Some people gamble to win money to live or supplement their income. That’s a problem. God has directed every man to work to provide for himself and his family. The Apostle Paul states, “Even while we were with you, we gave you this command: ‘Those unwilling to work will not get to eat.’ Yet we hear that some of you are living idle lives, refusing to work and meddling in other people’s business. We command such people and urge them in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ to settle down and work to earn their own living.” 2 Thess. 3:10-12 (NLT) Yes, working to support oneself is God’s arrangement.
Does the Bible say anything about gambling for fun? I do not know of any scriptures which directly address gambling, so we will reason on the subject. First, we have no accounts of godly men gambling in the Bible. Additionally, gambling is a game of chance, but Christians know that every detail of their lives are known and directed of God. “The steps of a righteous man are ordered,…the very hairs of your head are numbered.” (Psalm 37:23, Matt. 10:30 ) Since God directs our affairs, we should not play with chance to win money.
Respecting alcoholic beverages, we know Jesus created the wine at the wedding at Cana (John 2:1-11) and may conclude that drinking alcohol cannot be a sin. In fact, Jesus made the wine to be enjoyed at this holy celebration! Therefore, drinking in moderation seems to be fine. Problems occur when people drink too much. “Be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit.” Eph. 5:18 Drunkenness dulls the senses, and deadens our judgment. A Christian should always be responsible for his actions and should try to glorify God in thought, word, and deed. Drunkenness makes this impossible.
Sometimes when people indulge in activities like drinking and gambling the behaviors become the focus of leisure entertainment. This can be a problem. There are many healthy avenues of pleasure which will uplift and encourage the Christian’s new man. For example, a walk outside, fellowship with Christian friends, attending Bible studies, reading Christian books, watching healthy movies, etc. When the activity is over, we find ourselves refreshed and encouraged. We don’t feel separated from God. However, when a person engages in frequent drinking or gambling, this will stimulate carnal appetites, and the behaviors will draw us further and further from God until we find we are rarely going to church, worshipping, or engaging in spiritual activities. 1 Thess. 5:19 tells us, “Quench not the spirit.” We quench the spirit when we feed the old man. Better to grow in the spirit and thrive in God’s joyful will!