There are plenty of ways of asking people about their future. One of those ways is asking “Who do you want to be?” The healthy way of answering this is to imagine yourself in a desired future – explaining what you look like, what you have, who is surrounding you, etc. The unhealthy way is to say “Steve Jobs” or “Beyonce” or “Shia LeBouef” or “Chance the Rapper”. None of those people are inherently bad, it’s just that none of those people are you.
This past week we confessed the 9th Commandment:
“What is the Ninth Commandment?
You shall not covet your neighbor’s house.
What does this mean?
We should fear and love God so that we do not scheme to get our neighbor’s inheritance or house, or get it in a way which only appears right, but help and be of service to him in keeping it.”
The 9th and 10th commandments are pretty similar. Yes, they are both about coveting – a sort of cocktail of avarice/greed and jealousy – but they aren’t really about the same scope. The scope of the 9th commandment is much bigger than that of the 10th commandment. The 9th commandment talks about “house” as a metonymy for “life” (like when we say “The White House” when we mean “The Government”). The 9th commandment talks about coveting people’s lives – the 10th talks about coveting their stuff.
Which is why it is bad to say, I want to be ….and then place the name of someone else into that sentence. But we do it. In a culture that is filled with celebrity, we start to imagine what it would be like if we were someone else. In a culture that is filled with sexual innuendo, we start to imagine what it would be like if we were a different gender. In a culture that is filled with greed, we wonder what it would be like to have a different financial identity. In a culture that is filled with broken lives, we wonder what it would be like to trade ours for another’s.
So much so, that we start to behave in ways that deny our own identities. We adopt different ways of dressing, of acting, of cutting our hair, and of so many other things – not always for the best reasons. Sometimes we do this so that we can perhaps get – slyly “steal” – some of what we want that belongs to the person’s life that we’re coveting.
God tells us to stop doing this, and stops the entire world in order to show us why. He dies on the cross.
Because He wanted to rescue YOU. YOU were important enough for Him to die on a cross for. You don’t need someone else’s life, because your life was so valuable that God died to save it.
Let His valuation of your worth sink in a little bit. When television or the internet or just the walk through the neighborhood makes you question your worth enough that you start to covet someone else’s life, stop and consider how much worth you have to God.
God loves you enough to save you, to give you an eternal life that is your own life. Your resurrected life is the same one that you are living now. God thinks enough of that life that you currently have that He made it possible for that life to go on forever. Consider that and rejoice, for God has made you, and you are fearfully and wonderfully made (Ps 139).