Controlling Our Desires


Exodus 20:17 Thou shalt not covet

Introduction: The tenth commandment, in a certain way, sums up all the others. Yet, in fact, it is different from all others. The other commandments are concerned with visible acts. This commandment is concerned with inward desires. The other commandments forbid the act of sin--this commandment forbids the desire to sin.

The word "covet," in its original meaning implies delight in some object. To covet means to desire that which belongs to someone else. To covet, also means to desire to possess that which is not lawfully obtainable.

Back of all covetousness is selfishness, which is the root of all evil. Isaiah 53:66.

I. The Bible Message on Covetousness. Luke 12:15; Mark 7:2l-23; I Cor. 6:9, l0; Ephesians 5:5.

A. Note that a covetous person is an idolater and that such a person will not enter Heaven because his heart is on earthly things.

B. Note what the commandment says: You are not to covet your:

1. Neighbor's house. (Any real estate he owns.)

2 Neighbor's wife.

3. Neighbor's servants.

4. Ox or ass. (Personal property.)

5. Nor anything which belongs to anyone else. It's not wrong to wish for the better things of life but sin comes in when we wish for that which belongs to someone else. I Timothy 6:10. Covetousness causes many sorrows.

II. The Marks of a Covetous Man.

A. His thoughts are wholly taken up with this world.

B. His conversation is all about this world.

C. He is willing to exchange his soul for material things. Luke 9:23-25; 12:16.21.

D. His heart is so set on the world that he will do anything to get it. Eg. Ahab and Naboth. (I Kings 21.) David and Bathsheba. (II Samuel 11)

III. COVETOUSNESS CAUSES US TO BREAK THE OTHER NINE COMMANDMENTS

IV, The One Substitute for Covetousness -- Christ.

A. Replace the desire for physical material things in the heart with the Lord Jesus Christ.

A certain Christian man was very poor, but he loved Christ devotedly. He was given a trip to New York City. His first day was spent in sight-seeing. When the exciting day was over, he went down upon his knees and said, AOh, Lord, I want to thank Thee that I have not seen a single thing today that I want." Yes, the man who has Christ in his heart is a contented man. Rev. 3:20; Mark 1:16-20.