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Things we don’t have
By: Robert Berendt (published October 23, 2014)

Very early in life, little children seem to be able to spot something that they want - something they don't have. They may have gotten used to the mother or father or a sibling getting them things they reach for and often in time a thought pattern develops about things that they don't have. The question of who does it belong to is not part of this equation - but the wish, hope and desire for an item can grow. Little ones have been known to cry, shout and pout until then get what it is that they want. They come equipped with a great tool for making noises we adults just cannot tolerate for long. It takes much time and effort for parents to teach a child the responsibility of working to earn something that they want so they can obtain it by hard work and planning. Learning to share is not an easy hill to climb for children. Involved in that is the need to teach about ownership. That means to respect what belongs to other people and to resist the innate desire that seems to have grown within - that we want it too. We can begin thinking it is not fair that others have more than us. We can begin to lust and crave whatever it is - and that leads to corrupt and wrong thinking as long as it is not controlled and corrected.

There is nothing wrong with wanting something. It can be a piece of land, a house, a wife or husband, children or gold. It is wrong to want that which belongs to someone else and allow that thought to lead to the belief that life is not fair (it isn't) and you deserve to have it. Unless carefully controlled, those thought patterns can lead to violence, plotting and scheming, theft and thoughts that can build up to false hopes and beliefs. All combined, these thought patterns can lead to rebellion and virtual self-destruction. Foolish decisions can result and in the long run, they hurt everyone including the self. In the past, some unions put up such strong and costly demands that companies caved in to accommodate and that led to the bankruptcy of the companies. The pension plans of some great automobile firms are among that kind that hurt the company in the long run. Corrupt and evil thoughts are among the root causes of war and violence in this world. Left without controls, the thinking can spread throughout a nation or population. That was the case in Jerusalem just before its final capture by Nebuchadnezzar. It was written that from the least to the greatest, among the inhabitants of Jerusalem, all were corrupted by covetousness. It was me first and survival of the fittest, smartest or strongest (Jer. 6:13). The problem was wanting or coveting something without first being willing to work for it. There is nothing wrong with wanting a piece of land and working to buy it with the agreement of the owner. There is something wrong when a person connives and plots to get the land for nothing.

Thou shall not covet…. was written by the finger of God (Exod. 20:17). In breaking that commandment by coveting that which is not ours, all the rest of the commandments God gave are also broken. The 10 Commandments do not stand alone - they are a carefully designed and planned set of orders from the Great Creator. Coveting our neighbor's house, wife, property or wealth leads to adultery, dishonesty, theft, dishonouring one's parents and dishonouring God, the author of the Commandments. He who breaks the least of these commandments breaks them all (James 2:10).

James wrote that when we want something, it is right to ask God for that item - that is to help you obtain the item, but always in a way that is pleasing to God and within His laws. God is generous and the greatest giver, but He also knows the problem that arises when a person wants something for his own selfish reasons and purposes. James wrote that if a person asked wrongly - wanting that for the self, God will not answer (James 4:3). He also wrote that fights and wars can result from coveting (verse 1). We are often jealous of those who have more that we and craving can result. We can begin to think we deserve more. That can lead to some serious and extremely foolish actions.

The first being that allowed lust and coveting to overtake his senses was Lucifer. He was one of the greatest angels that God lovingly created (Ezek. 28:12-14). He was given every good gift imaginable including eternal life - but somehow, in time, he wanted more. He wanted to be like God - like the Most High (Isa. 14:14). It was a vain and foolish thought that led him to confront God and become God's adversary. Amazingly enough a third of the innumerable angels God had created bought into Lucifer's rebellion and followed him. They all lost the battle, lost the blessings they had been given and lost their positions. Coveting leads to a corruption of the mind and of the character of anyone.

Wanting and desiring something we do not have is an important part of the nature of man that God created. God wanted humans to want to be like Him and created them in His image to get them started (Gen. 1:27). But they were to become like Him on His terms because there is no other way. It is not a sin to want a mate - a wife or husband - it is a sin to want the mate that belongs to somebody else and then allow that want to develop into lust and adulterous thoughts (Matt. 5:28). It is wrong to crave that which belongs to another. It is wrong to allow our thoughts to be corrupted so that we think we deserve that something. This driving force has been behind the attacks of Vikings who raided the coasts of England, the development and marches of armies led by someone who craves land, power or wealth. Wars, murders, rape and pillage generally all have their roots in the fulfillment of the desires someone has. All too often, those who gain that which they have coveted find that they have grasped for wind - and that is vanity.

It is God's wish and gift for mankind that we should have a mate, own a home and land and "our own fig tree" (2 Kings 18:31). But He wants us to work toward owning all of that. It is in working toward a goal that we develop inner discipline, appreciation, patience and all the virtues that God demands of those to whom He plans to give the whole universe - as co-inheritors with Jesus Christ (2 Pet. 1:5-8). The goal is immense, but getting it by force and war is Satan's way and that will not succeed. Paul wrote that we are to work with our hands so that we have something for ourselves and so that we can also be generous in helping others (I Thess. 4:11, I John 3:17). The gifts God gives cannot be bought or purchased, but they will not be given to a person who has not learned how to think as God thinks. We begin by loving His laws and that means loving Him (I John 3:10). We repent of all we have done that is breaking those laws and we gladly accept the cleansing blood of Christ. Then we strive by our deeds and actions to be like Christ. The laws of God convert the soul the Bible says (Psalm 19:7). Keeping those laws develops right thinking within a person and in time His way becomes our way, His law our law, His values our values. We develop to the point in which our names are written in His book of life and we are listed among the co-inheritors with Christ. This is what Lucifer craved and what he convinced a third of the angels they deserved. The path and goal is set by God, and not by angels or humans. Work hard to earn that house, mate, cattle or land. Work hard to gain the character that will allow God to give you eternal life and an eternal inheritance (2 Pet. 1:4). God has hoped mankind would desire what He offers. He wants us to want to live forever in His Kingdom. He has shown us the path. Things we don't have fade into insignificance compared to the things God will give.

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