The following is a devotional I shared on my church’s ladies’ blog a few months ago. It’s something that God has continued to work on me about, and I felt the need to share it with you all. Prayerfully it will be a blessing and encouragement.
If you know me at all, you know that I’m not an urban, city girl. I could care less about shopping or how impressive my shoe collection is (it would be made entirely of cheap flip flops if they would keep my feet warm in winter). I rarely wear makeup and my hair is never perfect (I’m lucky if I can manage to get most of my flyaways under control). I don’t really care about a lot of the things that most women find important (like purses or fancy jewelry).
What I do crave is something that God hasn’t put in the cards for my family yet. When I see or read about someone who is “living my dream,” I desire it even more. And that, my friends, is the sin of covetousness.
My main focus and priority in life (after my relationship with God) is striving to be like the Proverbs 31 woman by caring for my family the best I can on a low budget… Which is what it should be. I want to see to it that my family is fed nutritious, untainted foods and that they are exposed to as few toxins as possible. I want to protect them and provide them with a balanced diet that will keep them healthy. In my dream, that is all accomplished so much more effectively on a small farm.
I want to grow and preserve a ton of food. I want chickens to provide cheaper, healthier meat and eggs. I want goats to provide cheaper, healthier milk and cheese (and entertainment… Let’s be honest 😋). I want my son to learn responsibility and hard work from helping with farm chores. I want… I want… I want…
I want all these things, and they were at our fingertips a few months ago when a property popped up in husband’s email at a tremendously good price. We weren’t even looking for a house, and I really wasn’t that interested until we went to look at it… Then I fell in love! It was perfect! But long story short… We didn’t buy it.
For months after passing up that property, I battled discontentment with my little suburban, sub division home. I don’t have enough rooms to house family when they visit. My garden area is laughably small. I’m surrounded by close neighbors. And I can’t have farm animals.
To a lot of you, this may seem silly. But to me, it was a source of great internal battles. Until I was visiting my parent’s church one Sunday morning.
The pastor was preaching on Revelation, of all things. But at one point in his message, he started referring to the 10 Commandments. When he got to “thou shalt not covet…” the Holy Spirit pricked my heart. I suddenly realized that I had been coveting that property and that dream life for months rather than being content with the wonderful life God has given me here and now.
So I started studying what God had to say in His Word about covetousness. What I found was rather unsettling. He said that it is something that shoud be in our past. (1 Corinthians 6:9-12) He said that it shouldn’t be once named among Christians and that if we are covetous, we are idolaters! (Ephesians 5:1-5)
That last one took some meditating. But if I really stop and think about… I am trusting what I think is best for my family over what God knows is best for my family… Putting my will over His.
I recently heard a quote by Elise Fitzpatrick, from her book Idols of the Heart. She describes idolatry this way: “If you’re willing to sin to obtain your goal, or if you sin when you don’t get what you want, then your desire has taken God’s place, and you’re functioning as an idolater.” Ouch! That’s exactly how covetousness works.
Not that the farm life we want is bad. In fact, I’m still praying and believing that God will provide it for us… Some day. But for now, I’m learning contentment. I’m making the best of what I have and learning how to use the gifts He has given me to accomplish what I can on my little urban property.
Hebrews 13:5 says:
“Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have…”
Covetousness is a secret sin… one only you know about. Let’s all examine our lives and ask for discernment to see where we are covetous rather than content, then ask God to help us overcome it and be content with what we have!