Daily Devotional

The Death Trap Called Covetousness

Those who desire to be rich fall into temptation, into a snare, into many senseless and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction. (1 Timothy 6:9)

John Piper

Covetousness can destroy the soul in hell.

The reason I am sure that this destruction is not some temporary financial fiasco, but final destruction in hell, is what Paul says in verse 12. He says that covetousness is to be resisted with the fight of faith; then adds, “Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called and about which you made the good confession.” What’s at stake in fleeing covetousness and fighting for contentment in future grace is eternal life.

So when Paul says in 1 Timothy 6:9 that the desire to be rich plunges people into ruin, he isn’t saying that greed can mess up your marriage or your business (which it certainly can!). He is saying that covetousness can mess up your eternity. Or, as verse 10 says at the end, “It is through this craving that some have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many pangs” (literally: “impaled themselves with many pains”).

God has gone the extra mile in the Bible to warn us mercifully that the idolatry of covetousness is a no-win situation. It’s a dead-end street in the worst sense of the word. It’s a trick and a trap.

So my word to you is the word of 1 Timothy 6:11: “Flee these things.” When you see it coming (in a television ad or a Christmas catalog or an Internet pop-up or a neighbor’s purchase), run from it the way you would run from a roaring, starving lion escaped from the zoo.
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