I recently became addicted to an app game called Covet. In covet, I can wear whatever I want to wear, choose any hairstyle, change my skin tone, and change my look all over again five minutes later! I can win trips to exotic places, and receive cash and diamonds for looking the part! It’s every woman’s dream come true, right! I mean, if money was no object, how would you look? Think about it.
Although I thoroughly enjoy this alternate reality game, coveting anything in real life will leave you feeling more depressed than the original rejection that led to the reaction of coveting. For example, I covet the optimistic and perky demeanor of the girl who looks like she’s never had a major life problem. And if I’m really honest, I covet the football-hating, chick-flick movie-watching girl. No matter how manicured I keep my nails, and maintained I keep my roots, I would never call myself feminine. My personality will never be confused for a cheerleader; I’m definitely more like the overweight couch coach on the Super Bowl beer commercials. Though I may be comfortable with that, I don’t think I’m going to attract a gentleman who is looking for a lady. And so begins the comparison game.
If I was wise, I would just shrug off this momentary lapse in confidence and say, “Forget about him; there’s plenty of fish in the sea!” But I have talked to enough broken-hearted women (some older than me) to know I’m not the only one stuck in the rut of comparison. There are plenty of things that I need to improve about myself, and some things that I can’t change. But what scares me the most, is if the things keeping the good guys away, are the things about me that I don’t want to change? Even though they’re the things that I think question my femininity – like the fact that I think most Hallmark movies are a waste of film. It’s most likely the fact that I could have sugar-coated my distain that’s keeping the boys out of the yard. Although I like these things about me, I spend countless hours wishing I was a bit more charming, and coveting those who are. After all, I’m alone and they’re not.
It’s not like I’m breaking the tenth commandment; or am I?
“”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 belongs to your neighbor.””
Exodus 20:17 NASB
What does it mean to covet? To covet is to culpably (shamefully) desire something that belongs to someone else.
Is it really so bad to want what somebody else has? Well, sometimes the desire can take a deep enough root that we take that thing anyway. Take King David for example. First he coveted Uriah’s wife, then committed adultery with her, killed Uriah so that he could steal her. If that isn’t warning enough for you, think about this: you cannot say that you follow the 10 Commandments and covet what someone else has. It is a dangerous mind trap that God actually set it apart as a character trait to avoid on those stone tablets thousands of years ago.
How do we know if we’re crossing the line between wanting something or coveting? If signs of jealousy or envy are flashing, you might be coveting. If you find yourself judging the way your competition is caring for your desired object, it could be your covetous anger talking. If your constantly comparing yourself to that Victoria’s Secret model who is with your guy, you might be coveting. Because in reality, she isn’t a model, and he was never your guy. But that’s the point. Coveting can make you think – and ultimately act – irrationally when left unchecked.
My Personal Application
I wish I had a three point sermon that would disarm the trap of comparison, but this is probably my weakest link. Instead I will leave you with two portions of scripture on which I must repeatedly meditate.
“Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things.”
Philippians 4:8 NASB
“But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The Lord does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.””
1 Samuel 16:7 NIV