When I speak the word jealousy, your mind more than likely goes towards a person, one either known or unknown to you that has something you want, has accomplished something in this life that you yourself would desire to emulate. The word envy follows closely alongside here, in the Word of God, it is covetousness. We rarely stop to think if we are creating these negative emotions in others, for they are not often expressed outwardly, but behind closed doors, when the individual who has precipitated them is no longer within the range of hearing.
It is an evil thing, to covet, for it says that we are not content with what the Lord has blessed us with. More materialistic items, a stronger body, a better this or more of that, it shows that we are not satisfied. Esau despised his birthright, for a simple bowl of soup, (Gen. 25:31) Jacob did not find him out in the woods, moments from starvation, the immediate was more important to him than the promise. In this age in many parts of the world, we tend to want more than we need, we have determined that because these wants are now our needs, we deserve them simply because we exist. Many have built around themselves a lifestyle that just a few short decades ago would have been considered luxurious, would have been deemed rich.
It has become accepted that the next generation should have more than the one that preceded it, and for those who do not receive this, they feel left out, looked over, bringing bitterness, followed by envy. We have termed them not as inadequate in their ambitions, but to be pitied, and so we enable them. It is a contradiction it terms for many who profess Christ to preach “That if any would not work, neither should he eat,” (2 Thess. 3:10) and then turn around and continue to enable those who simply refuse to stand on their own two feet. They covet what others have, but show no desire to strive for it, a system that is turning a large part of the population into coveters only. A worldwide or even localized crash of the economic structure will cause this ideology to run rampant, and the governmental agencies who have not done so already will step in to fill the void, determining for themselves what is a need and what is a want.
The Pharisees’ religious structure in the time our Lord walked this earth did exactly the same thing, albeit within a pseudo-religious structure, placing burdens on the people that they themselves would not adhere to. (Matt. 23:4) They removed the need for God from the people and placed those needs upon themselves, professing themselves to be the only way to God, such is done the same way in many religious organizations today, and many national governments have followed suit. Take the need for God away, and someone will step in to fill that void.
A man who does not covet is satisfied with what he has been blessed with, he seeks not what his neighbor owns, (Prov. 24:1) he understands in wisdom that there are those who truly have needs, and he seeks out the way that Almighty God has led him to fill those needs. But one thing he knows also, that there are many who could, but have chosen not to, he loves them no less, but he understands and follows the truths of Scripture, “The slothful man saith, There is a lion in the way; a lion is in the streets,” (Prov. 26:13) he that is lazy is to follow the example of the ant, (Prov. 6:6) not be cared for, not enabled in his laziness. This man is a shame to his father, (Prov. 10:5) and a burden to his mother, (Prov. 10:1) and should be left to face the consequences of his inactions, but that is not what we are taught today, is it, take care of everyone, all the time, no matter the circumstances, no matter the excuses. It has brought the enabled society to the world, and too many in the church have accepted it as the “Christian” thing to do.
This society will feel the pains someday of an economic downfall that will cause many to be in true need, for “For the love of money is the root of all evil,” (1 Tim. 6:10) and it is what the majority of this world covets above all. It is not the fear of the Lord that keeps the born-again believer away from covetousness, it is a desire to remain pleasing in His eyes, the knowledge that there is no real treasure here, that all we desire of this earth will eventually fade away. We must use spiritual discernment to determine if what we want is truly what we need, for the Lord has promised to supply all our needs, we must understand fully that sometimes it is better to want than to have, for those things we covet, whether we receive them or not, will control us.
Those who love the Lord Jesus in their hearts know that He is all we need, He is the fulfilment of our desires, yet we see the world around us, we see those who have, and at times we desire them. It is the length of time that these desires reside in us that is the determining factor, for if they remain long, they will fester, they will rot the part of you that is to be trusting Christ, no matter what He gives or withholds from us, to not covet is to trust, to have faith that our Father knows what is best for us, and that it is only our good that He seeks for us. “But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.” (Phil. 4:19) I believe my friends, that if you will look in your heart, you will find that He has supplied all of your wants also.