James 1:13-17 – Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am being tempted by God,” for God cannot be tempted with evil, and he himself tempts no one. But each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire. Then desire when it has conceived gives birth to sin, and sin when it is fully grown brings forth death. Do not be deceived, my beloved brothers. Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change.
James 4:1-2 – What causes quarrels and what causes fights among you? Is it not this, that your passions are at war within you? You desire and do not have, so you murder. You covet and cannot obtain, so you fight and quarrel. You do not have, because you do not ask.
God is a Father. Like any good parent, God knows what His kids need and does not give them things that will harm them. When there is something we want, the Father sometimes says “no,” and at other times says “later” for when we are ready.
Coveting hurts your relationship with God. It also hurts people you love. Who makes you jealous? Who annoys you because of his or her beauty, income, humor, intellect, popularity, success, health, marriage, children, and so on? How is your relationship with that person? Do you criticize the person behind his or her back? Do you wish the person would suffer or lose what he or she has? Do you wish you could trade places with the person?
God did nothing wrong to Satan. Satan simply coveted the glory God received. As a result their relationship was destroyed. This demonic deception continues in human relationships today.
When we covet someone and feed our jealousy, the issue is not really between us and the person; it’s between us and God. God invites us to replace coveting with praying. In prayer we can ask God for what we need rather than seeking to have what He has already given others.
When we take our requests to God, it reveals our heart. If we are honest, we all covet things that we’d never ask God for because we know the desire is ungodly or unhealthy. As we bring what we think we need to God, we invite God to show us the difference between our need and our greed. Sometimes God graciously gives us the thing we ask for, just as He has graciously provided it for the person we envied.
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For the entire eight-week “Win Your War” sermon series from Pastor Mark, visit www.markdriscoll.org or the Mark Driscoll Ministries app.