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Do we have the freedom to Gamble or is it a sin?

People can do things in desperate times they normally would not think of doing. There are numerous activities that we waste time and energy on that do not affect us adversely and there are numerous activities that can bring bondage affecting both the participant and others they care for.

The Bible does not specifically mention gambling, or participating in the lottery. However there are some Biblical principles that we need to apply before you involve yourself in this kind of activity.

The Bible warns about the pursuit of being rich which certainly would be the case in most people who are attracted to gambling (1 Timothy 6:10; Hebrews 13:5). Scripture also encourages us to stay away from attempts to “get rich quick” (Proverbs 13:11; 23:5; Ecclesiastes 5:10). Proverbs – skills for living has a lot to say about being hasty to become rich. Proverbs 28:22: “A man with an evil eye hastens after riches, and does not consider that poverty will come upon him.”

Gambling attraction is about becoming rich, it tempts people with the promise of quick and easy riches. In times where jobs are scarce one has to be extra careful not to fall into the trap of hitting it big that one time.

Responsibility: Gambling when done occasionally may not immediately be seen as detrimental but will it stay under control? The majority of times it does not. It can begin as fun, a challenge of wits and can seem exciting. But what happens when one becomes addicted to the impulse to indulge? So many start off lightly and end up losing heavily, everything they worked their life for. Are you ready to bring damage to you family if you lose. This is what one needs to ask themselves before they even begin to indulge in this kind of addictive activity.

Yes, people lose everything they have worked all their lived for when they gamble. Very few make it big; the odds are certainly not in your favor. Most say they are in control until they lose their business, their homes and see their families fractured because of their frivolity.

Even when one sees some success they try again and again for more. Prov. 21:25-26: “The desire of the lazy man kills him, for his hands refuse to labor. He covets greedily all day long.”

God is not against riches if one works for them but he warns consistently on how to use them. 1 Tim. 6:17: “Command those who are rich in this present age not to be haughty, nor to trust in uncertain riches but in the living God, who gives us richly all things to enjoy.”

As believers we need to be aware “and the cares of this world, the deceitfulness of riches, and the desires for other things entering in choke the word, and it becomes unfruitful” (Mark 4:19). It has been said once ones got the bug that is what they will live for.

1 Tim. 6:9-10: “But those who crave to be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and harmful desires which plunge men into ruin and destruction and miserable perishing. For the love of money is a root of all evils, and it is through this craving that some have been led astray and have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many mental pangs. (Amplified Bible)

Is gambling be acceptable if you win? Someone can win, the reality is that majority of people that gamble lose. You may be successful one time but next time lose it all, that’s how it works. The Devil schemes- he gives someone the pawn for the queen. This “fun” indulgence develops into an addiction. It gives the participant a high, a feeling of euphoria when playing. One becomes hooked on the rush, the feeling when engaged and it affects them like a drug.

Paul writes:
1 Cor. 6:12: “All things are lawful for me, but all things are not helpful. All things are lawful for me, but I will not be brought under the power of any.” Paul says he only wants to do what is beneficial. Again he repeats this principle in 1 Cor. 10:23: “All things are lawful for me, but not all things are helpful; all things are lawful for me, but not all things edify.”
Not everything we have freedom to do is beneficial, some are obvious some are not so obvious and have to be measured out. Gambling can bring one into bondage. It trusts in the arm of the flesh, it titillates the flesh and has it chase the satisfaction of winning which rarely seems to be in reach.

Continually spending money for lottery tickets would be considered gambling. Although an occasional purchase would not be a considered an addiction; it is a waste of money. This does not mean if you buy a lottery ticket once in a while you are sinning. But one must ask does the desire to gamble control your emotions? Do you look to buy one every time there is new lottery?

We can waste money on all sorts of activities. We can waste money going to the arcade and playing a game, which turns into numerous games to win; or purchasing a worthless item in a store we do not need. But our wasting money in these areas does not justify that we can gamble. Money that is wasted on these things do not compare to what happens in gambling when you lose. When one is hooked on the feeling they dispense with all logic and run on pure emotion. The pleasure one may derive from gambling is fleeting and quickly over as it began.
We are to be responsible for our money, as believers it is the Lord, we are stewards and should not be wasting it. Any excess money accumulated should be saved for future needs of the family or used for the Lord's work to help others, not for frivolity in gambling. We have all heard the saying, “idle hands is the Devils workshop,” sometimes busy hands can be also.

