EBible Fellowship Sunday Bible Study – 10-Aug-2008


by John McOwen


This is on the topic of coveting, and specifically and in particular, coveting and its consequences.  We are going to look at the word, what does coveting mean? What does it mean to covet?  There are a lot of Bible passages and Scripture references on this very word, both in the Old and in the New Testament. But it is very salient for us to look at this, as we live in a world that is very easy to covet. And hence the reason why we are going to study it this morning. 

I want to open up in Hebrews 13:5, and if you have your Bible with you, if you want to open up to Hebrews 13, we are going to look at one verse and begin there.  Verse 5 reads:

Let your conversation …

And let me translate that old English word “conversation” to what it really means in today’s language:

Let your [conduct] be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.

So, in other words, the Bible is saying here, do not let your conduct have covetousness in it, or with it, or about it, and therefore:

be content with such things as ye have: …

So, if you did not even know what the word “coveting” meant, you could probably insinuate from this verse that when it says:

be content with such things as ye have: …

Coveting probably means the opposite of to be discontented. Therefore, I want something that I do not have. And really today, the word “coveting” means to wish for enviously.  So think about that, to wish for enviously.  When you envy something, you want something someone else has, you envy that, whether it is a person, a thing, an object.  Another definition for coveting is to feel inordinate desire for what belongs to another.  That is the same meaning really, but I think it really captures the essence of coveting, to feel inordinate desire for what belongs to another.  In other words, it is something that is specific to someone else, and you have an inordinate desire for it.  It would not be coveting to desire fresh air to breath, that is available to everyone.  But someone else’s wife, that is off limits, that is inordinate desire if I desire or long for, or want what belongs to another.  So let me ask this as we read in this verse:

Let your [conduct] be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: …

Do you trust God to meet your needs?  That is really the essence of what is being spoken of here, as we look at the word “coveting” and what it means.  Do you really trust God to meet your needs whatever your needs may be?  How about, do you trust God to make you, or to have you feel fulfilled because you may have a lot of your material needs met? You can have a lot of wealth for instance and still covet. So, it is not that necessarily, you need something that you do not have, like more money, you might have all the money in the world and still covet.  Well then, perhaps you are coveting there, because you do not feel fulfilled with what you do have.  So I am going to ask you the question pointedly. Today, do you trust God not only to meet your needs, but to make you feel fulfilled?  And you should, because the Bible says in this verse at the end:

…for he hath said, …

This is speaking about God.

… I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.

So God is never going to leave you and therefore you should not fall into the sin of coveting.  There is a lot of encouragement in the Scriptures to help us avoid this.  So let us turn to one of the best passages in the New Testament, in 1 Timothy 6.  So let us go to 1 Timothy 6 and see what the Lord says here. And we are going to pickup in verse 6, all great verses, and we are going to look at each one, specifically, verse 6:

But godliness with contentment is great gain.

A lot of times we think, we gain if we want to aspire to something higher in life, get a higher degree in school, or compete against another company if you own a business, or if you are in a business and you are in a certain industry and you want to be the best. But God says here:

But godliness with contentment is great gain.

That is when you are going to gain.  You are going to gain when you are godly, meaning that you are following the commandments of God, and you are content. That is the word there, “contentment” with what I do have.  Contentment with how I look as a person, because we can covet someone else’s appearance, can we not?  And is it not prevalent today, especially in the television community in Hollywood, and elsewhere in TV, that getting the plastic surgery, it is everywhere if you are on TV now, and you reach a certain age, you almost automatically have to have plastic surgery to make yourself look younger.  You are not content with how you look.  The Bible says, your “godliness with contentment is great gain.”  Contentment with where I live, my house, my car, my clothing, the food that I am able to get, things like that.  For the Bible says in verse 7:

For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out.

