Don’t let a spirit of covetousness, of pride, and madness cause you try and lash out!

Follow Jesus and change your world.

Ever been rejected or turned away when you were trying to get something or go somewhere? Ever wanted to lash out?

Was it a spirit of covetousness, that is a strong desire to have that which belongs to another.

Do you realize that such a spirit is the root of many other troubles in this world? Do you realize how it is called out in the ten commandments as something we are to no do? Baker’s Evangelical Dictionary of Biblical Theology – Covetousness speaks to it this way:

It is considered to be a very grievous offense in Scripture. The tenth commandment forbids coveting anything that belongs to a neighbor, including his house, his wife, his servants, his ox or donkey, or anything that belongs to him ( Exod 20:17 ). Jesus listed covetousness or greed along with many of the sins from within, including adultery, theft, and murder, which make a person unclean ( Mr 7:22 ). Paul reminded the Ephesians that greed or covetousness is equated with immorality and impurity, so that these must be put away ( 5:3 ). A covetous or greedy person is an idolator ( 5:5 ) and covetousness is idolatry ( Col 3:5 ). James warns that people kill and covet because they cannot have what they want ( 4:2 ).

Covetousness, therefore, is basic to the commandments against murder, adultery, stealing, and lying. Those who accept bribes are coveting, leading to murder ( Eze 22:12 ). Coveting a neighbor’s wife is a form of adultery ( Exod 20:17 ). Achan admitted to coveting a robe and silver and gold, so he stole them, which was a sin against the Lord ( Jos 7:20-22 ). Gehazi, the servant of Elisha, coveted the property of Naaman so much that he lied to get what he wanted from Naaman the leper ( 2 Ki 5:19-25 ) and was struck with leprosy. Proverbs warns that a covetous person brings trouble to his family ( 15:27 ). Thus covetousness is the root of all kinds of sins, so that Jesus gave the warning, “Be on your guard against all kinds of greed” ( Luke 12:15 ).

William J. Woodruff

Was it out of a spirit of pride, that is the ideas of arrogance, cynical insensitivity to the needs of others, and presumption?

Do you realize the issues that pride can cause in any situation? Are you putting your confidence in yourself rather than in God? Do allow yourself to fall into a mode where you are acting with contempt ( Psalm 31:18 ); wrongdoing ( Job 33:17 ); lack of trust ( Psalm 62:10 ); arrogance ( Prov 8:13 ; Isaiah 2:11 Isaiah 2:17 ; 9:9 ); insolence ( Isa 16:6 ); and conceit ( Jer 48:29 ). God’s ways are not our ways, His ways are better and higher than our ways. Don’t assume or presume your way is the way. Do you want to get rebuked? Would you want to deal with the results of pride like  It led to Uzziah’s downfall ( 2 Chron 26:16 ); it hardened the heart of Nebuchadnezzar ( Dan 5:20 ); it goes before destruction ( Prov 16:18 ); it does not seek God ( Psalm 10:4 ); it brings disgrace ( Prov 11:2 ); it breeds quarrels ( Prov 13:10 ); it deceives ( Jer 49:16 ; Obad 1:3 ); it brings low ( Prov 29:23 ; Isa 2:11 ; 23:9 ); it humbles ( Isa 2:17 ; Dan 4:37 ).

Was it out of a spirit of madness?

Do you realize the issues that madness can cause in any situation? Do you realize the reckless state of mind it will cause? Do you realize where it will arise from? It can arise from over-study (Eccl 1:17 ; 2:12 ), blind rage ( Luke 6:11 ), or a depraved temper (Eccl 7:25 ; 9:3 ; 2 Pet 2:16 ). Just because you don’t get your way you need to guard your heart for out of the overflow of our hearts our mouth speaks.

Not getting your own way? Not getting the answers you want? Not getting desired response? Be careful how you respond? Seek wisdom from God and fill your heart with His ways so that you don’t react in a way that will or would require correction. We see in today’s reading how it caused the disciples to be reprimanded (another translation put it this way: “9:55 But he turned, and rebuked them, and said, Ye know not what manner of n spirit ye are of.“)

51As the time drew near when Jesus would be taken up to heaven, he made up his mind and set out on his way to Jerusalem. 52He sent messengers ahead of him, who went into a village in Samaria to get everything ready for him. 53But the people there would not receive him, because it was clear that he was on his way to Jerusalem. 54When the disciples James and John saw this, they said, “Lord, do you want us to call fire down from heaven to destroy them?” 55Jesus turned and rebuked them. 56Then Jesus and his disciples went on to another village. –from Luke 9

Do you really want to follow Jesus? Can you give Him all of your heart? Even broken, can you give Him all the pieces? Will you keep your focus on what is yet to come? Will you focus on the future?

57As they went on their way, a man said to Jesus, “I will follow you wherever you go.” 58Jesus said to him, “Foxes have holes, and birds have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lie down and rest.” 59He said to another man, “Follow me.”But that man said, “Sir, first let me go back and bury my father.” 60Jesus answered, “Let the dead bury their own dead. You go and proclaim the Kingdom of God.” 61Someone else said, “I will follow you, sir; but first let me go and say good-bye to my family.” 62Jesus said to him, “Anyone who starts to plow and then keeps looking back is of no use for the Kingdom of God.” –from Luke 9

Don’t be looking back at the ways of the past, but press on towards the victory of God that is ahead of you!

Let’s be living lives that will glorify God! Let’s live lives that speak the good news and the hope that is within us! No matter what we have to deal with, let’s respond in a way that will honor God!

10You are our witnesses, and so is God, that our conduct toward you who believe was pure, right, and without fault. 11You know that we treated each one of you just as parents treat their own children. 12We encouraged you, we comforted you, and we kept urging you to live the kind of life that pleases God, who calls you to share in his own Kingdom and glory. 13And there is another reason why we always give thanks to God. When we brought you God’s message, you heard it and accepted it, not as a message from human beings but as God’s message, which indeed it is. For God is at work in you who believe. 14Our friends, the same things happened to you that happened to the churches of God in Judea, to the people there who belong to Christ Jesus. You suffered the same persecutions from your own people that they suffered from the Jews, 15who killed the Lord Jesus and the prophets, and persecuted us. How displeasing they are to God! How hostile they are to everyone! 16They even tried to stop us from preaching to the Gentiles the message that would bring them salvation. In this way they have brought to completion all the sins they have always committed. And now God’s anger has at last come down on them! –from 1 Thessalonians 2:10-20

Will you be able to keep your eyes on God? Don’t lose hope! Even when things aren’t going your way!

1By the rivers of Babylon we sat down; there we wept when we remembered Zion. 2On the willows near by we hung up our harps. 3Those who captured us told us to sing; they told us to entertain them: “Sing us a song about Zion.” 4How can we sing a song to the Lord in a foreign land? 5May I never be able to play the harp again if I forget you, Jerusalem! 6May I never be able to sing again if I do not remember you, if I do not think of you as my greatest joy! 7Remember, Lord, what the Edomites did the day Jerusalem was captured. Remember how they kept saying, “Tear it down to the ground!” 8Babylon, you will be destroyed. Happy are those who pay you back for what you have done to us—9who take your babies and smash them against a rock. –from Psalm 137

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