Some may point out that they cast lots in the Bible. Joshua cast lots to determine the dividing of land for the various tribes of Israel. Nehemiah cast lots to determine who would live inside the walls of Jerusalem. The apostles cast lots to determine the replacement for Judas in Acts 1. Proverbs 16:33 says, “The lot is cast in the lap, but its every decision is from the Lord.” This is about determining a decision between two choices, not gambling for riches, (rolling the dice) there was no coveting involved.

Taking risks can be found in nearly everything. Buying a house one takes a risk. We can take a risk in business but this is more dependent on supply and demand, the customers than chance. Playing the stock market can certainly be considered a risk; even if one does have money to spare to lose what they invest. Taking chances with investments are not the same as gaming. Even buying gold is a gamble, you are taking a chance (though the odds for now are in your favor). Some who bought it when it was far less can justify their purchase with it now at $1,500 an ounce. But this does not mean it will stay at this price and go higher. Spending a percentage of ones savings they can spare on a future investment can be prudent. However if gold turns out to be a bubble and goes down, their investment is quickly gone. These investments often mean one took a chance but they hardly compare to the chance one will take in a casino gambling.

Casinos use all sorts of advertising and marketing techniques to entice those who are willing to take a chance to risk their money for a win. Gambling is like a potato chip, you can’t eat just one. They offer cheap flights and rooms at hotels, cheap or complimentary alcohol etc. Knowing that intoxication will decrease ones ability to make good decisions and give them the advantage. Everything in a casino is perfectly fitted for taking ones money and giving them nothing in return. Online gambling makes it far easier for one to have their money part.

Lotteries are cheaper but are just unsuccessful and addictive. However, studies show that lottery participants are usually those who can least afford to be spending money on lottery tickets (they buy more than one). The allure of “getting rich quick” is too great a temptation to resist for those who are desperate. The chances of winning are minuscule and the results are seen in many peoples’ lives being ruined, even those who win. Reports show that the greater part of lottery winners in a few years are in a worse financial situation than they were before.

Many people claim they play the lottery so that they will have money for the church or contribute to help others. While they may have good intentions, reality is that few use gambling winnings for good or godly purposes. Even if they were, it would not justify once participation. Some throw their money away on tithes and offerings that make others rich because they are manipulated in believing they must do this, it is their duty or that God will bless them back.

Events of “chance” that lead to good fortune can be entrapping as well. Prov. 15:27 “He who is greedy for gain troubles his own house.” Prov. 1:19: “So are the ways of everyone who is greedy for gain; it takes away the life of its owners.” Being tempted to pursue riches (by gambling) will eventually lead to calamity.

Proverbs 13:11 says, “Dishonest money dwindles away, but he who gathers money little by little makes it grow.” God provides our needs through honest means of work, even if it is an inheritance from the family. Prov. 13:22 “A good man leaves an inheritance to his children's children, but the wealth of the sinner is stored up for the righteous.” Prov. 19:14 “Houses and riches are an inheritance from fathers.” God has a way of transferring money when he sees fit.

Gal. 5:13 “For you, brethren, have been called to liberty; only do not use liberty as an opportunity for the flesh.”
We have freedom to do many things but we should avoid using our freedom for vices. Hebrews 13:5: “Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have.” A Christian should be content, have peace and not be anxious.

Prov. 23:5: “Will you set your eyes on that which is not? For riches certainly make themselves wings; they fly away like an eagle toward heaven.” What seems like a good idea at the time often is seen differently when one waits. We live in times of hardship and one should be extra careful before they allow themselves to pursue what seems to be a sure thing.

Let me sum this up with the biggest gamble one can engage in, which is spoken by Jesus. It is the pursuit of riches and power which when tasted never seem to be enough. Luke 9:25: “For what profit is it to a man if he gains the whole world, and is himself destroyed or lost?”
One can spend their in pursuit of making it rich or get wisdom and have the riches of God. He leaves that choice to us.


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