Q. What is the aim of the tenth commandment?
A. That not even the slightest desire or thought contrary to any one of God’s commandments should ever arise in our hearts. Rather, with all our hearts we should always hate sin and take pleasure in whatever is right (1).
Read: (1) Ps. 19:7-14; 139:23-24; Rom. 7:7-8.
I’ve never struggled with the sins that society dislikes. I have never been into sex, drugs and rock and roll. I usually struggle with the deep, secret, hidden and socially acceptable ones. Pride, ambition, covetousness, jealousy. We live in a day in age that wanting and getting bigger and better is applauded. We live in a day in age that being better than…is more desirable than simply getting better at…. But God can’t be fooled. “Man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart” (1 Sam. 16:7). God does not only sees our actions, He also knows our hearts and our thoughts and cares for them because “the heart is deceitful above all things” (Jer 17:9) therefore, “keep your heart with all vigilance, for from it flows the springs of life” (Prov. 4:23). And so, this last commandment, just like all the rest of the commandments, God will make us examine our hearts before Him. Let’s see what He says in this last commandment as we study question 112 of The Heidelberg Catechism.
We love to see what other people are doing and what other people have. We live our lives in a virtual glass case where we get to document those infrequent but perfect snaps in our lives so that others see our perfect lives played out. And so, we go to Facebook and Instagram and see how slim and toned Sussie is; what an amazing vacation Rosie just had; Ann’s beautifully perfect kids; and Beth’s handsome husband…and our hearts get full of envy and we covet what they have. No one sees our hearts growing darker and more discontent. No one sees our mind having resentful and slandering thoughts of them who have perfect lives. But God…
See, at the core of covetousness is envy. And envy is a very deceitful sin. It seems like nothing can happen as it is a deep, secret and hidden sin that I can deal with on my own. And yet, it gives birth to theft, manslaughter, embezzlement, false testimonies, etc. Envy tells God that He is wrong and that what He has given me is not good and not enough and therefore I need to act. Envy shows our ungratefulness. And finally, envy shows that we lack a deep understanding of the grace that we have been given in Christ.
“Death and Destruction are never satisfied…and neither are the human eyes” (Proverbs 27:20). Satan knows how to target us and we fall every single time. It is through the eyes. We see and we lust after; we see and we long to have that which is not ours. “Then desire when it has conceived gives birth to sin, and sin when it is fully grown brings forth death” (James 1:15). Sister, I struggle with this…I think that if we are honest, we all do and yet, there is an answer. Jesus!
Jesus knows you and still, He loves you. He has given you exactly what you needed…both spiritually, which is the forgiveness of your sin when by faith you follow Him; and even what you have. It is only when we remember and believe that: “The Lord is my chosen portion and my cup; You hold my lot. The lines have fallen for me in pleasant places; indeed, I have a beautiful inheritance” (Psalm 16:6), when we are able to see the wonderful graces that God gives us every day.
So dearest sister, as we finish this teaching, I want to ask you; what are you coveting? Where are you believing the lie that God has short changed you? What is it that you are not thankful for? And will you count your blessings and write a list of the things that you (and I) often take for granted but that we should be grateful for? May we learn to say, God is my portion and He is all I need!