Journal Entry // March 23, 2022
And he said to them, “Take care, and be on your guard against all covetousness, for one’s life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions.”Luke 12:15 ESV
It is an extremely simple thing to fall into this trap laid out for me in this world. The allure of covetousness is all around me. It is being shouted at me, it is being whispered to me, it is being encouraged in me, it is used as a weapon against me at every moment of every day both from the world and in my very own heart. My eye sees and wants what it sees. My heart desires those things it sees in others. My soul wants to relax, eat, drink, and be merry. This is the very thing the world is pushing onto me. Companies use advertising to swell my covetousness. Friends and acquaintances are subtly comparing each other through covetousness intentions. And I join in this with them. I drop my guard against all covetousness and base my life on the abundance of possessions.
It is more than just pursuing and building up wealth. This covetousness includes my comparing and seeking status and influence. My coveting takes on the form of pursuing those things that will not only bring me praise and commendation from the world and people around me, but includes those things that I believe will bring comfort and ease into my life. My coveting after things is pure and simple selfishness. Even the good things I pursue are tainted with this covetousness. As I serve in the church, I am constantly having to guard and check the intentions and motivations of my heart. I must constantly guard against self-righteousness and receiving praise from man.
For this is the central issue for me in coveting. I want to be the center of everything. I want to be the focal point. I want to be the line by which everyone is judged against. What’s the right amount of savings that should built up? Why of course it is the amount I have or think I need for comfort. What is the proper relationship to have with others? Why of course it is what makes me most happy and pleasing to myself. What level of service should be given to the church and ministry? Why of course it’s the level that I bring. In my mind all others are judged against this. When I perceive that someone is better off than me in an area of importance to me, then I covet. I want what they have and I must either bring them back down to me or I must work to attain what they have.
Covetousness is an insidious deceptive sin that almost destroyed me. Covetousness was rampant in my heart because I let my guard down and began to play the world’s game of seeking comfort and ease in the abundance of pleasure and possessions. I forgot the most simple gospel truth… I forgot that I am already rich! My Father loves me completely and gives me everything I need for my good and his glory. These possessions I may have now in this world are not my treasure. Only Jesus is my treasure and I want to store up my treasure with him in heaven.
How? I guard my heart against covetousness by remembering that my treasure is spiritual in nature. My treasure is a pure and humble heart. A heart that loves Jesus. A heart that demonstrates this love for Christ by sacrificial giving of my time, talent, and treasure for the gospel work of loving God and loving others. This is my treasure. Houses, cars, vacations, work, prestige, status, wealth, food, and pleasure are just things that come and go through this journey of faith. They are the things of this life that God gives and takes away as his good and perfect will determines. The gifts of God are not my focus. I am thankful to the Lord for the many good gifts he has given me. But I want to hold on to them with a loose grip or even with an open hand. The Lord will give and the Lord will take away, but blessed be the name of the Lord.
So I am determined to give to the Lord of what is most important. I want to give to him out of my abundance of time, talent, and treasure. Not just from the one area that may be easiest, but from all three. I want to build up treasure in heaven. A treasure that honors and gives glory to Christ alone. A treasure that comes from my humble heart seeking to be like Mary. Sitting at the feet of Christ and overcome with joy. Wetting his feet with her tears and wiping them with her hair. This is joy. This is what I need. This the abundance of joy in the gospel that dispels the illusion that covetousness casts. The truth… I am already rich in Christ alone!