There is that reminder again, that reminder that when you came into the world you came in naked as a baby, with nothing. And all of a sudden when you die, yes you might have a suit on you if you are a man, or a nice dress, if you are a woman. Perhaps you might leave a piece of jewelry on your finger, or around your wrist, but it is all going to decay in the ground, and you are going to return to the dust from whence you were brought up, as Adam was formed from the dust of the ground.  So the Bible tells us that, that is the reason you are going to leave without it, so do not be so consumed and interested in the things around you that so easily draw your attention away.  And now we have great encouragement in verse 8:

And having food and raiment …

And I will translate that word “raiment” as clothing, that is what the word means today:

And having food and [clothing] let us be therewith content.

That is pretty simple is it not?  Food and clothing, that is really the basics of life. And most people in the third world countries, is that not pretty much all that they have?  In many, many countries of the world, food and clothing is pretty much as good as it gets, and the Bible says here with those two things, be content.  How about us here in America?  Well, first of all, let us start with the clothing. Our closets are bulging with clothes, are they not? And how about the grocery store for food? How many of you went food shopping yesterday? You have a plethora of items available to you.  What am I going to have for dinner this week?  You have a multitude of choices, steak, maybe I will have salmon, or chicken. There are all kinds of vegetables at your disposal here in the summertime, grains galore. Snacks, you have aisles just dedicated in the grocery store just of snack food. Drinks, the same thing, both sides of an aisle just loaded with drinks, any choice you want.  We can pick out anything today. Most of us, we have the ability to buy almost anything we want, we are very spoiled in this country, very spoiled, but actually beyond measure.  I mean, when you think about what other people have to choose from, it may just be beans and rice, in some countries it is the main staple of their diet.  But the Scriptures said, with food and clothing be content, be content.  And even with those two items here where we live, we have an incredible choice before us.  So it is even easier to be content with those two things where we live.  There is no excuse in other words, no excuse at all.  Let us go on, verse 9, same chapter. 1 Timothy 6:

But they that will be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and hurtful lusts, which drown men in destruction and perdition.

What is an example there?  The stock market.  How many of you have ever or do currently invest in the stock market? Or perhaps you have wanted to get a quick gain, get rich quick.  Let me invest in the bull market. Remember the stock market in the late 90’s was an incredible bull market, it sucked a lot of people in, and all of a sudden it plateaued in 2000, and it has been relatively level ever since 2001.  But what happens when I go into a business venture to make a quick dollar or perhaps again the stock market another example?  I am not saying it is wrong to invest in the stock market I am simply saying when you do it with the desire for a quick dollar, what normally happens?  The next thing you know you are wiped out, you are wiped out.  And that is what the Bible says here, it says, “they that will be rich,” you are doing it because you want to be rich, because you want to be able to get things the money is going to give you, and we “fall into temptation and a snare.”  The making of money to be rich is a snare, it really is a snare, and we all have to be conscience of that in our own lives, we have to be because it is so easy to fall into that, and to get sucked into that mindset, because it is all around us.  That is what everyone wants. If you work today, that is what people want, they want to get more and more money, they want to do more and more things with their money, and they are always in that environment, and it is very difficult.  Well, let us go to verse 10, because if “they that will be rich fall into temptation and a snare” they fall into hurtful lusts.  Verse 10 says:

For the love of money is the …

That is really a strong word there “the” it is really “a”:

For the love of money is [a] root of all evil: which while some coveted after, …

There is our word “covet.”

…they have erred from the faith, …

So what happens here is when you are pursuing this money, “the love of money,” you are coveting after it, what happens?  You cannot “serve two masters.”  You “erred from the faith,” you pierce yourself “through with many sorrows.”  God is putting His finger right on the problem here in the world, and the problem is money, money is what makes the world go around, is it not?  It really is the grease for the wheels of the world economy, it is money and the making of money.  And we still have an old nature. If you are saved today if you are a child of God, you have an old nature that still lusts after sin.  If you are not saved, if you are not a child of God yet, you naturally have these desires too. So you see, no matter what state you are in, you still have a part of you that lusts after these things of the world because you have the old nature, and it is called the flesh.  And the flesh lusts after these things, these things are very appealing, there is no denying it. 

