Lucifer was once an honored angel, a cherub. He was perfect in beauty, full of wisdom, and was admitted to the holy mountain of God, where he walked in the midst of the stones of fire. He was in Eden, the garden of God, of which the one on earth was evidently a copy. His ways were perfect, and God gave him the work of "covering," and also anointed him.
But Lucifer was not satisfied. He was envious of God, he became lifted up because of his beauty; he corrupted his wisdom because of his brightness, and decided upon a course which he hoped would make him equal to God. He went so far that he said, "I am a God, I sit in the seat of God."
The commandment, "Thou shalt not covet," was the one which brought Paul to a consideration of the fact that the law condemned the thoughts of the heart as well as the outward act. "I had not known lust," he says, "except the law had said, Thou shalt not covet." Romans 7:7. By this Paul does not mean that he had not known lust as such, but rather that he had not known lust as sin. He knew that immorality was sin, but now it was revealed to him that the law went deeper than the outward act, and that coveting was sin also. This made an entire change in his conception of the law's demand. He now knew that the law dealt with the thoughts and intents of the heart.
Covetousness has by some been called the mother of sin. The desire to sin first arises in the heart before it finds expression in the act. It is this first desire that needs to be watched, or it will blossom into full-blown sin. For this reason covetousness is justly counted one of the worst sin in the whole category of transgressions, even though it does not appear as bad as some other sin. It should be remembered, however, that small rattlesnakes ate also snakes, and that they grow into bigger ones. It is well to watch the first outcroppings of covetousness and quench every unlawful desire, lest a fire be started that cannot be put out.
Against this sin Christ warned most earnestly. "He said unto them, Take heed, and beware of covetousness: for a man's life consisteth not in the abundance of the things which he possesseth." Luke 12:15.
Beware of covetousness. It may look innocent and appear to do little harm. But it poisons the very wellspring of life and taints every action.
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