God has given us the key to overcoming covetousness. Its called contentment.

Covetousness is a word we probably do not often use in our 21st century state of enlightenment.
I can almost imagine some of you thinking “that is so Old Testament”.
In fact if you are under the age of 40, or have never read the King James Version of the Bible you may not have any familiarity with this word at all.
But its presence is very much alive and well in our world.

Covetousness or to covet at its core is the desire to have something we don’t have. James tells us it is a primary reason for wars, that we kill, quarrel and fight because we desire (want) and then covet (what does not belong to us) and will do whatever is neccessary to get what we want. (James 4:1-2)
Desire turns to coveting, coveting to immoral and sometimes illegal actions, and finally idolatry. Another old testament word with a new testament reality.
Idolatry is when a believer knows the will of God, yet intentionally chooses their own desires instead. We chose to worship our desires over Gods will for us.

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God does offer an alternative. Contentment.
It is not the easy path, giving in to our desires is always easier in the short term, but contentment offers long term peace and fulfillment.
The apostle Paul no stranger to disappointment, hardship and trouble wrote-
For I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances I am. I know how to have a little, and I know how to have a lot.In any and all circumstances I have learned the secret of being content—whether well fed or hungry, whether in abundance or in need. I am able to do all things through Him who strengthens me.”
Philippians 4:11-13
“I have learned”, would indicate Paul was not always content in his circumstances. This is encouraging because I am not always content with where I find myself.
Many times I find myself desiring what I do not have, and not a few times this has led to actions that put me in the place of choosing what I want over what God wants.
The secret of learning this I believe is found in verse 13. That even in our discontent, when we have legitimate needs if we refuse to obtain what we want the wrong way God will provide strength to be content with where we are. No matter what the situation might be.

It always comes back to that doesn’t it? We are needy and weak, prone to trying to live life on our own, on our terms.
And again and again we are reminded by Ephesians 2 when we were at our worst and now wherever we may find ourselves now, But God….
He forgives, and restores, gives wisdom and guidance, gives comfort and hope, and offers no matter what life brings, contentment. If we choose to accept it. He is always in control, always has our best interests in mind we can be content with that.


“Now at last they were beginning chapter One of the great story no one on earth has read: which goes on forever”. I love this line at the end of the Last Battle by C.S. Lewis. Everyone has a story to tell and ultimately we are all part of a greater story that someday will be revealed in full. “ For now, we can only see a dim and blurry picture of things”. ( 1 Corinthians 13:12). My story is not remarkable, although the events I have had the privilege in my life to witness have been. I grew up in the south “the land of cotton” and the old times there were definitely not forgotten. I remember where I was and what I was doing when JFK and Martin Luther King were murdered in Dallas and in Memphis. I remember the Civil Rights movement, a time of great unrest and change. I remember the dawning of the “Age of Aquarius” in the late 1960’s. It was also the dawning of my love for playing music, a love that has stayed with me throughout my life. If my life were chapters in a book one would tell of my precious bride of 20+ years who endured so much and stood beside me through the good and the bad. One would describe the blessings of being a father and a grandfather. One would tell about how despite being “the wretch” the song sings about God was able to change me, and use me to make a difference in others lives, make me a servant in His church, and surround me with friends all because of His goodness. All part of a story that has had many twists and turns. I think of the words Jimmy Buffet wrote in one of my favorite songs "As a dreamer of dreams and a travelin’ man I have chalked up many a mile Read dozens of books about heroes and crooks And I learned much from both of their styles" And so it is true for me. But in all of my travels and all I have read and experienced nothing compares to where I am headed. The place where my story here ends and the story that goes on forever begins! "" I am confident that He who began a good work in you will carry it on until completion until the day He returns". Philippians 1:6 My hope is that as we all run our race that in some small way my words will encourage and speak to you, as your story is being written. And draw you ever closer to the One who loves you. Further up and further in!
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