A Bible Study
Don’t hurry through this study. It’s to be done as in-depth as possible. A Lesson might take a week to complete. That’s OK. Take time with the scriptures and really meditate and “chew” on them, asking God for new revelation to come to you through the mighty power of the Holy Spirit and His Word.
1. Philippians 4:11-13 What is the key to being content? (see 1 John 4:4)
2. Hebrews 13:5-6 In a time when you feel like Christ is not enough what promise can you lean on?
3. 2 Corinthians 12:9-10 What gift from God can you focus on whenever you feel discontent? What does that mean to you?
4. Hebrews 4:14-16 What 7 great truths about Christ can allow to experience His sufficiency?
5. What can you do in your life to act on what God is telling you through these passages?
Contentment and Covetousness (Excerpts from “Thus Saith The Lord?” by John Bevere)
Contentment and covetousness are opposing forces. 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.
Covet is defined as: to desire or wish for, with eagerness. Covetousness is further defined as a strong desire of obtaining and possessing some supposed good. This emcompasses possessions, position, comfort, acceptance, pleasure, relationships, power, lust, and so on. Covetousness is the desire for gain. It’s the state we find ourselves in when we’re not content. It is fueled by ceaseless desires and lust. The Bible tells us that “godliness with contentment is great gain” (1 Tim. 6:6) Covetousness, on the other hand is a state where the deceptive and destructive are eminent.
Too often we lack God’s motive and yield to the power of covetousness, even when it comes to God’s power and anointing. We can be hungry and passionate for God’s power for the wrong reasons. Power can make a person feel significant. It gives them authority, validates them, or brings them wealth. Many covet God’s gifts for selfish, self serving reasons and not out of love for Jesus and His people.
Contentment can be defined as rest or quietness of the mind in the present condition; satisfaction which holds the mind in peace; restraining complaint, opposition or further desire, and often implying a moderate degree of happiness. Contentment is complete satisfaction in God’s will.
Yeshua’s life is the very picture of contentment. We hear this repeatedly in His words, “My food is to do the will of Him who sent Me, and to finish His work.” (John 4:34). His perfect contentment with and commitment to God’s will is evident in the messianic psalm, which reads: “I delight to do Your will, O my God, and Your law is within my heart.” (Ps. 40:8). No desire or passion existed for Him outside the will of God. His only passion was to fulfill the desires of His Father. From this contentment was born the words: “I live because of the Father” (John 6:57). This produced unearthly security and stability, so much so He boldly proclaimed, “I know where I came from and where I am going” (John 6:57; 8:14). Because of this He could not be deterred or misled! Jesus lived solely for the Father’s desire, and His complete and confident satisfaction was found in the performance of the Father’s will. We are exhorted:
Let your conduct (behavior) be without covetousness; be content with such things as you have. For He Himself has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” (Heb. 13:5)
Contentment with His will is freedom from covetousness. It is to be free from servitude to the taskmaster of self. This is the true rest in which every believer is to abide. This place of rest provides great strength and confidence. In the state of rest or contentment we find safety from deception.
Our present culture and society encourages a state of constant discontentment. Sadly often ministry goals follow this pattern. Dreams or callings are perverted to focus more on fulfilling, self serving motives, which then become covetousness and the breeding ground for idolatry.
Contentment moves away from idolatry and closer to the heart of God while covetousness distances us from God, and drives us to the altars of idolatry.
By defining both of these words we gain a clearer picture of covetousness. It becomes easier to see how it has crept into the church under the guise of ministry or blessings to mask its true identity. In the book of Ezekiel God lamented that His covenant people came before Him for counsel, direction, or wisdom with idols hidden in their hearts. It is not clear whether they were fully aware of their doings. It appears the truth was shielded from their eyes. The idols from which they had sought fulfillment now caused them to stumble into iniquity.
“And the word of the Lord came to me, saying, “Son of man, these men have set up their idols in their hearts, and put before them that which causes them to stumble into iniquity. Should I let Myself be inquired of at all by them?” (Ez. 14:2-3)
Idolatry begins in the heart. When God says you shall have no other gods before Him, He is saying “I am your source for everything. Nothing else shall take my place.”
We feed on what sustains us. It becomes our source of life. An idol becomes a source for us. This can happen in any area of life. An idol takes the place God deserves. It can serve as a source for happiness, comfort, peace, provision, etc. Its power lies within our hearts. It is that from which you draw your strength and to which you give your strength.
A believer is drawn into idolatry when he allows his heart to be stirred with discontentment and looks for satisfaction outside of God. This could be a person, possession, or activity. Idolatry, therefore, is founded in covetousness. Paul confirms this:
Therefore put to death your members which are on the earth: fornication, uncleanness, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry.” (Col. 3:5)
Idolatry is defined through Scripture as covetousness or a heart seeking selfish gain. This is not limited to material things. It could be just about anything. The desire for recognition could be an idol. Desire for companionship could be an idol. Idolatry originates in the heart. A person can easily fall into it while attending services and professing faith in Jesus Christ.
What is the answer?
Pray and ask the Lord to search your heart and see if there are things that you desire more than Him. Are you content with your life right now, or are there things that make you anxious and covetousness?
If there are, lay them at the foot of the cross and ask God for forgiveness. Wash your heart with the blood of Messiah and step forward into a deeper and purer walk with the Lord.
Ask God to enable to you be content. Remember that He promises to help you.
God’s Provisions – Phil. 4 10 But I rejoiced in the Lord greatly, that now at last you have revived your concern for me; indeed, you were concerned before, but you lacked opportunity. 11 Not that I speak from want, for I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances I am. 12 I know how to get along with humble means, and I also know how to live in prosperity; in any and every circumstance I have learned the secret of being filled and going hungry, both of having abundance and suffering need. 13 I can do all things through Him who strengthens me.
Know that God wants to cleanse you from all idolatry and iniquity. Just open up your heart to Him and let His Holy Spirit rush in and fill you with more of His love for you. You’ll be refreshed and your love for Him will grow, as will your trust that His plan in your life right now is perfect, because He is perfect.