Tuesday: The Steps of Covetousness

Like all sins, covetousness begins in the heart. It starts inside us and then works outward. This is what happened in Eden.

Read Genesis 3:1-6. What did Satan do to lure Eve into sin? How has he used the same principles through the ages to deceive us, as well?

Image © Krieg Barrie from GoodSalt.com

“So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree desirable to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate. She also gave to her husband with her, and he ate” (Gen. 3:6, NKJV).

If one didn’t know better, one could think that the advertising industry got its paradigmatic example of how to sell its products from the Eden story. The devil presented the fruit of the forbidden tree in a way to create in Eve a desire to want more than she already had, and to make her think that she needed something that she really didn’t. How brilliant! Her fall is a demonstration of the three steps each of us takes when we fall to covetousness: I see, I want, I take.

Covetousness, of course, can be a quiet sin. Like lust, it’s hidden behind the veil of our flesh. But when it finally brings forth fruit, it can be devastating. It can damage relationships, leave scars on your loved ones, and pummel us with guilt afterward.

Let covetousness surface, and it will override any principle. King Ahab saw Naboth’s vineyard, wanted it, and pouted until his queen had Naboth murdered for it (1 Kings 21). Achan could not resist when he saw a garment and money, so he coveted and took them (Josh. 7:20-22). Covetousness is, ultimately, just another form of selfishness.

“If selfishness be the prevailing form of sin, covetousness may be regarded as the prevailing form of selfishness. This is strikingly intimated by the Apostle Paul, when describing the ‘perilous times’ [2 Tim 3:1] of the final apostasy, he represents selfishness as the prolific root of all the evils which will then prevail, and covetousness as its first fruit. ‘For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous’ [2 Tim 3:2].” – John Harris, Mammon,(New York: Lane & Scott, 1849) p. 52.

Why is it important to recognize in ourselves any and all tendencies toward covetousness?
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Source: Daily Sabbath School Lessons