I have been waiting for some time to get to one of the main passages on covetousness. I Timothy 6:6-12 would be a great read for all those who have been following along in these blogs. “The love of money is the root of all evil…” This statement is well known from these passages, but I think it is easy to miss the emphasis. We must continue to read verse 11 and 12, and note Paul’s comparison:
“But godliness with contentment is great gain. (7) For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out. (8) And having food and raiment let us be therewith content. (9) But they that will be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and hurtful lusts, which drown men in destruction and perdition. (10) For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows. (11) But thou, O man of God, flee these things; and follow after righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, meekness. (12) Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, whereunto thou art also called, and hast professed a good profession before many witnesses.”
We must flee the love of money and the desire to be rich; namely, covetousness. And he says in verse 11b, instead of giving in to covetousness, “follow after righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, meekness.” Then out of that list he picks “faith” for special attention, and says (in verse 12), “Fight the good fight of the faith.” In essence, then, he says, in order to flee covetousness, you must fight the fight of faith.
When you think about it, that’s just what the definition of covetousness implies. Covetousness is desiring something so much that you lose your contentment in God, and start to seek it elsewhere. This contentment in God is the essence of faith.
Jesus said in John 6:35 “And Jesus said unto them, I am the bread of life: he that cometh to me shall never hunger; and he that believeth on me shall never thirst.” In other words what it means to believe in Jesus is to experience Him as the satisfaction of my soul’s thirst and my heart’s hunger. Faith is the experience of contentment in Jesus. The fight of faith is the fight to keep your heart contented in Christ-to really believe, and keep on believing, that He will meet every need and satisfy every longing.
Covetousness, then, is exactly the opposite of faith. It’s the loss of contentment in Christ so that we start to crave, or require, other things to satisfy the longings of our heart. There’s no mistaking, then, that the battle against covetousness is a battle for faith against unbelief. Whenever we sense the slightest rise of covetousness in our hearts, we must turn on it and fight it with all our might with the weapons of faith.
In Ephesians 6, we are told to prepare ourselves with the shield of faith so we can quench all the fiery darts of the wicked. The next line tells us to be sure to have our hands on the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God. That Sword is not our offensive weapon; it is the Spirit’s weapon. We must stay yielded to Him and allow Him to use the Word in our lives to fight the fight of faith, to fight against covetousness.
When covetousness begins to raise its greedy head, what we must do is begin to preach the Word of God to ourselves. We need to hear what God says. We need to hear His warnings about what becomes of the covetous and how serious it is to covet. We need to hear His promises, which can give great contentment to the soul and overcome all covetous cravings.
Here are a few reminders to meditate on:
Covetousness Lets You Down When You Need Help The Most.
1Timothy 6:7-9, “For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out. (8) And having food and raiment let us be therewith content. (9) But they that will be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and hurtful lusts, which drown men in destruction and perdition.”
When your calamity hits and you need hope, security, and contentment, then I promise your possessions will take wings and fly. They will let you down.
Covetousness Never Brings Satisfaction.
Ecclesiastes 5:11, “When goods increase, they are increased that eat them: and what good is there to the owners thereof, saving the beholding of them with their eyes?”
God’s Word warns us that loving increase of money and possessions will be of no good to the owner, it will devour them.
Luke 12:15, “And he said unto them, Take heed, and beware of covetousness: for a man’s life consisteth not in the abundance of the things which he possesseth.”
No man’s life, at his death, is confirmed by what he has.
Covetousness Chokes Off Spiritual Life.
Mark 4:3-7, “Hearken; Behold, there went out a sower to sow: (4) And it came to pass, as he sowed, some fell by the way side, and the fowls of the air came and devoured it up. (5) And some fell on stony ground, where it had not much earth; and immediately it sprang up, because it had no depth of earth: (6) But when the sun was up, it was scorched; and because it had no root, it withered away. (7) And some fell among thorns, and the thorns grew up, and choked it, and it yielded no fruit.”
The real battle is waged when the seed is sown. Just like in this parable, as thorns and thistles choke the seed out, so covetousness will choke out other areas of your Christian life.
Covetousness Gives Rise to Many Other Sins
1Timothy 6:10-12, “For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows. (11) But thou, O man of God, flee these things; and follow after righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, meekness. (12) Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, whereunto thou art also called, and hast professed a good profession before many witnesses.”
James 4:2, “Ye lust, and have not: ye kill, and desire to have, and cannot obtain: ye fight and war, yet ye have not, because ye ask not.”
Covetousness is a breeding ground for a thousand other sins. And that heightens the warning to flee from it and fight it with all our might.
I urge you to take some time to get alone with God and ask Him to search your heart. Ask Him to reveal if there be any covetousness. Ask Him to reveal where it is you are weak in this fight of faith. Then, by faith, find victory.