Covetousness is an intense desire to possess someone or something that one does not have. The Ten Commandments prohibit this attitude: "You shall not covet your neighbor's house, you shall not covet your neighbor's wife... or any thing that is your neighbors." Exodus 20:17. Covetousness springs from a greedy self-centeredness and an arrogant disregard of God's law. The Bible repeatedly warns us against this sin (Joshua 7:21; Romans 7:7; 2 Peter 2:14).
Many examples of covetousness appear in the Bible: Gehazi's greed for money and clothes (2 Kings 5:20-27), Judas' betrayal
of Jesus for 30 pieces of silver (the going price of a slave) (Matthew 26:14-15), the rich fool, who wanted to build bigger storage facilities for his wealth and presumed future (Luke 12:13-21), the rich young ruler, who turned back from following Jesus because it would cost him his riches (Luke 18:18-25), and the deceit of Ananias and Sapphira, who lied to the Holy Spirit and kept money they claimed to have donated (Acts 5:1-11). The apostle Paul labeled covetousness as idolatry (Colossians 3:5). He warned believers not to associate with a so-called "brother" who lives covetously (1 Corinthians 5: 10-11).
The best way to avoid a self-centered, covetous attitude is to trust the Lord, be content with what we have been given, and to face one's responsibilities. To those tempted by covetousness and "worthless things" (Psalm 119:36), Jesus declares, "Take heed and beware of covetousness, for one's life does not consist in the abundance of the things he possesses." Luke 12:15.
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Hebrews 11:6 Romans 10:9 Acts 3:19 John 1:12
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