This Root Attitude Is What Drives Many Christians to the Altars of Idolatry

What are you longing for outside of Christ? What is stealing your contentment? (D Sharon Pruitt/CC 2.0)

Remember Angela from my last article? We learned that her adultery is the same as how the Bible describes idolatry against God. But is this really an issue in the church today? Unfortunately, it very much is.

If you look at Angela, the root of her adultery was her desire. Another word for this desire is covetousness.

Covetousness isn't something we really talk about these days, so let me define it. According to Merriam-Webster, covetousness is, "A strong desire to obtain some supposed good." Now let me offer another perspective on covetousness from Colossians 3:5, where Paul says, "Therefore put to death the parts of your earthly nature: sexual immorality, uncleanness, inordinate affection, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry."

Did you see that? Paul says covetousness is idolatry! We may think of idolatry as statues and all those things, but the root behind it is unrighteous desire.

God has given us the key to overcoming covetousness, and it is contentment. Contentment moves us away from idolatry and closer to the heart of God, while covetousness distances us from God and drives us to the altars of idolatry.

This is why the author of Hebrews writes, "Let your lives be without love of money, and be content with the things you have. For He has said: 'I will never leave you, nor forsake you.' So we may boldly say: 'The Lord is my helper; I will not fear. What can man do to me?'" (Heb. 13:5-6).

You can see from this passage how covetousness is clearly the same as adultery. Angela coveted other men, not allowing her husband, Justin, to meet her needs. Here we are told to be content with God, knowing He will meet all our needs. If we turn to some other source outside of Him and His prescribed means of living, that is idolatry!

Here's what this means: When a believer knows the will of God yet intentionally chooses their own desires instead, that is idolatry. They have chosen to worship their desires over God.

When you look at your own goals, priorities and habits, which would you say is stronger in your life—covetousness or contentment? How can you pursue a life of greater contentment?

Scripture Reading:

  • James 4:2
  • Colossians 3:5
  • Hebrews 13:5-6

John Bevere and his wife, Lisa Bevere, are the founders of Messengers International. A minister and best-selling author, John delivers messages of uncompromising truth. His resources have been translated into over 100 languages, and millions of copies have been given to pastors and leaders worldwide. John's past two books, Good or God? and Driven by Eternity, have each sold over 100,000 copies within the first six months of release. When he's home, John tries to convince Lisa to take up golf and spends time with his four sons, daughter-in-law and grandbabies.

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