The issues of the heart.
“Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children; and walk in love, just as Christ also loved you and gave Himself up for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God as a fragrant aroma.” (Ephesians 5:1-2)
God who is Spirit finds pleasure in His children who imitate His ways and, in love, willfully offer their life as Christ offered and sacrificed His.
“But sexual immorality (Porneia) or any impurity or covetousness must not even be named among you, as is proper among saints; and there must be no filthiness and foolish talk, or crude joking, which is not fitting, but rather giving of thanks.” (Ephesians 5:3-4)
We can be quick to judge the severity of sinful behaviors in others. Self-righteous men gathered with stones and surrounded the prostitute. Pushed aside were their own sins until Jesus called them to account. (John 8) We are not as quick to judge words that come from our mouth, or recognise behavior that God calls idolatry.
“For this you know with certainty, that no immoral (pornos) or impure person or covetous man, who is an idolater, has an inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God.” (Ephesians 5:5) To desire what belongs to another is to be covetous. We harbor a desire that replaces our trust in God. An idol! Call it greed if you will. Dissatisfaction with God’s provision often leads to self being satisfied through dishonesty and theft. The idol is fed the fruit of sin.
But it need not go that far to be deadly. I am reminded of what Jesus said about the heart. To covet is a heart issue no different than lust or anger. An issue plaguing many who justify their desire for things that others possess. Contentment is the great gain that is exchanged for want. And the idol is fed.
I never gave much thought to “Thou shalt not covet.” (Exodus 20:17) I thought it to be a sin like any other, but not idolatry! I pray that more could honestly say, “If we have food and covering, with these we shall be content.” (1 Timothy 6:8) Do any of you have less than that? Our Father does not neglect His children. “Every good thing given and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shifting shadow.” (James 1:17) Why desire anything that does not come from His hand?
Father, cleanse our hearts from any desires that would replace our trust in You to provide for our needs. Thank you for giving us the Holy Spirit who teaches us Your will. We are learning to be “imitators of God.” Thank you.
“Make sure that your character is free from the love of money, being content with what you have; for He Himself has said, ‘I WILL NEVER DESERT YOU, NOR WILL I EVER FORSAKE YOU,'” (Hebrews 13:5; Deuteronomy 31:6)