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February 13, 2015

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                                     CONTENTMENT, COVETING, PRIORITIES

 

  1. Godliness with contentment is great gain.

1 Tim. 6:6. Godliness with contentment is great gain.

  1. Learn contentment, for love of money brings misery.

1 Tim. 6:7-10. We brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it.  But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that. People who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires that plunge men into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil.  Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.

  1. Keep free from love of money and be content.

Heb. 13:5. Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said, “Never, will I leave you; never will I forsake you” [Deut. 31:6].

  1. Paul learned contentment even in the most difficult circumstances of life.

Phil 4:11-13. I am not saying this because I am in need for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty.  I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want.  I can do everything through him who gives me strength.

  1. Contentment promotes peace.

Prov. 17:1. Better a dry crust with peace and quiet than a house full of feasting, with strife.

  1. Life does not consist of what one possesses.

Luke 12:15. Then he [Jesus] said to them, “Watch out! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; a man’s life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions.”

  1. The parable of the rich fool teaches that life is more than material riches.

Luke 12:16-21 (The rich fool stored up things for himself but was not rich toward God, so his life was demanded on him.)

  1. Do not allow the deceitfulness of wealth to crowd out the word.

Mark 4:1 -20. (the parable of the sower)

Mark 4:7, 18 -20. Other seed fell among thorns, which grew up and choked the plants, so that they did not bear grain. . . [Other people], like seed among thorns, hear the word; but the worries of this life, the deceitfulness of wealth and the desires for other things come in and choke the word, making it unfruitful.

  1. Put covetousness to death.

Col 3:5. Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry.

  1. Do not lay up earthly treasures, but heavenly treasures.

Matt. 6:19 -21. Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal.  But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth, and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal.  For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.

  1. You can’t serve two masters at one time.

Mat. 6:24. No one can serve two masters. Either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other.  You cannot serve both God and money.

  1. Seek first God’s kingdom.

Matt. 6:33. Seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.

  1. Don’t seek status, as the disciples did.

Luke 9:46-48. An argument started among the disciples as to which of them would be the greatest. Jesus, knowing their thoughts, took a little child and had him stand beside him.  Then he said to them, “Whoever welcomes this little child in my name welcomes me; and whoever welcomes me welcomes the one who sent me. For he who is least among you all- he is the greatest.”

  1. It’s better to have a simple lifestyle than to have wealth with a lot of conflict in the home.

Prov. 15:16-17. Better a little with the fear of the Lord than great wealth with turmoil. Better a meal of vegetables where there is love than a fattened calf with hatred.

  1. Don’t wear yourself out to get rich.

Prov. 23:4-5. Do not wear yourself out to get rich; have the wisdom to show restraint. Cast but a glance at riches, and they are gone, for they will surely sprout wings and fly off to the sky like an eagle.

  1. Seek neither poverty nor riches.

Prov. 30:8 – 9. Keep falsehood and lies far from me; give me neither poverty nor riches, but give me only my daily bread. Otherwise, I may have too much and disown you and say, “Who is the Lord?” Or I may become poor and steal, and so dishonor the name of my God.

  1. It’s better to have wisdom than to have wealth.

Prov. 16:16-17. How much better to get wisdom than gold, to choose understanding rather than silver! The highway of the upright avoids evil; he who guards his way guards his soul.

  1. A good name is more desirable than great riches.

Prov. 22:1 A good name is more desirable than great riches; to be esteemed is better than silver or gold.

  1. King Ahab’s unchecked covetousness finally drove him to murder.

1 Kings 21:1-14.

1 Kings 21:2-4. Ahab said to Naboth, “Let me have your vineyard to use for a vegetable garden, since it is close to my palace. In exchange I will give you a better vineyard  or, if you prefer, I will pay you whatever it is worth.” But Naboth replied, “The Lord forbid that I should give you the inheritance of my fathers.” So Ahab went home, sullen and angry because Naboth the Jezrelite had said, “I will not give you the inheritance of my fathers.” He lay on his bed sulking and refused to eat.

