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7 Beautiful Commandments We Sometimes Forget Are Commandments


6. Thou Shalt Not Covet

In the First Presidency message published in the 1990 March Ensign, President Gordon B. Hinckley wrote: 

"I wish to discuss a trap that can destroy any of us in our search for joy and happiness. It is that devious, sinister, evil influence that says, 'What I have is not enough. I must have more.' . . .
"I have observed that there are many in our present generation who with careful design set out on a course to get rich while still young, to drive fancy automobiles, to wear the best clothing, to have an apartment in the city and a house in the country--all of these, and more. . . . They covet that which others have, and selfishness and even greed are all a part of their process of acquisitiveness." 

It can be difficult to distinguish the line between pursuing dreams and coveting that which we don't have. Although it is good to make goals to improve our circumstances, provide for our family, look our best, or develop our talents, we have to be careful not to covet that which we don't have. 

This commandment is especially difficult when the thing we desire so greatly is something good and righteous. In Alma's case, he desired greater authority and power to be able to declare the gospel but realized that he "[did] sin in [his] wish" (Alma 29:1-3). In our lives, we may find ourselves wasting away while we wait for the fulfillment of a good desire, such as marriage, children, or health. 

At first glance, it may seem cruel that God's command to not covet applies to righteous desires as well, but when we acknowledge that God's commandments are for our happiness and that we aren't happy when we are constantly longing for something more or different, it makes sense. Our Heavenly Father also understands that if we don't learn happiness from within, we may obtain that which we longed for only to realize we still aren't happy. 

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If we were to turn this "thou shalt not" commandment into a "thou shalt" commandment, I believe it might be "thou shalt be content" or "thou shalt be grateful." Within our own sphere of circumstance, we each have many opportunities to serve God and each other and to secure the blessings of eternal life. 

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