“My life is missing something.” Sound familiar? Have you felt this within your heart and you tried to figure what you were missing by looking at a friend’s wife, or somebody’s summer home, or even at someone walking down the street, thinking, “if I only had her.”
As we continue our “Stumped Series” by examining various reasons why we may not be making any progress in our effort toward sexual integrity and just feeling stumped—having no clue why we’re not progressing, I want to suggest another reason why. Maybe we are stumped because we focus on what we don’t have, what others have, and rarely on what God has done or is doing in our lives.
In the Bible, this idea of looking at what others have or what we don’t have, wishing we had a particular something else, is referred to as “coveting.”
When someone views pornography, reads a steamy romance novel, or wishes they had the spouse of a friend for their own, they create in their minds a thought pattern that what they do or do not have is not good enough.
Some legitimately confuse aspiring to better oneself, or to improve their living condition, or if single desiring to be married as coveting. There is a difference between good and Godly aspirations and coveting.
To better understand the difference between coveting and aspiring to improve, let’s consider some synonyms of the word covet:
Synonyms: Crave, envy, hanker for, have eye on, have hots for, itch for, long for, lust after, thirst for, want, wish for, yearn for, ache for, cry out for, dream, hunger for (dictionary.com)
There is nothing within the concept of coveting that causes us to look at our own situations and be thankful for what we have and where we are. Our coveting takes over our thoughts and lives.
Many men schedule their lives around opportunities to view and act out on pornography and other forms of sexual sin while many women anxiously wait for “alone” time to sit down with a cup of coffee and enter the world of the latest “romance” novel. Men and women secretly schedule rendezvous to engage in sexual sin.
Romantic Fantasy versus Pornographic Fantasy
Maybe we are stumped in our progress for sexual integrity because our eyes and thoughts are not trained to see what God is doing in our own lives. We are not considering that He is guiding and blessing us in such a way for our benefit.
The other interesting component to coveting is that we are always left unsatisfied. The covetous want never delivers what we truly desire. We can only have the desires of our heart satisfied by giving every aspect of our lives to a real and thriving relationship with God through Jesus Christ.
Men and women involve themselves in affairs thinking the new relationship is what’s missing. They divorce their current spouse and marry or cohabitate with the person of their adultery thinking they will be content, only to discover in time that another affair is required to bring contentment.
Men spend hours viewing pornography thinking it will somehow satisfy their desire for sex and intimacy, while women get lost in volumes of romantic novels thinking the stories will somehow satisfy their desire for romance and intimacy. In both case each are left thirsting for more.
It takes work to change ones thought patterns from a habit of coveting to seeing the blessings around you and the hand of God on your life. I believe that the best help with this change is a community of believers who have the same desire for integrity. I encourage you to seek out such a group.