The Tenth Commandment
Commandments declares You shall not covet your
The Ninth Commandment overlaps the Tenth Commandment, it directs us toward not to envy the goods and talents of others, but to work to develop your own.
People used to think that this commandment meant only that you shouldn't always try to keep up with the Joneses, but be satisfied with what you have. That belief is tied to an emphasis on property.
But actually, the commandment addresses a far broader value than comparisons about whether you wear Wal-Mart specials while a friend can sleep in Guess jeans, or whether you have Chevy to drive while a friend has his or her new BMW.
The reason coveting is sin, is that God gives us everything to be used as tools to serve Him. All our money and time and possessions are to be used to glorify God and to further His kingdom here on earth.
And so God wants us to be happy with what we have. If we use most of our money and time on things that do not further God's kingdom, then we are cheating God
The problem isn’t really our desires. The problem is when our desires are disordered so that we desire some things too much and other things not enough. I love ice cream. I love my job. I love my family. There’s nothing wrong with loving any of these. The problem is when I love any of these in the wrong order – if, for instance, I love ice cream more than I love my job, or if I love my job more than I love my family, or if I love any of these more than God.
Centuries ago, Augustine said that our fundamental problem is that our loves are disordered. We desire the wrong things. It is wrong to set our affection on anything or anyone as if that thing or person was God. We will never find our fulfillment in that person or thing no matter how good or noble it is. The real problem with us is that our desires are out of order, and our greatest need is that our desires are reordered so that we desire the right things in the right order.
This disordered desire of the tenth commandment can produce in us all of the evil against which the other commandments stand: Covetousness can lead to idolatry, murder, adultery, stealing, and lying.
Oh, you could get by if you just didn't covet—envy—others' goods. But that's the minimum, and we're talking about trying to live up to the maximum "yes" actions in these commandments. A real "yes" leads to efforts toward social justice, attitudes and actions which assure that all people have what they need—enough to eat, enough to wear and a place to stay.
The Ten Commandments aren't independent rules you can pick and choose from, but a set of overlapping and interdependent directions about how to live without sin.
They aren't, however, all the directions that exist. They point to, and blend with, Christ's overall teaching reflected in the Sermon on the Mount, especially in the Beatitudes, Matthew, chapters 5,6,7. They aren't concerned only with "things," as the wording of some makes them appear to be, but with the values of the individual and our duties to help one other.
33 LORD, teach me the way of your laws; I shall observe them with care. 34 Give me insight to observe your teaching, to keep it with all my heart. 35 Lead me in the path of your commands, for that is my delight. 36 Direct my heart toward your decrees and away from unjust gain. 37 Avert my eyes from what is worthless; by your way give me life. 38 For your servant fulfill your promise made to those who fear you. 39 Turn away from me the taunts I dread, for your edicts bring good. 40 See how I long for your precepts; in your justice give me life. Psalms 119:33-40
1 If then you were raised with Christ, seek what is above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. 2 Think of what is above, not of what is on earth. 3 For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. 4 When Christ your life appears, then you too will appear with him in glory. 5 Put to death, then, the parts of you that are earthly: immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and the greed that is idolatry. 6 Because of these the wrath of God is coming (upon the disobedient). 7 By these you too once conducted yourselves, when you lived in that way. 8 But now you must put them all away: anger, fury, malice, slander, and obscene language out of your mouths. 9 Stop lying to one another, since you have taken off the old self with its practices 10 and have put on the new self, which is being renewed, for knowledge, in the image of its creator. Colossians 3:1-10