The Sin of Coveting: Navigating Temptations and Trusting in God's Provision

The tenth commandment is about coveting. So what is coveting? Let’s delve deeper into this overlooked element of the will of God and explore how the world of today drives people towards sinning against God. It is important to understand that we live in the age of information where computer technology sits at the center of our lives. Information about the lives of other people including their property and loved ones is made available to us through technology creating a very profound system of interconnection that the world considers important and part of advancement of civilization. In this essay, we will delve into the often-overlooked sin of coveting and explore how our modern, interconnected world drives us towards sinning against God.

Defining Coveting and Its Implications

Coveting is associated with the desire for things that we do not have. It includes the desire for material things belonging to others as well as people. It goes further into the fulfilment or gratification of these desires which the Bible considers a sin. So what is it about things that belong to others that can create stumbling blocks for us? The answer to this question lies in where we get sustenance and provision. Our faith and trust should rest solely in God, as Hebrews 13:5 reminds us: "Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee."

Trusting in God’s Provision

This verse reiterates the reason for our trust in God by assuring us that the creator of everything will never leave us nor forsake us. Since God is with us, we need to always be satisfied with what we have. It is from this hope that we can thrive in a position where coveting is not an option for us.


There are multiple promises in the Bible from God associated with provision, sustenance and everything that we need to live a complete, peaceful and content life. The overall principle and picture from the Bible is that God is our provider. He is always mindful of us. His plans for us are good and will work out. We, therefore, should not be afraid of anything. God places His word above His name and this means that we ought to trust that He will provide. Because everything will work out for good, we should be content with what we have because what we have also comes from God. We should learn to wait because at the appointed time God will make it happen.

The Kingdom of God vs. the Worldly System

Understanding the problem of coveting, lack of contentment and greed can only be explored through knowledge of the difference between the Kingdom of God and the Kingdom of darkness which is characterized by the current world system or Babylonian system. In the Kingdom of God, citizens or believers have access to the vastness of the riches of the glory of God. It is for this reason that coveting and greed are considered a sin against God. Believers have whatever they need from God and only have to access them. In the Kingdom of God, love for God and love for your neighbor are critical pillars. By trusting God and loving your neighbors there is no need for the desire of other things. God provides us with everything that we need.

Coveting as a Sin Against God

So why is coveting a sin? It is because it goes against a crucial principle of the Kingdom of God.

Romans 13: 14

Rather, clothe yourselves with the Lord Jesus Christ, and do not think about how to gratify the desires of the flesh.

It is important to understand that in this fallen state of the world. There are three elements that are against the human being. These three elements are against the will of God and push for the fall of humanity and his eternal death and damnation. The first element is the flesh. Apostle Paul in Romans 8: 7 highlights a crucial aspect of the flesh which is that it is enmity against God and is thus not subject to God’s law and cannot be, “Because the [a]carnal mind is enmity against God; for it is not subject to the law of God, nor indeed can be.” Being carnally minded is associated with the gratification of the desires of the flesh and is for this reason that God gave the commandment of “Do not Covet” to the Israelites which was for them to fight against the flesh. However, the law was incapable because the flesh cannot be subject to the Law of God. 


The second aspect is the devil. He is a fallen angel cast out of heaven by God and consumed by evil and therefore opposes everything that is of God. 2 Thessalonians 2: 4 highlights Satan’s motivation, “Who opposed and exalted himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God.” Satan is therefore in opposition to the kingdom of God and therefore, coveting is one of the ways he uses to make man stumble and sin against God. 


The third aspect is the worldly system. This is a Babylonian system shaped and influenced by the devil and his efforts to oppose God and corrupt everything of God. The worldly system has become potent for humanity because of systems and structures put in place to ensure that man stumbles and falls.  Everything in this world is under the dominion of God but Satan seeks to corrupt them.

Overcoming Coveting Through Christ

So coveting is a sin against God and in this world, the flesh, the devil and the worldly system influenced by the devil drive us towards sinning against God. However, these three aspects have already been defeated. The head of the serpent was crushed by Christ on the cross. Jesus Christ has provided us with power and authority against the flesh, the devil and his kingdom of darkness. You need to be born again to receive the Holy Spirit. The law of the Spirit gives you life and sets you free from the law of sin and death that the flesh could not be subject to. We are, therefore, called to live according to the Spirit and not the flesh and not to gratify the desires of the flesh. By having a carnal mind, you become subject to coveting and ultimately greed which leads to sin against God. By living according to the Spirit you put the fleshy desires to death and allow the Spirit of God to give your life that is subject to the will of God. 

Modern Temptations: Love for Money and Social Media

In the world of today, there are two aspects that go hand in hand with coveting. The first is the love for money and the second is the rampant spread of influence through social media. While money is important people should put their trust in God. This is why money is considered the root of all problems. It is because money represents a major way people gratify their fleshly desires. The pursuit of money and wealth is prohibited in the Bible because it leads to coveting. Instead, the Bible asks us to trust in God as our main source of provision and other things will be added unto us. So do not focus on money and don’t love money. Put your trust in God and He will provide for you, the way that He provides for ravens as explored in Luke 12:22-24.


Social media has become a tool for the devil for creating a stumbling block for people in many ways and one of them is coveting. Social media has exacerbated an emphasis on the self. The propagation of self, pride, boasting, selfishness, excess, greed, corruption and many forms of evil. Social media has become a place where everything about people is laid in front of us to consume with our eyes.

Conclusion

Coveting is one of the most overlooked requirements of the righteousness of God. In the world of excessive use of social media and reliance on computer technology, people are susceptible and vulnerable to the devices of the devil that lead to coveting. Let’s remember that God is our source of strength, joy, sustenance, provision and every need in our lives. Let’s clothe ourselves with Jesus Christ. Let’s open our eyes of discernment to the world to behold and perceive stumbling blocks against us placed before us by the enemy. David expresses an important sentiment to God in Psalm 119:37 “Turn away my eyes from looking at worthless things, and revive me in Your way. “