Many times over the years I have had friendly debates on the topic, should Christians Gamble? For me, the answer to this question has always been very cut and dry, black and white… and not gray at all. The answer is quite simply NO.
There is a brother in Christ, who loves Jesus very much, that I fellowship with on a regular basis. He gambles regularly is not convinced it is a sin, he bets the horse races and doesn’t even like referring to it as “gambling”. No amount of arguments I make against the idea is going to change his mind, he has been gambling for decades.
However, with this article I may be able to convince some of you who wonder if this should be a part of your Christian life. There are SEVERAL reason why I believe God does not want us to gamble, and here they are in no particular order:
- Gambling does not glorify God. In 1 Corinthians 10:31 Paul writes “So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God”. There is nothing about Gambling that Glorifies God. My friend will argue that going to the horse track is no different than him going golfing, they are both just ways to pass the time. But that is not correct. Golf is an athletic sport, which you could very much Glorify God while doing. Whether you win or lose is based on your skill level and how much you practice. My friend would also argue that horse betting is not gambling, it’s skill… and that is what we call D E N I A L.
- Gambling is incredibly destructive and is commonly used by the devil to tear apart families. If you EVER question this statement, I dare you to visit any Casino in the nation and just walk through looking at the faces of people glued to slot machines. So much anguish, so much sadness and desperation. These people are hurting and they just keep feeding and feeding and feeding the machines. Once in a blue moon they may hit a winner, maybe $500, maybe $1000… certainly enough to go brag about the next day at work and more than enough to keep them coming back. If Gambling is used by the devil to destroy families (which it is) why would any Christian want to be a part of it? We should be about BUILDING God’s Kingdom, not helping the devil tear it down.
- Gambling can easily become an addiction. Just like alcohol, drugs or pornography… Gambling can become a very compulsive disorder and powerful addiction. One that could cost you everything, literally. I have sat next to men in recovery groups that lost their children, marriage, home, job and retirement to Gambling. Why on earth would anyone want to play around with something so deadly and destructive? It is unwise and prideful to think you can “handle” it.
- Gambling is not being a good steward of God’s resources. The money we walk around with is not our money. Plain and simple. It’s all God’s money and he wants us to be a good steward of that money. You can NEVER convince me that Gambling is good stewardship and any attempt on your part is you trying to justify your behavior, or you playing devil’s advocate. Either way, you are wrong.
- Gambling feeds your pride and is all about selfish gain. What is pride? It is being selfish, making decisions that are all about you. God has given you resources, and it’s not enough. You want more than God has given you, because you think you deserve it? Maybe you should stop and think, if I was a better steward of the money God already gave me, he would trust me with more!
- No one ever wins Gambling. I would love for ANYONE to make a ledger of their wins/losses to gambling over their life and show me one example where someone came out ahead over the long haul. It’s mathematically impossible, which is why Casinos rake in BILLIONS each year… it’s not because so many Gamblers are striking it rich. The only winners in Gambling, are the Casinos and of course our enemy Satan.
- Your testimony is damaged. Remember you are a representative of Jesus Christ and when people see you in the world, you should REPRESENT! Some people will say “but Jesus used to hang out with prostitutes and criminals”… Yes, but did Jesus ever PARTAKE of their criminal or sinful behavior? That’s a rhetorical question.
This is the bottom line, and the simplest way to know if you should leave something alone… do you find yourself justifying your behavior? You NEVER, EVER have to justify giving Glory to God…. but you will find yourself constantly trying to justify behavior YOU know runs counter to God’s character, simply because you don’t want to give it up.
Pick up your cross and follow him. This is what we are called to do daily. This means we need to let go of all the stuff we think we want in this world, we need to love what he loves and hate what he hates. If you are still convinced you should be gambling or that it is just a harmless hobby, then there is no amount of convincing that will change your mind.
If you feel like you have an argument in favor of Gambling as a Christian, I would love to hear about it in the comments below.