What kinds of things are very pleasing to our eyes?  A big bank account, a big house, a nice shiny new car, very pleasant and delectable food, and people.  If you are a girl, a handsome man is still something that could be very appealing to you, and vice versa for a man, an attractive woman could be a very appealing desire for you, because God put that in each one of us in the genders.  We still live in the flesh, hence we are still susceptible to these lusts and coveting after them.  So we have to remind ourselves of how wrong it is to do it, and the consequences of what happens when we do succumb to it.  That is why we are studying this today for our own benefit, I am speaking to you, I am speaking to myself as always, and we are all in the same boat.  So let us take a look at what the Scriptures say in verses 11-12 now, of the same chapter:

But thou, O man of God, …

So if you claim to be a child of God, you, He says:

…flee these things; …

Look at that word “flee these things,” get away from them, get yourself far from them.  Why?

… follow after righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, meekness.

If I am to “flee these things,” I have to get myself and my eyes off the money, off the business venture that is going to get me rich quick, or the investment, and I am to focus on the Kingdom of God. And what is the end product of the Kingdom of God?  If I focus on the Kingdom of God, it is not like I am denying myself of this pleasure, and it is just going to be a very difficult discipline to uphold, there is an incredible reward. And if you are following after the Kingdom of God, what is that reward?  It is really the end all of it all, it is eternal life, eternal life in the New Heaven and the New Earth, because we see here that when you “flee these things” the Bible says:

… follow after righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, meekness.

Make yourself interested in these kinds of qualities and attributes with the people that are around you:

Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, …

There is the end, the end product is “eternal life.”

… whereunto thou art also called, and hast professed a good profession before many witnesses.

So do not let up, do not give up in this pursuit, “strive to enter in at the strait gate” “labour therefore to enter into that rest.”  And that is a huge encouragement for everyone to go after. 

Well then, why are we sometimes depressed, or unhappy?  Often times we still feel that way. Even if you are a Christian, sometimes you get into a funk or a doldrum and you call it depression or unhappiness. Well, we sometimes feel that we are missing out on something, right? Is that not the reason why you feel depressed, I am missing out?  Your neighbor just brought a nice new glitzy, shining car, and you have an old jalopy, it barely passes inspection, and you have to patch it up every year to keep it going, but you are feeling unhappy because your neighbor has something you really would like to have too.  That is why you are depressed, because you do not have something that you really want, at least you think you want it.  We are unhappy because we cannot have it, maybe I cannot get it even if I had the money, I do not have the money, so I cannot even get it if I wanted it.  But remember what the Christian life is on this earth, which is a very temporary existence, with only a little time left anyway, so it is even easier for us today knowing the end of it all.  There is no excuse for us living today who are aware of the end coming very soon, because the Christian is to live as a stranger and a pilgrim on this earth, right?  A stranger and a pilgrim means you are a foreigner to this whole situation, so you are to remove yourself from these lusts, from this coveting because this stuff ultimately does not matter, right?  It does not in the grand scheme of things this is all going to be burned up soon anyway so take your eyes off it.  Get your desire away from it because it is not where you want to be focused.  You know the whole purpose of advertising is to make you feel unhappy, is it not?  If you do not have this car, or this brand of clothing, you are simply not going to be popular, you are not going to feel good.  Well, why do you then get depressed or why do you feel unhappy?  Because you are exposing yourself to that stuff, get away from the TV, that advertising is just going to bombard you with those feelings of unhappiness, or depression, because you do not have what is being advertised, stop leafing through all those ads in the Sunday newspaper.  They are just going to make you want, want, want, more and more stuff. 

Well, there is another great passage in the New Testament about coveting, which is another help and encouragement. It is in Matthew 6.  So let us go there next, in Matthew 6 and in verse 24, is where we will begin.  I cannot covet things of this world and pursue God’s Kingdom at the same time, or simultaneously.  To use a mathematical term, they are mutually exclusive sets they do not intersect.  Matthew 6:24:

No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon.

And just picture mammon being wealth, the things, the money, the things of this world.  You cannot serve both!  They are exclusive of one another here, because you can only love one with all your heart.  It is just like when you get married, you can only love one other person truly with all your heart and all your soul and mind and strength.  Well, let us go to verse 25:

Therefore I say unto you, Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink; nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on. …

Now did we not just read earlier that we are to be content with food and clothing?  And now Jesus is saying, do not even take any thought for that.  Why? 

