May 29, 2017
When our oldest daughter, Dominique, was in elementary school, she saw a friend come into school wearing a cast and using a wheelchair. Dominique noticed all the attention and special privileges that were showered on her friend. You probably went through a similar experience as a kid. Dominique began wishing she had an injured leg so she could enjoy that “greener” life on the other side. Maybe that is what the saying “see green with envy” means.
In the past, we talked about coveting – the desire to have something that isn’t ours. Today, I want to look at coveting from a different angle. Coveting is strongly focusing on something that someone else possesses … in fact, focusing so much so that it distracts you from enjoying what God has given you.
The flip side of coveting what others possess is being content with what you do have. We often spend so much time looking over the fence at another yard and wishing our grass were that green … to the point that we forget to enjoy playing in our own yard. So many wonderful things are in our own backyard. Unfortunately, we get obsessed with wanting the next best trinket or gadget instead of maximizing what we already have. Why is it so hard to be thankful and enjoy the blessings God has already given us?
Now think about this. When we covet, the bigger sin we commit is believing that God made a mistake. We think that God doesn’t really know us and doesn’t know what is best for our future growth. Satan wants us to believe God forgot to give us what we need … that He actually withheld what we deserve … that we are worthy of more … that we know the future better than God. Our me-centered self is easily sucked into that trap on a regular basis.
Remember, coveting isn’t yearning to be a better person. That’s normal and healthy. Coveting is about not being thankful for what you have, not focusing on how to be a great steward of what you have, especially with your most important possession: your relationship with God.
Today, focus on what God has given you, and not on what He gave to someone else. Specifically, commit to not paying attention to what other people have. Repeat after me: “God hasn’t given me that now because: 1. I have plenty on my plate; 2. I am not yet equipped to handle it well; 3. It really isn’t good for me; 4. My focus will be on it and not God; or 5. God never makes a mistake, so accept it. My grass really is the best shade of green for me, and I will focus on it, be a great steward of it, and enjoy it.” Whether you spend your time enjoying what God has given you, or you waste time coveting the possessions of others is your decision, so choose well.
Dear Father God, I know You know what is best for me. Forgive my disbelief in Your provision and will for me. Help me to submit to Your plan and timeline. I want to focus on the blessings You have given me. I want to resist the temptation to focus on what others have. Thanks for all You have given me. I pray this and all prayers in the name of the One who focused on You alone, Jesus Christ; and all God’s children say – AMEN!
Then Moses said to the people “Remember this day in which you came out from Egypt, out of the house of slavery, for by a strong hand the LORD brought you out from this place. No leavened bread shall be eaten. Today, in the month of Abib, you are going out. And when the LORD brings you into the land of the Canaanites, the Hittites, the Amorites, the Hivites, and the Jebusites, which he swore to your fathers to give you, a land flowing with milk and honey, you shall keep this service in this month. When Pharaoh let the people go, God did not lead them by way of the land of the Philistines, although that was near. For God said, “Lest the people change their minds when they see war and return to Egypt.” But God led the people around by the way of the wilderness toward the Red Sea. And the people of Israel went up out of the land of Egypt equipped for battle.
Exodus 13:3-5, 17-18
Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.