(Central verse from Proverbs 15 is found further down the page, interwoven with the thoughts written here…)
The “Green Eyed Monster” takes over when we cannot distinguish between needs and wants. It’s the “gimme more” mindset. Jesus’ admonition: “And he said unto them, Take heed, and beware of covetousness: for a man’s life consisteth not in the abundance of the things which he possesseth.” (Luke 12:15)
A simple definition of covetousness is greed. It’s a really fascinating subject, and I hope you’ll stop a moment and go to the following link and consider its several aspects. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Greed
What do covetousness, jealousy, and trespassing have in common? They walk together, but in somewhat the same manner as the Three Stooges, but spiritually such antics only pave the way to destruction.
If you think about it, when you covet something, you may “cross the line” or a boundary to have it. Boundary crashing on any level is “trespassing”. You may think that you are entitled to have something someone else has, so you may even premeditate a plan to acquire it, to steal it. It begins in the mind. Jesus gives us an example, “But I say unto you, That whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart.” (Matthew 5:28)
In the Lord’s Prayer, for example, we pray to be forgiven our trespasses, to not be led into temptation, and finally to be delivered from evil.
I would submit that in order to understand what we call “original” sin in mankind is actually rooted in the covetousness and boundary crashing of the Watchers, or fallen angels. Self ambition as covetousness, and a desire to step over the boundaries of one’s God ordained domains and duties, is the angelic original sin that preceded human original sin. They wanted to control humankind, possess our souls, and the earth given to us by God. They wanted our domains, being dissatisfied with their own. They wanted to replace God. Lucifer wanted what Jesus had, as King of kings and Lord of lords.
I think we Christians may need a reminder these days as to these components of an adversarial presence among us, which is very real. This has been downplayed by doctrines which state that there is no such thing as evil, or that there is no God.
On a personal note, I highly recommend the Book Of Enoch (you can read it online at http://www.hiddenbible.com/enoch/online.html ). For whatever reason, the Lord used this book to draw me back into the Bible at a time when I’d become somewhat lax in my Christian perspective and pursuit, and for me it absolutely is key to understanding “the fall before the fall”, why things are such a mess, and what is to become of us and our world. I find it to be absolutely indispensable to my Christian understanding of the need for redemption and restoration for the children of God.
Enoch presents us with greed and covetousness at a very high level that anciently impacted our reality. It seems that the iniquity found in the Watchers was nothing less than of cosmic proportions, in that they were not content with their domains, for which they were created.
Ever since mankind became complicit with this diabolical scheme, self will and covetousness has characterized much of what we do and how life is approached. It determines world view and is the avarice which dominates the minds and hearts of many.
“How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! how art thou cut down to the ground, which didst weaken the nations! For thou hast said in thine heart, I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God: I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north: I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the most High.” (Isaiah 14:12-14)
Yet all this scheming leads to no good outcome, for Isaiah continues, “Yet thou shalt be brought down to hell, to the sides of the pit. They that see thee shall narrowly look upon thee, and consider thee, saying, Is this the man that made the earth to tremble, that did shake kingdoms; That made the world as a wilderness, and destroyed the cities thereof; that opened not the house of his prisoners?”
I would offer that greed, or covetousness, seems to be the source of all our ills. It is the cause of theft, war, conflict, deceit, treachery, and destruction against everything that belongs to our Heavenly Father Creator. It’s all about possessing temporary things of which our life does not consist, and which pass away. It’s the green eyed monster that smirks and says “You have what I think I ought to be entitled to, and I’m going to figure out how to take it.”
A will sanctified by the Holy Spirit is the only thing that stands as the boundary. Temptation is that which seeks to erode the boundary of the will, so it is necessary to have a little help from our “friends in high places”, some inspiration, maybe even some angelic intervention to help us get past covetousness. Ask and you shall receive.
Proverbs so wisely reminds us, “Better is little with the fear of the Lord than great treasure and trouble therewith. Better is a dinner of herbs where love is, than a stalled ox and hatred therewith.” (Proverbs 15:16,17).
Covetousness may bring great treasures, but also the trouble that comes with them; it may bring security and stately wealth (the stalled ox). But none of these things last. Not only will they not last, but there is the matter of continual vigilance in needing to protect and preserve them against others who may covet and attempt to take them. And this is what goes on in order to have “the good life”?
There is always trouble, hatred, and envy in the service of Mammon, for no one can serve God and Mammon. They are two different kingdoms!
Jesus shows us another way, the way of no worries, no anxiety. He says, as He points us toward the birds of the air and the lilies of the field, “Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed? For after all these things do the Gentiles seek: for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things. But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.” (Matthew 6:31-33)
St. John adds, “Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world. And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever.” (1 John 2:15-17)
As we take Him at His Word, we soon discover that the Kingdom of God is the way to order our priorities and to keep us from jealousy, greed, and covetousness.