Why do some people consider gambling a sin? It’s practically family-friendly these days.
Gambling is problematic because of its root system: mammon, greed and instant gratification. None of these words are found in God’s arsenal of great ideas. In fact, they are heavily warned against throughout the Bible. “But those who want to get rich fall into temptation and a snare and many foolish and harmful desires which plunge men into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is a root of all sorts of evil, and some by longing for it have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs. But flee from these things, you man of God, and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, perseverance and gentleness” (1 Timothy 6:9-11, NASB95.)
Mammon is a demonic spirit of wealth sent to overpower a person’s financial blessings from God by turning their abundance into the curse of insatiable worship of material possessions. Greed is the misplaced love for money…instead of love for the God who provides for that money (Philippians 4:19.) Instant gratification is pursued when a person, filled with entitlement and impatience, demands immediate results instead of waiting on God’s timing, method and righteous increase. No, gambling is far from family-friendly, in spite of how hard Casinos work to lure people of all ages into their snares of glittering entertainment.
When gambling becomes a sin is when it gets a hold of us, consumes our mind with the fantasy of wealth and we begin to seek the experience repeatedly. When we make regular trips to casinos and work our weekly lotto purchases into our budget every month; we begin to grow a rotten root system attached to a habit or emotion designed to attack our way of life like a parasite. Anything the Devil uses to accomplish his mission statement of “kill, steal, destroy” (John 10:10) becomes a problem. Is he stealing your surplus income, killing your Christian stewardship and robbing you of contentment with what you have? Wise people often ask, “Do you have the thing or does the thing have you?” Gambling may be a habit-forming, addictive possibility for us which develops into a stronghold. When we’re dabbling in this area, we must be aware that we are opening a door to darkness; handling a lit-match. Wisdom requires us to evaluate that risk.
Consider these statistics from the gambling-addiction network: In America, five out of one-hundred people have some form of gambling addiction. One in twenty college students gamble compulsively. (People in the age-range of twenty to thirty are the most addicted.) Violent, criminal behaviors increase by ten-percent in any city or town housing a gambling establishment. The casino industry is rife with black-markets, human trafficking, prostitution, larceny, illegal drugs and mobsters. After all, there is no real product casinos are selling, right? Perhaps they dabble in illegal partnerships to pad their coffers.
The main spirit behind gambling is lust. The desire to gamble comes from the hunger for something you don’t presently have. 1 John 2:16 says, “For all that is in the world; the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and the boastful pride of life, is not from the Father, but is from the world.” Gambling dangles the carrot of wealth in front of our noses and suggests that we should have more than what God has generously provided. Further, the possibility of a windfall of cash can ignite a bonfire of greed in our flesh. Again, while we look at what sits crouched behind an innocent lottery ticket or slot machine, are we sure we want to have the experience of gambling with our lives, incomes and peace of mind?
The Holy Spirit has lavishly provided all Christians with the ability to discern what is best, wisest and lawful for them. Is gambling a sin? Read 1 John 4, then test the spirits and decide.
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