5a Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have.
Christians must be careful to avoid covetousness in life. It is a pernicious sin. The prophet Habakkuk said, “Woe to him that coveteth an evil covetousness to his house, that he may set his nest on high, that he may be delivered from the power of evil” (Habakkuk 2:9)! In other words, one who lives covetously to secure a life of ease, which is seemingly free from troubles, will only invite greater troubles to his house.
In exposing its maliciousness, the Scriptures warn Christians against living with a covetous spirit. Consider some of the following Scriptural depictions of covetousness:
- Covetousness or “love of money” is “the root of all evil” (1 Timothy 6:10a).
- Covetousness is an ensnaring sin. 1 Timothy 6:9a says, “But they that will be rich fall into temptation and a snare”.
- Covetousness leads to “many foolish and hurtful lusts, which drown men in destruction and perdition” (1 Timothy 6:9b).
- Covetousness is an afflicting sin. Covetous people have “pierced themselves through with many sorrows” (1 Timothy 6:10c). No wonder the apostle James says, “Go to now, ye rich men, weep and howl for your miseries that shall come upon you” (James 5:1)!
- Covetous people “have erred from the faith” (1 Timothy 6:10b).
- Covetousness deceives the hearer of God’s Word into pursuing wealth at the expense of God’s wisdom, which will thereby “choke the word, and he [the hearer] becometh unfruitful” (Matthew 13:22; cf. Ezekiel 33:31).
- Covetousness interferes with a life of contentment and godliness (1 Timothy 6:6-9).
- Covetousness holds down people from entering the kingdom of God. In Mark 10:23, Jesus said, “How hardly shall they that have riches enter into the kingdom of God!” (cf. 1 Corinthians 6:10; Ephesians 5:5).
- Covetousness brings God’s wrath upon people (Ephesians 5:6). Thus Proverbs 11:4 reminds us, “Riches profit not in the day of wrath: but righteousness delivereth from death.”
Let us therefore be content with whatever the Lord has given us, and do not covet the luxuries and riches of this world.