On Fridays during this Lenten season, we've been looking at the seven deadly sins as written about in desiring God's Killjoys. This week I want to combine the last two into one post: greed and lust.
Why, when I only need one thing at the home store, does my heart start to surge at all the pretty things? Before I know it I can come up with a long list of "needs" I never knew existed before I laid eyes on such things.
What is this in my heart? It is called greed. Avarice is what the ancients called it. Coveting is what the Bible calls it. And the 10th commandment speaks plainly against it.
You shall not covet your neighbor’s house. You shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, or his male or female servant, his ox or donkey, or anything that belongs to your neighbor. Exodus 20:17
Greed wants to hoard and get for itself. It is a misplaced desire for people, places, or things and is often tied to the love of money. If and once the thing is obtained though, there is only a short-lived joy in it. Like a mirage in the desert, it is not what it appeared to be from far off. But rather than learning that materialism and coveting doesn't deliver the goods, greed manipulates our desires to want more and more....of empty things.
Greed at its root does not believe God is enough. It flows from the lie that God is not able to satisfy our needs and longings today nor is he enough to fulfill them tomorrow. But this is not truth. The truth is that God is enough for every day. He is enough for the worst day of your life and the hardest blows you will ever face. And he is enough when the birdsong is sweet and the wind is at your back. God is enough every day.
Instead of operating out of greed, we are to work diligently unto the Lord and be good stewards of His gifts, giving cheerfully to others continually. This is how the Bible calls us to fight the sin of greed--with contentment and service in Him.
So much could be written here, but I only want to share some of the definition the author uses and then ask a few questions to help us search our own hearts for traces of lust. This sin that does not belong to men alone.
God established a relationship called marriage, in which one man and one woman make a lifelong covenant to honor each other with faithfulness and love. Sexual desire becomes the servant and the spice of that covenant bond of mutual honor. Therefore, to say to another person (with or without using words), “I want you to satisfy my sexual desire with you, but I do not want you as a covenant partner in marriage,” basically means, “I want to use your body for my pleasure, but I do not want you as a whole person.” That is dishonoring, and therefore lustful. Lust is sexual desire minus a commitment to honor the other person.
Whether we are married or not, are our thoughts and deeds sexually pure before a holy God? Do we treat others the way we want to be treated?
But among you there must not be even a hint of sexual immorality, or of any kind of impurity, or of greed, because these are improper for God’s holy people. Ephesians 5:3
- In our interactions with men, do we (as scripture teaches) treat men as brothers and older men as fathers?
- Is there even a hint of sexual immorality when we interact with men?
- And if we are married, are we committing 100% of our devotion 100% to the one man God gave us as a husband?
- Are we drinking water from our own cistern (our marriage) as in Proverbs 5?
- Are we cultivating that one relationship well?
- Or are we spilling sacred things into the street?
The meat of this chapter is hefty with many practical strategies for fighting lust. The bottom line is summed up in the greatest commandments. First, love God with all your heart, soul, and mind and second, love your neighbor as yourself.
Loving God rightly means continually putting to death the lustful thoughts and deeds that seek to destroy our affections for God.
Loving our neighbor as yourself means treating holy things as holy and not using others for sexual gain that is not ours to have.
In the case of greed and lust: where there is a growing desire for what God has not provided, may we find our satisfaction and worship in him and his good gifts. Because on any given day, in every situation, He is enough!
In Christ's love, Erika
Killjoys, Chapter 6 Greed, Dave Mathis; Chapter 8 Lust, John Piper