… Is not the life more than meat, and the body than raiment?

So, Christ is now telling us, not only are we supposed to be content with those two things, but He is saying do not even put your mind on them, do not even think about them, be content with them, because your life and body are more then the food and clothing.  He goes on in verse 26 to explain that:

Behold the fowls of the air: for they sow not, …

In other words they are not planting any seeds.

… neither do they reap, …

They are not out there gathering in the fresh corn that is now five feet high ready to be harvested.

… nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feedeth them. …

Remember that is the birds of the air.  God is feeding them.

… Are ye not much better than they?

So now, God is telling us to put our focus on the creatures He made. He feeds them, and He clothes them, and they are not even thinking about it, they do not have a brain to go through all those gyrations, to worry about where is my next meal coming from, but they just go day by day, to every morning.  Are the birds ever unhappy?  They are singing every single morning in the summertime.  I wake up, I take a walk to the train station every morning, and I hear them every single morning.  They are not worrying about stuff.  God says here:

…Are ye not much better than they?

Why are we better then the creatures that God made, the other species?  Because we were made in the image of God.  So we are better than them, He made us in His image, He put us over them. He said, if you are better than they, and I do that for them, what do you think I am going to do for you?  Much more of course.  Well, He goes on to say in verse 27:

Which of you by taking thought can add one cubit unto his stature?

If you are 5’11” can you turn yourself into 6’ tall?  No you cannot, it cannot happen.  You could put more muscle on your body, but you cannot change your height.  And He goes on to say in verse 28:

And why take ye thought for raiment? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin:

They are not getting all worked up about having the next best fashion for back to school in September.  Jesus said in verse 29:

And yet I say unto you, That even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.

Solomon was really known the peg in history with the greatest wealth, the greatest honor, the greatest splendor of any king that ever lived.  And God says here:

That even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.

The lilies of the field,” that do not worry about how they are clothed, what they look like. So God is saying, take your mind off of worrying about that stuff, it will take care of itself.  He will take care of you, so do not covet these things, therefore do not even worry about them, because He is going to meet your needs.  He says in verse 30:

Wherefore, if God so clothe the grass of the field, …

Like a lily is in that whole meadow and field:

… which to day is, and to morrow is cast into the oven, shall he not much more clothe you, O ye of little faith?

Now, He is putting His finger on another problem, we do not have faith.  When we do not trust Him, we get worked up into a tizzy, do we not?  “Oh, what are we going to have? We are not going to have enough money for food this week,” or “Well, how are we going to put clothes on the kids for school this year?”  He says, if I do that to the field, and that is temporary, that stuff dies every year, and then grows back the next year, and eventually it is all going to go up in smoke anyway on October 21, 2011.  He says here, why would you worry, “O ye of little faith?”  It is just faith that is the issue, if you find yourself coveting things that you should not be, you have to look at the root cause, you do not have faith in God, you are not trusting Him to meet your needs and to be fulfilled.  Remember, those were the two issues.  You can have a lot of stuff, a lot of wealth, and still covet, that means you are not fulfilled with what you have.  It is not that you need another car, you already have three in the garage, a three car garage no less, you want a fourth, not that you need it, you want it because you do not feel fulfilled.  That is wrong, God is saying here, you do not have faith.  Verse 31:

Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed?

Verse 32:

(For after all these things do the Gentiles seek:) for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things.

That is the whole key, to avoid worrying. If you have trouble sleeping at night because you worry all the time, it is another issue right there, because God your Father knows you have needs, He knows what you need, you do not even need to tell Him, or ask Him, He already knows what your needs are.  So He says here, all the Gentiles, the rest of the world seeks after this stuff, that is what the kids in school are talking about, the latest cell phone technology and design, and clothes of course. And at the workplace, it is the house, and it is the car, and the sex, those are the three drivers in the adult community.  And God is saying here, your Father knows what you need ahead of time, do not worry about it, do not worry about it. That is not easy to do, it is easy to say. But, we have to keep going into the Scriptures to remind ourselves that, it is true, and my faith has to be stronger in trusting God for these things.  Look at verse 33, this is really huge:

But seek ye first the kingdom of God, …

So you are worrying, am I going to have the food, am I going to have clothing, or all those things I think I need or want?

