As is the case with most families with young children, we have many fights, tug-of-wars, and tears shed over the sharing (or lack thereof) of toys. Sinful natures come out. Impulses are rampant. And as soon as an idea strikes or a new toy appears on the scene, the grabs are usually not far behind. Of course, we could sit here and point fingers at children acting like we don’t also struggle with covetousness. We just play our covetousness a little closer to the vest. We scroll through pictures of other people’s vacations. We drive past the “perfect” house down the street. We read novels that portray relationships that we could only ever dream of (often because they could never happen between real people!) We complain and barter with God over our health, wishing that we could have what we used to. Our sinful natures come out quietly.
Heart issues are hard issues. It’s easy for us to change our clothes and even to a degree our habits and routines, but our hearts? That’s something only God can do. When talking with and teaching our children, we often say that something only God can do is a miracle. It’s interesting that God commands us to not covet; a heart issue that we cannot do for ourselves. He commands us to live in ways in which, on our own, we will fall short, because we are fallen people. Enter Jesus. He is the Redeemer of the Heart. He is the one who can fulfill every one of God’s commands. He is the Changer of our Hearts in miraculous ways.
Practically speaking, we can also combat covetousness with some tools:
- Flee from the comparison game. This might include putting your phone away, deleting apps, discontinuing getting regular updates on the family/friend group even if that means skipping the Christmas letters.
- Feed your heart contentedness and your lips thankfulness. Assess your blessings. Count them. Thank God for them.
- Turn back to God every time you covet. He is the only one who can do this miraculous heart-change work.
- Get into relationships with people who are allowing themselves to be sanctified too. They always help point us back to God.