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Sunday, November 30, 2008

You Shall Not Covet

Jesus answered ... "You know the commandments: 'Do not murder, do not commit adultery, do not steal, do not give false testimony, do not defraud, honor your father and mother.' " (Mark 10:18-19 NIV)

"I am the LORD your God, who brought you out of captivity.
You shall have no other gods before me.
You shall not make for yourself an idol or worship them ...
You shall not misuse the name of your God ...
Observe the Sabbath day by keeping it sacred ... on it you shall not work
... nor those who serve you, so that they may rest, as you do...
Honor your father and your mother ... that it may go well with you ...
You shall not murder.
You shall not commit adultery.
You shall not steal.
You shall not deceive others.
You shall not desire your neighbor's spouse ...
and you shall not covet anything that belongs to your neighbor."
(Deuteronomy 5:6-21, author's paraphrase)

I would not have known sin except through the law. For I would not have known lust [is sin] unless the law had said, "You shall not covet." (Romans 7:7 EMTV amplified)

Mark quotes Jesus using a rather strong word to forbid coveting. Translated "defraud," the Greek apostereo means "to deprive by fraud." The Old Testament commandment "you shall not covet" actually used two different Hebrew words, forbidding us to chamad ("delight in") another's spouse, or to avah ("wish for") any thing else another owns.

Dishonor, murder, adultery, stealing and lying indeed deprive another's right to respect, life, marital privilege, ownership, or the truth. Sin begins in my heart by coveting. And my wrong desire first steals from me. It will not go well with me. I suffer hatred. My spouse loses my affection. I fail to enjoy what God has given me. I yield to the "father of lies."

The world says, "Feelings aren't right or wrong, they just are." The Bible soundly rejects that notion. We are told that "though we walk in the flesh ... [we wage war with spiritual weapons] ... bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ (2 Corinthians 10:3-5).

This is not impossible. "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me." (Philippians 4:13)

Lord of Eminence, who looks at the heart, how gracious You were to look beyond our wicked thoughts and see our potential for love. Thank You for deliverance. Thank You for creating us anew. Please help us rely on You, and walk away from the sin that no longer holds us captive.

Feedback invited. Post to "Comments" or e-mail to Copyright 2008, Anne Lang Bundy

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