‘You shall not covet your neighbor’s wife; and you shall not desire your neighbor’s house, his field, his male servant, his female servant, his ox, his donkey, or anything that is your neighbor’s.’ — Deuteronomy 5:21
What do you desire most in your life right now? For some reason, the tenth commandment has always seemed to me as kind of the weakest commandment. It almost sits there as a suggestion instead of a commandment. I’ve never heard anyone say “pray for me because I’m covetous. I’m desiring things that God does not want me to desire.” Honestly, I’ve never even really took notice of the word “desire” until today.
I just turned 39. Looking back over those years, my desires have changed a lot. Being an only child, I have always pretty much gotten what I wanted. I sure loved my “Granny” who I stayed with a lot during my single digit years. She made sure that she not only provided for my needs, but gave me just about every single one of my wants as well. If my heart desired it, she made it happen.
Around middle school I began to add to my desires. It went from material things to attention. I have no idea what happens when you transition from the elementary school building to the middle school building, but things change…BIG time. I had never cared if I was thought of as “popular” or “cool”, but all of a sudden, I did. The cool kids got the girls. The cool kids got all the attention. Therefore, that is what my heart desired.
From high school through college I pretty much desired to play sports, play music, play video games, and be with whichever girlfriend I was with as much as possible. When I wasn’t involved with one of these things, I would have told you I was bored. Not once did I ever think that I was full of covetousness and wrong desires. I perfectly broke the 10th commandment as written in Deuteronomy 5:21. “You shall not covet your neighbor’s wife.“ I remember coveting my best friend’s wife when he got married (you know I wish that I had “Jesse’s Girl”…where can I find a woman like that?) “You shall not desire your neighbor’s house.“ I remember the days of wishing I was a millionaire and I could live in one of our local, upscale Cliff’s Communities and play golf on those awesome courses every day. I was a really covetous dude.
Just like most sins, it is really hard to see this in yourself. When I was greedy I would have never told you I was greedy because I could not see it in myself. When I was a liar, I usually believed my own lies. People that call other people “haters” are usually haters themselves. The person that gossips almost never thinks that they themselves are a gossiper. The person who covets doesn’t even know it. No wonder the Bible calls it “being deceived.”
I thank God that 23 years ago I accepted Christ into my heart. I guess now I am an “adult” Christian. In many ways I can see that is true, though I have a long, long way to go. My desires didn’t immediately change after I accepted Him. But, my heart was instantly made aware that I desired the wrong things. Whereas I didn’t care before if I had sex outside of marriage, my heart now told me “this is wrong.” Whereas I didn’t care before if I wasted my money, my heart now told me “this is wrong.” Whereas I didn’t’ care before if I wasted my days playing guitar, video games, watching TV, listening to music, etc…I now had God sitting in a Holy Bible next to my bed gently asking “when’s my time?”
Man, I have wasted so many of my 39 years. A few of you reading this wasted some of those years with me. I sure wish I could go back and just be obedient to Him. Even as a saved Christian, I rejected Him over and over. My heart desired stuff. I desired golf stuff, guitar stuff, entertainment stuff. My heart desired girls, money, and sex. But, at the same time, that is the very reason that I desire Him so much now. The whole time I was pursuing sin, He was loving me. He was fighting for my heart. The God of the Universe was chasing after me even though I was rejecting Him. What kind of love are we talking about when we talk about God’s love? It is absolutely beyond what my little mind can comprehend.
He is amazing!
Lord, with all my heart, I want to desire you. I want you to be my number one desire. Nobody can just decide to desire you. You have to place that desire within our hearts. Help us to taste just how good you are and see just how much you love us. Change our hearts so that you, Lord, become our number one desire.
O taste and see that the Lord is good; blessed is the man that trusts in Him. — Psalm 34:8