Big Idea: We can love God and others well by refusing to give undue and unhealthy affection to anything other than God, including anything our neighbor owns. Rather we can obey this command best by living a life of simplicity and contentment that finds our greatest joy in God rather than in our possessions.
I. The Scope of the command
A. Coveting is an unhealthy desire for that which is not ours. Coveting is a gateway sin that will lead to others, most likely theft, adultery, and/or idolatry.
B. Coveting is an unlawful desire for that which is our neighbor’s.
5. Summary: “anything”
II. Biblical Principles
A. God wants us to find our greatest satisfaction in Him.
B. Coveting is the opposite of contentment. (Luke 3.14, Philippians 4:11, I Timothy 6:6,8, Hebrews 13:5)
III. Fighting against the cultural current
A. Keeping up with the Joneses
B. Marketing and the constant pursuit of more
C. Mass production doesn’t stop coveting.
IV. Living gloriously different lives
A. Where are you on the continuum? Move to the right.
B. Take inventory of your heart. Get rid of any household gods.
1) What is the difference between appreciating something and coveting it? Can you covet your neighbor’s car and appreciate it at the same time? Is appreciation merely a euphemism for coveting? How do you know if appreciation has crossed the line into coveting or lust?
2) Does mass production nullify the command not to covet? If your neighbor has a certain brand of car, is it ok to want that car or that kind of car? If we are coveting, what are we coveting – that car or that kind of car?
3) How can you live without coveting in a culture that markets everything? Is it ok in Christian circles to covet?
4) Do you find that your perception of what is normal is relative to your environment? That is, if everyone in your neighborhood has three cars, you start to want three as well. Have you heard the phrase “keeping up with the Joneses”? Is it real? How have you seen this? Have you seen competitions between people for the coolest toys?
5) How would you rate your current level of contentment? What produces contentment? Is it a feeling that just happens or can it be cultivated? Have you noticed that the feeling of joy you get from a possession diminishes over time? What do you or can you do about that?
6) Is there anything you could do right now to simplify your life? What material possessions do you have that possess you as much as you possess them? Do you have any rhythms regarding simplicity – for example, an annual purge?