This pandemic severed our social lives, and many teens are turning to social media to fill some emptiness. As we scroll through happy pictures, jealousy creeps into our minds before we can stop it. Looking at huge successes of other bloggers can turn my happy attitude into discouragement as I look at my blog stats.
God blessed me with so much, but if I’m honest, I find comparison and covetousness one of the most difficult sins to fight. Life isn’t ideal right now, and our lives and work seem dull in light of our friends’ exciting plans.
Don’t Forget The 10th Commandment
If asked to list the 10 commandments, would you forget the last? Many people see “Thou shalt not covet.” as one of the “not-so-bad” sins. We think it’s easy to brush aside.dr In my experience, however, covetousness tears down relationships, quality of life, and any motivation to serve. It supports selfish pride and steals joy.
Exodus 20:17 lays out this tenth commandment: “You shall not covet your neighbor’s house; you shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, or his male servant, or his female servant, or his ox, or his donkey, or anything that is your neighbor’s.”
Dictionary.com defines covetous as “inordinately or wrongly desirous of wealth or possessions; greedy.” Covetousness displays a lack of trust in God and results from an ungrateful and prideful heart. We covet people, looks, personalities, belongings, status… the list goes on and on. Instead of thanking God for His good will, we wish we had something more (or something less) in our lives.
Covetousness distances me from friends, turns a good day into a dreary one, creates ridiculous insecurities, and encourages pride and perfectionism in my life. The more I live, the more I realize how one sin causes another.
I can only effectively stop sin when I identify the sinful heart attitude at the root of it.
The Root: Pride
Covetousness stems from pride. Pride encourages comparison as we look around to see if we’re the best. Then, comparison encourages covetousness as we see others have something “better,” wishing we had it too. Covetousness then encourages stealing, lust, and even hate and murder as we act on our selfish desires and try to lift ourselves up. Self-pity and a lack of repentance follow, continuing the sinful cycle. It’s a deadly circle.
If we battle covetousness on our own, we will never win.
God hates coveting, and after seeing the destruction this sin creates, I’ve also learned to hate it. Because coveting happens in the mind, it is often more difficult to address than a bold, public sin. Our pride tempts us secretly and assures us no one can see our selfish minds.
If we claim to abide in God, however, we must align our actions, desires, and thoughts with His. He knows the prideful root of our sin, and He sees our hearts. God hates coveting and the sin coming from it. Because of His hate for sin and love for us, He gave us the mirror of the 10 commandments to show us the dirtiness of our sin.
After looking in His mirror, many people wallow in self-pity or try to get clean on their own. Notice, however, that both attitudes are rooted in pride.
Pride often disguises itself as humility by hiding in self-pity or in good works done for status or affirmation. After living with pride for so long, we find it difficult to imagine life without it.
A successful battle against pride requires the discovery of our enemy’s hiding place. Ask God to show you every prideful attitude and action in your life and then ask Him to help you battle it. The difficult battle will prove worthwhile.
Pride grips our lives so desperately that it often requires something painful and sudden to fight it. When God humbles me, I never feel good in the moment, but I am grateful for the shock afterward. As God shows me my true self and raw sin, I realize I’m not worthy of any glory or grace.
We think of ourselves as the center of the universe, but once we discover our weakness and sin, we’ll find freedom in discovering God’s greatness. I love this quote by Tim Keller, “…the essence of gospel-humility is not thinking more of myself or thinking less of myself, it is thinking of myself less.”
Humility changes our lives and hearts entirely. Instead of serving and thinking of ourselves, we think and act with God as our focus. Consequently, other people become part of that focus too.
Humility is more than an attitude. Humility requires a change of heart.
When I see my blog stats beside those of a more popular blogger, my day won’t be ruined. Instead, gratitude to God for what I already have will motivate me to write my best for my followers. When I write from a humble heart, one hundred likes will matter as much as the comment from one person who was blessed. I’ll be grateful for whatever God sends my way.
The next time we scroll through the happy pictures on social media, let’s thank God for what we have and ask Him what He wants us to do with it. When we focus on God and His desires, covetousness won’t stop us from congratulating our friend’s success, and it won’t cause us to waste precious time in front of the mirror.
Humility may hurt at first, but we will come to fully know God’s grace through the pain.
We will not finish the battle against pride in this life, but the more we ask God to humble us, the more God will open our eyes to His goodness and grace.