But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.

So, what is the lesson there?  A priority.  What comes first?  If He is saying that that is what you want, or you know you have needs, He is saying do not worry about that stuff. He says first, seek “the kingdom of God, and his righteousness,” and then guess what happens?  That is the solution, that is the solution, to stop worrying about any problems in life too.  “Seek ye first the kingdom of God.” So you are seeking Him, you are reading the Scriptures, that is where you are going to find it.  “The kingdom of God,” you are going to find through the “Word of God,” and you are going to seek “his righteousness” through Jesus Christ. The more you focus on that, and get yourself back into the Word, and back into prayer about spiritual things, not physical things, see the difference?  Spiritual issues are now what I am focusing on, not physical. And guess what? God says, it is easy.  Have you ever hear about the saying, the simplest things in life, the simplest things in life, not only are they the easiest, but they are the most effective.  And He says here, that if you seek My Kingdom first, you are not even going to have to worry about those other things, they are just going to happen. 

… and all these things shall be added unto you.

So, the things that you do need will follow.  That is the beauty of it. And we are thinking, that is counter intuitive to how we think. “If I do not worry about it, boy it is not going to get done. Who is going to do the laundry” or “Who is going to cook the meal tonight?” And God says, do not worry about this stuff, “seek ye first the kingdom of God,” and you know these things are just going to come and follow, they are going to be added right to your life.  It is going to be so easy.  But we make it hard because we focus on worrying, and unfortunately coveting a lot of these other things at the expense of pursuit of the Kingdom of God.  See how they are exclusive and it ruins us, it ruins us. 

One of the keys to focusing on the Kingdom of God and not worrying, is to be thankful for what you do have, it starts there.  It is a great way to wake up every morning to thank God. Spend the first five minutes that you awake, do this exercise all week, I guarantee it will change your life, if you have not done it to this point.  The first five minutes that you awake, even while you are getting up, or going up for a drink, or go in to the bathroom for a shower, or whatever, for the first five minutes in your mind, just be thinking of thankfulness, gratitude. Lord thank you for my wife, thank you for my children, thank you for my health, thanks for the clothes that I have, thanks for our cabinets that are filled with food, and our refrigerator, thank you for the Bible, I thank you for salvation.  All the other things in life, my job, my school, my abilities, whatever talents God has given you, just start rattling them off, and I guarantee you five minutes will not be enough time. And the next day, do it again, you will think of some new things, maybe you will repeat things that are really, really valuable to you, and you will be grateful. And you start each day with five minutes of gratitude, I am guaranteeing you that, you will have less and less worry, and less and less lust, less and less coveting after the things of the world. 

If you need help with that, that is still not enough. I encourage you, and I am not going to read it today, but I encourage you to put it down in your mind, or on your notes. Luke 16 is a great parable of the rich man and Lazarus. And what was that all about?  Lazarus was really in the worst possible situation humanly speaking you could be in.  The only thing close to that today, or maybe equivalent perhaps with me, I am in Center City Philadelphia every day working, and there are destitute people begging on the side of the street daily, some legitimately I am sure, and others, it is an act, and it is hard to discern sometimes. But none the less, Lazarus was that poor man who was the beggar, who had sores all over his body, dogs licking his wounds, begging for crumbs from the table just to get by for another day.  Now I do not know about you, but I do not know anyone personally who is in as bad of a situation as Lazarus, and I know I am not, myself.  Now if Lazarus had all those “problems” and worries, what was the end result?  God showed us in that parable that he was in “Abraham’s bosom,” he was in God’s bosom, he had eternal life. And so, when this world ended, he had everything you could ever imagine, because he is in the New Heaven and the New Earth, and incredibly blessed.  He has eternal life.  So if you struggle with, I do not have enough, or I think I need things that I do not have, or I worry about stuff all the time, or I do not trust God that He is going to be able to perform what I need, or what I think will get me through this, read the parable of Lazarus and the rich man in Luke 16, and remember what we are talking about today. 

