Beware of Covetousness

Where this command is found:

“And he said unto them, Take heed, and beware of covetousness: for a man’s life consisteth not in the abundance of the things which he possesseth.”

Luke 12:15

It is said that a rich man was once asked, “If you could have anything in the world that would make you happy, what would it be?” He answered, “Just a little more money”. As we think of this simple story, we can begin to realize that our fulfillment in life doesn’t ultimately come from our earthly possessions. While Scripture is clear that it is “God who giveth us richly all things to enjoy” (1 Timothy 6:17), He never intended for us to make temporal things more important than Himself.

Picture a little girl who has a fake pearl necklace. This necklace means so much to her and she sees no way of ever parting with it. However, one day her daddy who she loves dearly comes and asks her if he can have the necklace and replace it with something better. Not fully knowing what he could possibly replace it with, she now finds herself in a dilemma. She loves her dad and wants to trust him, but struggles to give up her prized possession.

He comes back to her day by day kindly and patiently asking the same question. Little does she know that her daddy has already purchased a genuine pearl necklace and is wanting to give it to her in place of the old. However, he cannot do this unless she comes to a place of trust and surrender.

So many times we as believers can struggle in the same way. We get so attached to the things of this world that we lose sight of being created for something and Someone far more important than anything this temporal world could ever offer. Because of our selfishness and failure to agree with the Word of God that declares we have been crucified with Christ, we choose to identify with the world and the lusts of it. Yet we don’t realize that the longer our eyes are off Jesus and on the things of this world, we begin to walk down a treacherous road that leads to a life of covetousness.

Jesus knew mankind’s tendency towards falling prey to this trap, so in Luke 12:15 He commanded His disciples to be aware of covetousness. But why is covetousness so dangerous? In the same verse where we get this command, Jesus gives a clue to the answer by stating, “for a man’s life consisteth not in the abundance of the things which he possesseth.” Covetousness takes our eyes off the eternal and places them on the temporal. The temporal is the here and now that will soon pass away while the eternal will last forever.

If we fix our eyes on just the temporal, we will miss the opportunity to lay up treasures in Heaven and be hindered in experiencing the present, fulfilling joy that only Jesus can bring. So what is the answer to a covetous focus? Simply put, it starts with treasuring the Word of God in your heart. In Matthew 6:21, Jesus says, “For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.” If we want our heart to be set on eternal things, we must treasure the eternal One and what He says is of eternal value. We can do this by choosing to set our mind upon the Word of God and focus on what He says is most valuable. Slowly but surely, the Spirit of God will use the Word of God to replace our covetous focus and we will begin to experience true contentment in Christ.

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Beware of Covetousness: Part 1

Culture pressures constantly with messages that we need more stuff. The hidden message is that our identity comes through our possessions and social status.


Beware of Covetousness: Part 2

God warns us against covetousness because of His great love for us. Covetousness causes us to seek after temporal things that only bring emptiness and death.


Beware of Covetousness: Part 3

As believers, we need to make sure we don’t derive our identity or value from our paycheck or possessions — if we do, we will always be covetous for more!