Comparison Is the Enemy of Contentment

Comparison Is the Enemy of Contentment

You shall not covet.
–Exodus 20:17

Comparison is an attitude of dissatisfaction with God’s provisions for my life that leads to an obsession with having more.

In the Old Testament the word for “comparison” was “covetousness.” It’s interesting that the climactic command of the Ten Commandments is not about murder, adultery, or lying. The climax of The Ten Commandments is, “You shall not covet.” In fact, God said in Exodus 20:17, “You shall not covet your neighbor’s house; you shall not covet your neighbor’s wife or his male servant or his female servant or his ox or his donkey or anything that belongs to your neighbor.” You know why that’s the climactic commandment? Because every other sin flows out of that sin. Whether it is idolatry, adultery, murder, or theft, every sin flows out of a dissatisfaction with what God has provided for you.

In fact, did you know it was covetousness, a dissatisfaction with what God had provided, that was basis for the first sin committed in the universe? It’s recounted in Isaiah 14:13-14. Lucifer was a part of God’s highest angelic order. But one day Lucifer started looking at God and the respect and reverence that He had from the angels. He started looking at that throne on which God sat and he decided, “I want what He has.” And because of that, God cast him out of heaven and he became Satan. In Isaiah 14:13-14, you find God’s condemnation of Lucifer: “You said in your heart, ‘I will ascend to heaven; I will raise my throne above the stars of God, and I will sit on the mount of assembly in the recesses of the north. I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will make myself like the Most High.’”

After God cast Satan down to earth, it is no accident that Satan chose to use as his basis for tempting the first couple, that same dissatisfaction with God’s provision that had formed in his own heart. That’s how he lured Adam and Eve into temptation. Remember, God said to the first couple, “I’ve created this beautiful Garden, and of any tree you can eat except one.” And what did Satan do when he talked to Eve in Genesis 3? Instead of reminding Eve of all God’s provisions, he instead pointed her attention to one prohibition God said: “Do not eat of this tree.” Satan does the same thing in our lives. He wants to distract us from thanking God for all of the provisions He has given us and make us focus on the things that are forbidden.

Covetousness is a dissatisfaction with what God has already provided us. It is that desire for more or different that leads to all sin and rebellion against God, and it produces continual chaos in our lives. Covetousness is the lie of Satan. He baits us into following after that which God has said no to.

***

Today’s devotion is excerpted from “Choosing Contentment over Comparison” by Dr. Robert Jeffress, 2019.

Scripture quotations are taken from the NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.