What does covetousness mean?

Covetousness can quickly move into being a progressive sin, meaning that if one does not get ahold of oneself, covetousness can lead to anger, hatred, theft, and even murder. For instance, Cain coveted God’s acceptance of Abel’s offering. His envy led to the hatred and murder of his brother. Potiphar's wife coveted Joseph. Her covetousness led to her murdering his reputation and stealing his freedom. These attitudes that arise from covetousness are the exact opposite of what a believer is supposed to demonstrate in his or her walk. We are to obey the Law of God and “Thou shall not covet” is the tenth commandment. When we look to our perfect example of righteous living, Jesus Christ, we see that He was humble, loving, and giving. Those attributes are in direct contrast to the attributes of covetousness: pride, hatred, and taking. Pride says, “I deserve to have that instead of you.” Hatred says, “I will hurt you to get what I want that you have.” And taking says, “I will steal from you, so you don’t have it.” The writer of Proverbs gives us a good word picture of covetousness: “The wicked covet the catch of men, but the root of righteousness is fruit” (Proverbs 12:12). You see, covetousness concerns itself with the things of the world and not the things of the Spirit, the fruit. It sets our minds on the temporary instead of on the eternal. “Set your mind on the things above, not on the things on the earth” (Colossians 3:2). Covetousness in our lives speaks to discontentment which says, “God, what You have blessed me with is not good enough.” God has given Himself to us, and He is more than enough! “Let your conduct be without covetousness; be content with such things as you have. For He Himself has said, ‘I will never leave you nor forsake you’” (Hebrews 13:5).