When I was a very young growing up in the fifties, I used to play poker with other boys in the neighborhood for play money. It was an acquired interest, promoted chiefly by a couple of us whose fathers engaged in some form of gambling, and encouraged through the influence of certain television programs of the time "glamorizing" gambling as an exciting, colorful way of life. Certainly, I didn't see anything wrong with it back then; today however, through the illumination of biblical teachings coupled with the "common sense" of maturity, I'm able to recognize gambling for the addictive, pride-enhancing, sinful behavior it truly is.
Gambling is indeed "fun" without doubt, but it's also a Satanic device, a tool that entices people into more "worldly" environments and deeper temptations. It distracts from Godly focus, directing people's thoughts instead to their own craftiness, the love of sport and money (1 Timothy 6:10). Like any type of competition, it plays to the human ego. Temporary success at gambling gives the winner a selfish (god-like) feeling of superiority and invincibility, while numbing his conscience to the possible suffering inflicted upon the loser, financially, emotionally and spiritually or possible disruption to the harmony of his home because of his involvement or loss.
The act of gambling has three constant companions: alcohol abuse,smoking and vulgarity, any one of which can latch itself to the gambler like a leech and grow into habitual behavior (demonic stronghold) in that person's life. True, some people might manage to remain free of these more obvious vices (sin activities), however; there are literally thousands of less obvious and more covert moral entanglements provided through gambling that can easily lead the gambler unconsciously down the pathway to spiritual destruction.
The national organization of "Gamblers Anonymous" can tell you with absolute certainty the reality of gambling addiction. It is real and growing in American culture today. It has led many lives to poverty, domestic abuse,alcoholism, divorce and violence….none of which are of God. Sure, you might not be an addict yourself, but how might your example of gambling tempt or entice someone near you who might be so unfortunately predisposed toward that addiction? The Bible refers to such an example as a "stumbling block" (1 Corinthians 8:9-12) that could easily cause the destruction of another. Your example might bring about the physical, emotional or spiritual downfall of a weaker one who follows your lead,..no person belonging to Jesus Christ could want that! (Matthew 18:7)
Satan is real! He is a liar and deceiver whose main purpose is to destroy non-Christians and render Christians ineffective (1 Peter 5:8b). He uses devices such as gambling to ensnare his victims. Gambling (primarily poker) is experiencing a new resurgence today due to television programs again "glamorizing" and disguising it's sinful nature. Non-Christians are pulled into it's enticement much the same way I was lured as a child (excitement, competition, etc.), but even some who claim to have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ (Christians), are being pulled back into the world and abandoning Godly pursuits to this debauchery.
If a Christian is truly led by God's Holy Spirit then it is sin for he or she to do anything that could (even possibly) tempt another person to sin (James 1:13b). If a Christian is obedient to God's leading he will separate himself as much as possible from the enticements and "unclean" things of this world (2 Corinthians 6:17) and (Ephesians 5:3). He must understand that toying with evil environments and companionships will destroy his own character,..irregardless of his best intentions (1 Corinthians 15:33).
If a Christian is following God's teachings regarding "stewardship" he knows that money provided to him by God, is to first: be tithed back to God(10% - the firstfruits - Genesis 14:18-20), secondly: to provide necessities for his family (i.e. food, shelter, medical, utilities, just debts) and thirdly:donated to aid the needy of God's people, God never intended His provision to be squandered or possibly lost in the selfish, egotistical pursuit of gambling. All money spent in bars and casinos is money NOT invested in the Kingdom of God (Matthew 12:30), therefore it instead serves to tighten Satan's grip on all people and expand the kingdom of darkness. Christians are instructed to seek the things of God's Kingdom and His goodness (Matthew 6:33). They are further told to separate themselves from the ways of the world (2 Corinthians 6:17) and to focus AT ALL TIMES on the things of God (Philippians 4:8), NOT becoming conformed (drawn in) to the pursuits and enticements of this world (Romans 12:2).
Gambling in any form is a tool of Satan designed to pull people into sin-infested environments and the lure of this world, away from wholesome and faith-strengthening Christian company (Hebrews 10:25). Those who do not have the gospel locked tightly in their hearts, or those who love the things and pursuits of this world will gamble (Hebrews 10:26 and 27), because they are their own gods,….personal wants are their priority.
My dad was a drunkard and a gambler when I was very little, but when He met Jesus he became a different….no,…a NEW man! When I was only seven he became a Christian, the alcohol and gambling were gone permanently and he strived for Godly living for the remaining eight years of his life.
(W.W.J.D.?)…..Would you be likely to find Jesus sitting in a bar, gambling for money and spewing profanity? Christian,….what sort of a house are you building on the foundation God has laid? (1 Corinthians 3:11-18). Where is the example of your life leading others? Are you the god you serve, or do you choose to serve the Lord? (Joshua 24:15). No, the Bible doesn't specifically name "gambling" as sin, however; if you take the complete teachings of the Bible in entirety, one can then easily see how the act of gambling is in direct conflict with God's instructions and the example of Jesus Christ.
I regret if this teaching has been difficult for some who may be involved with gambling, however; Christians are instructed by God in Ezekiel 3:20 and 21, to warn other Christians away from sin….and so, as a writer for God,….I humbly obey.