So we are going to close with one particular example.  It is always good when you talk about a theme of coveting and its consequences, and we have given examples from here and there. But now let us go to the Bible and pick one, and drive the point home with one real example that will help drive home the point of the whole lesson, which is not to covet, and if you do find yourself coveting, there are incredibly huge consequences, and it is going to be one particular sin, and it is in Exodus 20:17.  And children, Exodus 20 is the chapter that gives me what, what is in that chapter? The Ten Commandments. And the tenth and last one is found in verse 17.  So, I am going to ask you to turn there if you would so you can read it yourself:

Thou shalt not covet thy neighbour’s house, thou shalt not covet thy neighbour’s wife, nor his manservant, nor his maidservant, nor his ox, nor his ass, nor any thing that is thy neighbour’s.

So we say the tenth commandment is “Thou shalt not covet.” A couple examples are given of common things that we covet after, and then it just underscores at the end “nor any thing” “any thing that is thy neighbour’s” you shall not covet.  Remember what the definition of coveting was?  To feel inordinate desire for what belongs to another, that is why it is saying here, do not covet “any thing that is thy neighbour’s.”  It is not coveting if I desire fresh air, that is available in abundance for all of us, remember that?  But if it is my neighbour’s, I can not covet after that, and the Bible says here a couple of examples.  What is the end result or consequence of coveting?  Let us go over one of these examples here God said in this commandment:

… thou shalt not covet thy neighbour’s wife, …

So let us pick adultery as the example.  Jesus spoke about that a lot of times in the New Testament. And let us go to Matthew 5:27 and see what He says.  Matthew 5:27, He defines it even further. What does it mean to feel inordinate desire towards someone else’s wife?  If you are a man, let us just look at that one example.  Matthew 5:27, Jesus said:

Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, Thou shalt not commit adultery:

We just read that in Exodus 20, we just read it.  And then He says in verse 28:

But I say unto you, …

So He is going to give further elucidation on that commandment:

… That whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart.

Now God is saying, it is not just a physical act, but it is the desire in your heart when you see someone and you have lustful thoughts or desires.  Well, He is defining that act as adultery, as coveting:

… thou shalt not covet thy neighbour’s wife, …

What is the consequence of that particular sin?  If we did not think it qualified for anything in particular more than any other. We are going to look at Galatians 5, and let the Bible tell us what the consequence is.  You do not need me to say it, let us let the Bible define it for us.  In Galatians 5:19 the Scriptures say:

Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; …

So this is what the flesh desires, covets, gets into, fall into traps.  The very first one is adultery, and then fornication, and uncleanness, etc, etc.  So adultery is listed as a work of the flesh, it is part of that fleshly desire.  Let me go back to an issue we said earlier. Whether you are a child of God or not, you still have an old nature that lusts after sin, so you are all, including me, capable of committing this sin.  And He says here, verse 17:

For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, …

Verse 19:

… the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, …

And in verse 21 at the end He says:

… I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.

So you see the consequence of adultery, or coveting another man’s wife, is that you are not going to inherit eternal life. But remember Lazarus who had nothing, that was what he got was eternal life. What did the rich man get?  He did not get eternal life, he did not inherit eternal life, he was in that hell fire for the five months, and then he was going to cease to exist forever more.  So you see that is huge! 

The bottom line is this as we close the lesson, coveting after anything, whether it is your neighbour’s wife, or anything else, is simply not worth it, that is the bottom line.  The Proverbs say:

Bread of deceit is sweet to a man; but afterwards his mouth shall be filled with gravel. 

The rich man, that stuff was sweet, but afterwards his mouth was filled with gravel.  That was a bad taste of rocks in his mouth when he realized he had traded all that stuff for no eternal life.  He lost out on the greatest gift man could ever have, what we were designed to have, eternal life.  So, coveting is simply not worth it, it is a bad trade, so do not do it.  Trust God to meet your needs and to have you fulfilled in this life before the next life is ushered in. 

May God give us all the strength and the power to avoid this very, pernicious sin of coveting.  Amen.