But the question is, do we struggle with coveting because it's part of our American culture? Or is it part of our sinful nature?
No doubt Americans are the richest people (as a whole) on the planet. For goodness sakes, we feel good about the deals we get at the Dollar Tree when there are people in other countries who only make a couple dollars a day, and some who even make less than that. And part of the American dream is to always want more.
If you own a perfectly good car, you're happy with it until your friend gets a new car. Your yard is A-OK with you until your neighbor decides to put a pool in his yard. Your house is already too big for you to keep clean but you keep looking for a bigger one because the pile of stuff you have keeps growing. Even the pharmaceutical industry has capitalized on our covetousness. Now you can diagnose yourself with a myriad of real diseases right in your family room then go to your doctor and ask for the medication you think you need. And I won't even mention the ridiculous medications out there like the one that helps you grow longer, fuller eyelashes. Seriously?!
So definitely covetousness is part of our culture. But, I think there is a major problem in blaming it all on our culture. By doing that I believe we actually breed guilt, shame and even more discontent. Then we're even more covetous of the happy, fulfilled people we see. We're depressed. We're angry. And we might even covet people and cultures who have less and are happier with less! Does that make any sense?
I think that covetousness is part of our nature. If it was only our culture than it would not have been one of God's commandments. I mean, it's in there for a reason right? Before the 10 commandments were given to Moses there was a lot of coveting going on. Jacob coveted Esau's inheritance and blessing. Joseph's gift and the favoritism his father showed him were coveted by his brothers. Cain coveted Abel. Sarah coveted Hagar. Leah coveted Rachel. And those are just the ones that come to me off the top of my head.
So covetousness has been a part of us since sin first entered the world. Our culture has, however, capitalized on our nature. Americans (and other cultures too) have made a lifestyle and a business out of covetousness. But our culture isn't the enemy. Fighting against it will not change our nautre.
It's a daily, hourly, minute-by-minute fight. We have to fight our nature while withstanding our culture. We should work on ourselves first, work on being happier with less while wanting more for others. I believe if we work at changing our nature in that way, we can actually change our culture which will further change our nature.
Our culture is not the enemy. Satan is. And he will have less influence on our culture if first we rob him of his influence on us. So let's work on ourselves, let's encourage each other. Let's focus on being happy with what we have and using it to further the kingdom. Then maybe we'll change not only our culture but the world.