for status, wealth, homes, daycare, jobs, honor, glory, good looks, fancy cars, parking spots, and the like. I find myself swimming in desires for what isn't mine. Coveting.
And so my thoughts are settling here: I know that I cannot stop my desire for the things of this world just by deciding to do so. I need to replace it with something more powerful.
I need to think more about how God has brought us to the place where he wants us to be. And be content with that. And enjoy what He has blessed us with in this moment today.

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As a 'recovering Catholic' I don't consider myself a Christian, per se, but I resonate very deeply with the concept that you discussed. I work in a very affluent area, with people who have many, many things and I know first hand how easy it is to start to want and want and resent what you don't have. For me personally, focusing on my deep and genuine gratitude for what I do have in this life is curative. I also remember that it isnt' fair to 'compare in my head' only the aspects I like. In other words, I tell myself if I'd like to have their money/things, I'd also have to take everything ELSE about them as well...that usually does the trick.

Great thoughts.


I find that during the 40 days of Lent, the Church really helps us with this whole coveting thing. We are reminded with ashes on Ash Wednesday that we are dust - that we will die someday. The things we have in this world are gifts from God and should be used for His glory. We aren't going to be judged on WHAT we have, but HOW we used it to build His kingdom. Fasting and abstinence also really help me realize how blessed I am, and it helps me to be thankful for all the things I have.

Your words, "I need to replace it with something more powerful." made me think of this meditation:


At the risk of monopolizing the comment box, I wanted to point out that advertisers spend millions to convince us that we want and need all this stuff that we end up coveting. The media certainly doesn't help as they tell us what to think and feel, as written about quite humorously, here:

A final thought, in the words of VeggieTales' Madame Blueberry, who learns that stuff won't make her happy, "A happy heart is a thankful heart".


Stephanie said pretty much everything I was thinking...

I would add that when "the coveting" threatens to overcome me, I like to listen to John Lennon's "Imagine."

"Imagine no possessions, I wonder if you can. No need for greed or hunger, a brotherhood of man..."



Couldn't have written it better myself. =)


I loved your blog. I am quickly writing a short response to you as we are driving to Oregon later tonight and still need to pack. It pleases me to see the depth of your insight to the superficial outlook that most people have to life and what is of importance to them. I love to see that you really have grown spiritually and can view the world about you with a perspective of Godly values so much is just noise about us. I love you and am proud of you. Mummy


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