You Must Not Covet

Romans 7:7-25

Well then, am I suggesting that the law of God is sinful? Of course not! In fact, it was the law that showed me my sin. I would never have known that coveting is wrong if the law had not said, “You must not covet.”[a] But sin used this command to arouse all kinds of covetous desires within me! If there were no law, sin would not have that power. At one time I lived without understanding the law. But when I learned the command not to covet, for instance, the power of sin came to life, 10 and I died. So I discovered that the law’s commands, which were supposed to bring life, brought spiritual death instead. 11 Sin took advantage of those commands and deceived me; it used the commands to kill me. 12 But still, the law itself is holy, and its commands are holy and right and good.

13 But how can that be? Did the law, which is good, cause my death? Of course not! Sin used what was good to bring about my condemnation to death. So we can see how terrible sin really is. It uses God’s good commands for its own evil purposes.

14 So the trouble is not with the law, for it is spiritual and good. The trouble is with me, for I am all too human, a slave to sin. 15 I don’t really understand myself, for I want to do what is right, but I don’t do it. Instead, I do what I hate. 16 But if I know that what I am doing is wrong, this shows that I agree that the law is good. 17 So I am not the one doing wrong; it is sin living in me that does it.

18 And I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my sinful nature.[b] I want to do what is right, but I can’t. 19 I want to do what is good, but I don’t. I don’t want to do what is wrong, but I do it anyway. 20 But if I do what I don’t want to do, I am not really the one doing wrong; it is sin living in me that does it.

21 I have discovered this principle of life—that when I want to do what is right, I inevitably do what is wrong. 22 I love God’s law with all my heart. 23 But there is another power[c] within me that is at war with my mind. This power makes me a slave to the sin that is still within me. 24 Oh, what a miserable person I am! Who will free me from this life that is dominated by sin and death? 25 Thank God! The answer is in Jesus Christ our Lord. So you see how it is: In my mind I really want to obey God’s law, but because of my sinful nature I am a slave to sin.

To covet means to wish for something earnestly, to desire inordinately (with no reasonable limits, excessive). To want is not a bad thing, but when it creates a desperate desire in us to do whatever it takes to get what we want, then we cross the line into sin.

I’ve been known to jokingly say “I will not covet, I will not covet…” when visiting other peoples homes who have things on my dream list: a farm, a 5 bedroom house with a basement, huge kitchen, open family room, office, ministry room, screened in porch, a river/bold creek that runs through the yard, etc. etc. etc. In essence, I am trying to convince myself to not cross that line! From past experience, I know that when I see something I want (these are all wants, mind you, not needs) my mind will begin going down that road of “why can’t I have this?” If ignored, a want can quickly turn into desire, then coveting. Left unchecked, coveting will breed an ungrateful heart towards God because I am convinced (by the enemy) that He is failing to give me what I think I need.

Coveting, however is not just exclusive to material things. It can also greatly affect our relationships. Usually, it begins with a subtle thought:

“I wish my husband did all the chores around the house like her husband does.”

“I wish our kids behaved like the Duggars- they’re perfect!”

“I wish our family could be involved in every homeschool co-op and field trip like that family (meaning= I wish we had more $ so we could do everything I want)”

“I wish our church had more music during the worship service, or kids activities, outreaches, healing services, bible studies— fill in the blank, like so and so’s church.”

“I wish our ministry made as much money as that persons so we could do it full time.”


1 Timothy 6:6-8

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.

Having lived through a season of unemployment with a family of 6 to sustain, I now understand the truth of this verse. All of the wants on my dream list paled in comparison to our needs for that year. Amazingly, God not only provided those (food and clothing)- He also supplied our wants for a home, electricity, water, sewer, gas, homeschool books, phones AND Netflix! Still, Gods miraculous provision during our time in the wilderness unfortunately didn’t make me immune to coveting. Hence, the reason why He highlighted these verses to me this morning. After a night of grumbling and complaining about some of the above mentioned, His word lovingly convicted me of my sin, re-focused my heart towards Him, and brought me back over to His side of the line where I belong.

Luke 12:24

24 Look at the ravens. They don’t plant or harvest or store food in barns, for God feeds them. And you are far more valuable to him than any birds!

Thank you, Father for loving me and valuing me above all of your creation.

Thank you for giving me a husband who is a man after your own heart.

Thank you for giving me 4 precious children who desire to know you.

Thank you for equipping me to train and teach our children at home- and giving us the opportunity to go on several field trips each year.

Thank you for giving us a home, cars, furniture, electronics, kitchen gadgets…

Thank you for giving us a church family who loves, encourages and rebukes us, when needed.

Thank you for allowing us to share our life story with other married couples- and witness your amazing love radically transform the broken lives of your children.

You are a good God.

You are Jehovah- Jireh.

You are all that I need.

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