Q. 113. What is God’s will for you in the tenth commandment?
A That not even the slightest thought or desire contrary to any one of God’s commandments should ever arise in my heart. Rather, with all my heart I should always hate sin and take pleasure in whatever is right.
Coveting is a broad concept, but at its core coveting is the opposite of contentment and thanksgiving. The covetous person desires more and more, never pleased with what he or she has. The Scriptures use this word, covet, in a variety of ways. In some places we translate it as lust, in other places as desire, but here it is covet. Read and reflect upon the great scope God is covering when he commands us not to covet. Read Exodus 20:17, Proverbs 6:25, Mark 4:19 and 1John 2:16.
So how did Jesus fulfill this command not to covet? The spiritual antidote to coveting is contentment and thanksgiving. Jesus was perfectly willing to rest in the position and place that God assigned him. He prayed ‘not my will, but yours’, he praised the Lord in and out of season, and he withstood the temptation to turn rocks to bread – a sign of discontent with the present situation. Jesus trusted in the Lord radically and completely. Let us do the same, trusting that what we have is what God wants us to have. Read John 14:1.
So how can one be content? In a world full of so many choices and options with advertisers constantly trying to awaken the demon of desire within our bodies, how can we learn contentment? In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus answers that question. Read Matthew 6:25-34. The key to contentment in the present is focusing all our attention upon the Kingdom of God and his righteousness. When we focus upon serving God’s purposes and extending his reign to those in front of us, there is no time left for self-seeking adventures. Pray for the Lord to give you a single focus.
Read Hebrews 13:5. Contentment is a deep trust that Christ is present with us in the situation. Contentment rests in the belief that our Father is a caring and loving God who knows are true needs and is meeting every one of those. I am reminded of when I was a child earnestly coveting a fancy BMX bicycle, which I never received. My father provided a bicycle, just not the one I thought I needed. He knew my real needs and he knew what it took to develop character in my by not receiving every whim I had. 25 years later I am better for it. Had I truly believed in the loving presence of my earthly father at that time, my response then would have been different. Let us learn to truth in the compassionate care of our heavenly father, believing that we have all we need to live a fulfilling life in Christ today.
If we are to truly hate sin and all that is contrary to God’s law and to be completely focused upon Christ and the kingdom, then we must pray for a heart inclined to all that is good and right. Read Psalms 19:7-14 and 86:11-12.
There is one other prayer that will help us to keep this final commandment and that is the prayer of thankfulness. When we thank God for all the ways he has provided and sustained us, then the sheer desire to seek more is squelched. Suddenly, in thanksgiving, we recognize how unworthy we are to have all the blessings in life we currently have and such gifts are truly graces from God. Thanksgiving is the great cure for coveting. Read Hebrews 12:28, Colossians 3:15, 4:2 and 1Thessalonians 5:18.