How Can I Stop Coveting Other People and Their Possessions?

by Jack Wellman · Print Print · Email Email

Coveting is breaking the Tenth Commandment, so how can we stop coveting people and their possessions?

Coveting vs Contentment

Coveting is breaking the Tenth Commandment, so how can we stop coveting people and their possessions? You’ve heard people are either a glass half empty or glass half full person, but I am just thankful I’ve got a glass! God is more glorified in us when we are most satisfied in Him (John Piper said). Why? It is because our contentment rests in Him and not in things or possessions. He alone is most precious to us; all other things in life are vanity when compared to our beautiful Lord and Savior. So what is true and godly gain in God’s eyes? The Apostle Paul says dogmatically that “godliness with contentment is great gain” (1 Tim 6:6), so being content in life is what godly people are like, and I’ve seen that in many believers! Haven’t you? Besides, “we brought nothing into the world, and we cannot take anything out of the world” (1 Tim 6:7).

George Herbert – Christian Quotes.Info

Tenth Commandment

Paul knew about the Law and strived to keep it, but his weak point was that of coveting. But that helped him recognize his sin for “if it had not been for the law, I would not have known sin. For I would not have known what it is to covet if the law had not said, “You shall not covet” (Rom 7:7). For Paul, and I know for all of us, “sin, seizing an opportunity through the commandment, produced in me all kinds of covetousness. For apart from the law, sin lies dead” (Rom 7:8), but why should we really covet anything in this world? “What do you have that you did not receive? If then you received it, why do you boast as if you did not receive it” (1 Cor 4:7)? The fact is we have nothing at all that God did not give us and we can’t take it with us anyway, which is why you’ll never see a U-Haul behind a hearse. No one carries their checkbook with them to the grave. Enjoy what God has blessed us with. Be content with what we have, or God can take what we have away.

God’s Sovereignty

Is the love of money the root of all evil

If we have trusted in Christ, we must trust the sovereignty of God. God has blessed us with just enough where we won’t hurt ourselves. What I mean is that some of us can’t handle success. Success breeds the desire for more success, so we must remember that “the love of money is a root of all kinds of evils. It is through this craving that some have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many pangs” (1 Tim 6:10). People who reject Christ do so because “the cares of the world and the deceitfulness of riches and the desires for other things enter in and choke the word, and it proves unfruitful” (Mark 4:19). The wisest man of the Old Testament, King Solomon, prayed that God “give me neither poverty nor riches; feed me with the food that is needful for me” (Prov 30:8). Every one of us should honestly say that “if we have food and clothing, we will be content with these” (1 Tim 6:8).

Not Many Mighty or Noble

God does not call many governors, politicians, mayors or even superstar athletes, but He does seem to call the weak, the despised, the poor, and those the world looks down upon. The Apostle Paul reminds believers to “consider your calling, brothers: not many of you were wise according to worldly standards, not many were powerful, not many were of noble birth” (1 Cor 1:26).  There will be some noble or powerful, but not very many.  The fact is God chooses who the world would not. He elects those who the world rejects, so “God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise; God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong” (1 Cor 1:27). Why would we covet things or people’s position in this world when we know it’s all going up in smoke? The Apostle Peter reminds us all about our possessions and positions on this world as “the day of the Lord will come like a thief, and then the heavens will pass away with a roar, and the heavenly bodies will be burned up and dissolved, and the earth and the works that are done on it will be exposed” (2 Pet 3:10).

Dietrich Bonhoeffer – Christian Quotes.Info

Trust in God or Riches?

Most of us don’t have to worry about having too much money. It’s usually the other way around, but the problem with riches is, you might think you own them, but they can come to own you. The rich trust more in their riches than in God, but what will all their possessions do for them on judgment day (Rev 20:12-15)? Why covet what God despises? It’s all temporary, so why try to hang onto it or pursue it or covet it? Only those things done for Christ will pass through the fire (1 Cor 3:13-15). The rich can make money their God because their money takes care of them, gives them a sense of security, takes away worries about tomorrow, and makes them think, they can take care of themselves, but as we know, riches can go as quickly as they come. God is able to do abundantly more for us than money can. He is the God Who takes care of His own. We can depend on Him more than we can our weekly paychecks. Will we trust in Him enough to cast all our anxieties upon Him (1 Pet 5:6-7)?


If we feel the urge to covet the possessions of others (job, car, spouse, house…) or a position someone has like a CEO, Supervisor, or employer, ask yourself this. Are they saved? Will all their power and prestige save them on the day of judgment (Rev 21:8)? What is the worth of a human soul? Your 401-K might make a good profit this year, but “what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul? Or what shall a man give in return for his soul” (Matt 16:26)? Why covet what people have, especially if they are not saved? Have mercy on them (Jude 1:23-24). Share the gospel that unless they trust in Christ and not in their possession, positions or prestige, all that they have will go to someone else and be lost to them forever. Even worse, they will be in a place of torment forever with no possible escape, so why covet what they have? Instead, help them to covet the Son of God and His forgiveness and desire Him more than anything else, and pray that they might be saved and receive the greatest gift of all; eternal life in Jesus Christ our Lord.

Here is some related reading for you: You Shall Not Covet: Bible Lesson and Life Application

Resource – Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version® (ESV®), Crossway Bibles. (2007). ESV: Study Bible: English standard version. Wheaton, Ill: Crossway Bibles. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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