My wife Melissa has just published a wonderful new book, The Envy of Eve: Finding Contentment in a Covetous World (Christian Focus, 2012). The issue of coveting is one that does not get much attention in today’s church (when’s the last time you heard a sermon on it?). Yet, as she points out in her book, coveting is really a “mother” sin. That is, when left unchecked it can give birth to all kinds of other sins.
Thus, coveting is the foundation for suspicion of, and rebellion against, both our maker and our neighbor. In this sense, coveting is the direct opposite of the two greatest commandments: “And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and…’You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these” (Mark 12:30-31). As a result, coveting makes something else our greatest desire instead of God. It is idolatry.For instance, if I covet my neighbor’s possessions it puts enmity between myself and my neighbor. Thus, I am less likely to serve/love my neighbor, more likely to gossip against my neighbor, and maybe even steal from my neighbor. Moreover, coveting can seriously harm our relationship with God. To covet is to be dissatisfied with the state of affairs that God has providentially brought into our life. Thus, to covet is to be dissatisfied with God himself. Is it any surprise, then, that perhaps the very first sin in the Bible was coveting? Eve saw that “the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was to be desired to make one wise, she took its fruit and ate” (Gen 3:6).
But, The Envy of Eve does more than just diagnose the problem. It suggests a clear path to overcoming this sin pattern. But, you will have to go get the book to learn more about how to do that!