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Purity 101

Purity vs. Covetousness


"The prince that wanteth understanding is also a great oppressor: but he that hateth covetousness shall prolong his days." Proverbs 28:16

     What causes this prince who is in want of, or lacks, understanding to crush or burden his people? The second half of the verse gives the answer: covetousness.
     Covetousness means craving wealth, possessions and/or someone else's possessions. It's interesting to note that no matter how rich or poor you are, you can always find something to covet.
     What do you covet?
     I've been noticing that this is a good time to address covetousness in our lives. You'd think that just after Christmas with its wealth of presents and pleasures, we'd be feeling completely content, happy with our new possessions, but that's not so. At least, not at my house.
     Before Christmas, I asked my son and daughter, "What do you want for Christmas?"
     "I don't care," they'd respond. "Surprise me." My son mentioned one game for his Gameboy Advance, and that was about it.
     Well, family members rely on me to tell them what the kids want, so I bought Joel a used Xbox, and family members were happy to supply him with games. For Holly, I suggested Webkinz, an idea I got from a friend.
     Christmas came, and my son was excited about his Xbox…until Holly started playing with her Webkinz. Now, he's counting down to his birthday (in March!), so he can get a Webkinz. As for Holly, she now realizes her need for Littlest Pet Shop toys--something she had no interest in until the other girls in her class got them for Christmas.


     Even I am not immune to the covetousness bug. I was excited about my new Belgian waffle maker, until I read that it makes crispy waffles. Then, I was sad because I prefer thick, fluffy waffles. But, when I used it, the waffles turned out thinner than I'd hoped and very limp. So, I used the rest of the batter up trying to figure out what I was doing wrong that was causing the outsides not to be crisp. And I don't even like crisp waffles!
     As you can see, part of our sin nature is a tendency to want whatever it is we don't have. It's a "grass is always greener…" complex that causes us to think that if we just had more stuff, different stuff or better stuff we'd be happier.
     Not so, according to God's Word. "But godliness with contentment is great gain," according to 1 Timothy 6:6. Covetousness causes discontent and unhappiness, not only in us but in those around us as well.
     That's why God advises the unwise prince to learn contentment before his unhappy people revolt, thus ending his oppressive reign.
     Think about it. Is your covetousness causing you to be an unhappy princess? Are your parents ready to revolt because of your continual discontent or demands? Is your constant complaining hurting your friends' ears?
     If so, you need to apply Proverbs 28:16 to your life by learning to hate covetousness. You'll be happier, and those around you will stop referring to you as a "royal pain!"

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