Monday, February 16, 2009

Thou Shalt Not Covet

In A Year of Living Biblically, AJ Jacobs attempts to follow the Bible as closely as possible. In the section I just read, he unwittingly stumbles on precisely the difference between law and grace.

He talks about all the different ways we covet, and all the different philosophies on how we are supposed to avoid coveting. His commentary has a pessimistic air and ends with the hopeful statement that he is now too busy following all the biblical rules to covet as much as he used to.

This is a perfect segway into how I see God's commandments: they are for our good. If we attempt to do something, to follow God's law, without understanding that His law is about boundaries and protecting us, we will indubitably fall short. Instead, we need to understand that the whole "not coveting" law comes from God's desire for us to be content. When we start to focus on the blessings that we have, it becomes much easier to stop coveting our neighbour's wife or his donkey.

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