  1. King Hezekiah had his priorities turned around. In pride he displayed earthly riches, and was judged for it.

2 Kings 20:12-19.

2 Kings 20:14-19.  Then Isaiah the prophet went to King Hezekiah and asked, “What did those men say, and where did they come from?” “From a distant land,” Hezekiah replied. “They came from Babylon.” The prophet asked, “What did they see in your palace?” “They saw everything in  my palace,” Hezekiah said. “there is nothing among my treasures that I did not show them.” Then Isaiah said to Hezekiah, “Hear the word of the Lord: The time will surely come when everything in your palace, and all that your fathers have stored up until this day, will be carried off to Babylon. Nothing will be left, says the Lord.  And some of your descendants, your own flesh and blood, that will be born to you, will be taken away, and they will become eunuchs in the palace of the king of Babylon.” “The word of the Lord you have spoken is good, “Hezekiah replied. For he thought, “Will there not be peace and security in my lifetime?”

  1. habakkuk was content with God’s way and trusted him even when things looked very hard.

Hab. 3:17-19. Though the fig tree does not bud and there are no grapes on the vines, though there are no sheep in the pen and no cattle in the stalls, yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will be joyful in God my Savior. The Sovereign Lord is my strength; he makes my feet like the feet of a deer, he enables me to go on the heights.

  1. God chastised Gehazi severely for his covetousness.

2 Kings 5:19-27. (Gehazi deceitfully obtains a gift from Naaman.)

2 Kings 5:19 -20. After Naaman had traveled some distance, Gehazi, the servant of Elisha the man of God, said to himself, “My master was too easy on Naaman, this Aramean, by not accepting from him what he brought. As surely as the Lord lives, I will run after him and get something from him.”

2 Kings 5:27. “Naaman’s leprosy will cling to you and to your descendants forever.” The Gehazie went from Elisha’s presence and he was leprous, as white as snow.

PROBLEM

Covetousness, that excessive desire for what belongs to someone else, is a secret sin that can dominate your thinking and eventually control your actions.  Unchecked, covetousness will lead to theft, adultery, and murder.

BIBLICAL PERSPECTIVE

God commands us not to be envious of what belongs to someone else (Exod. 20:17).

COUNSEL

We tend to categorize sins and even minimize their gravity.  But God hates all sin and cannot allow it in his presence.  Therefore, covetousness, like any other sin, must be confessed and forsaken.  And a plan must be devised and put into motion that will counteract every temptation to covet.

Here are six steps you can take to overcome covetousness:

 Confess to God that you have sinned against him by being envious. Then he will forgive and cleanse you of all wrong (1 John 1:18-10).

Stop envying. Of course, that’s easier said than done, but you must willfully stop doing what you know is sin (Heb. 13:4,5).

Learn the secret of contentment.  Jesus Christ can help you to live happily with what you have; he will strengthen you (Phil. 4:11-13).  To learn the secret of contentment, become a truly thankful person: “Always be joyful. Always keep on praying.  No matter what happens, always be thankful, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus” (1 Thess. 5:16).

Give to others in need. The best defense is a good offense.  So, to combat covetousness, give generously to others, since covetousness in simply committing theft in your mind.  Paul’s instructions found in Ephesians 4:28 should be applied; “If anyone is stealing he must stop it and begin using those hands of his for honest work so he can give to others in need.” Freely giving to others will nip covetousness in the bud.

Fix your thoughts on what is true and good and right (Phil 4:8). covetousness is a sin which is committed in the heart and mind.  Therefore, it is important that the mind be filled with good thoughts to displace covetousness before it manifests itself in sinful acts such as theft, adultery, and murder.

Pray for the person you envy (Matt. 26:41; James 5:16).  When you pray for someone, you are demonstrating that you really love and care for him, and at the same time you are strengthening that love.  Your loving prayers for the person you envy will soon win over your excessive desire for what does not belong to you (1 Cor. 13:4).

PRAYER

Pray that the spirit of covetousness will be replaced by love and contentment, and will not have a chance to develop into theft, adultery, or murder.

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