As Christians, we know that our ultimate calling in life is to spread the gospel of Jesus Christ. While it’s frustrating to have that one person constantly on your mind who just won’t come to accept Christ, have you ever stopped to look in the mirror and ask yourself what things in your own life may be separating you from that complete and total commitment to Christ? These “things”, small or large, are like bets in a casino. Some are nickle slots, some are dollar slots, either way you’re either going to win or lose, there is no in-between. Can you afford this sort of gamble? Stop gambling forever.
Look in Your Own Eye
In the Bible, Matthew 7 verses 3-5 states, “Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye“.
Are we practicing what we preach, so to speak? Make no mistake about it, we will be tempted, day in and day out. But before we criticize others over their own wrongs, maybe we should look in the mirror at ourselves first. Often times we notice the sins or issues of others but neglect to judge ourselves first. It is easy to look beyond our own issues while pointing out those of others.
This isn’t to say we shouldn’t continue to share the word of God. However, we also cannot teach our children to refrain from drinking and smoking while holding a bottle of beer with a cigar in our mouth either.
There you are driving down the highway, minding your own business, half smile on your face, driving the speed limit, in the right-hand lane,,,,,,everything is good. Out of nowhere a car comes up from behind tailgating, speeding up, slowing down, then they jerk to the left, speed around you and cut you off in front. Is that smile still there? How’s that blood pressure?
At that very moment of anger, you have several choices to make.
- Speed up and tailgate them for a while.
- Speed up, tailgate them, jerk around and pass them giving them the famous middle-finger-salute as you go by.
- Deep breath, quick prayer for them and you, and stay the course.
Think of choices 1 and 2 above as sort of an “anxiety attack”. But what was the cause of the anxiety? Sure, it’s easy to blame the jerk who interrupted your peaceful drive, but who was responsible for your thoughts and actions during and after the incident?
When we think of “separation from God”, we generally think of non-Christians; those who have not come to accept Christ. But considering the example above, in that moment of anger, would you always choose #3? In those heated moments of trials and anger in our everyday life, you choose to pray and come closer to God, putting the issue into His hands, or do you choose to separate yourself from Him in the heat of the moment and handle things yourself?
Why gamble with those situations? Proverbs 3:5 states, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding“.
Are You Still Gambling?
According to the National Council on Problem Gambling, the very definition of “problem gambling” is:
“Gambling behavior which causes disruptions in any major area of life: psychological, physical, social or vocational.”
What things in your own life are causing disruptions that you know are not right with God? Going against God’s will can cause psychological, physical and social or vocational disruptions. It is a gamble we simply cannot afford to continue with. Why gamble? Why gamble with our eternal fate? While we “say” we are Christian and we “say” we believe in Christ, are we sincere in our verbal commitment or are we simply saying that “in principle”, we believe?
A full commitment to God means a marked change, a born again change. It is a change that puts the priorities of God first and the worldly temptations out of the picture. It means the gambling of, “just one more time”, stops.
Mark 8 verse 36 in the bible sums up “gambling” very clearly: “For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul“?
That’s pretty clear. No-one is perfect. Not one of us is “good enough”. Romans 3 verse 23 says, “All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God”. The result of sin is death which is a spiritual separation from God, as Romans 6:23 explains.
Put Down The Dice – Commit
Have you fully accepted and committed your life to Jesus Christ? If not, why? One quick and easy way to tell someones commitment is simply as the question: “Why do you think God will let you into heaven?” Some may say they’ll be let in because they are genuinely good people, honest and hard-working. Others may say because they go to church, pay their tithe and offering, and volunteer their time. While these are all good and noteworthy things to do, none of those alone will get us into heaven.
Only our 100% faith, trust, and belief in Jesus Christ will get us into Heaven. The Bible clarifies this fact well:
- John 3, verse 16 states, “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life“.
- John 14 verse 6 states, “Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me“.
- Romans 10 verse 9 states, “Because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved“.
Ephesians 2, verses 8-9,”For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast“.
No one is good enough on their own, no matter how good and genuine they may be, to make it into heaven. Only by the full faith and trust in Jesus Christ will we be able to make it to heaven. Stop gambling with trust in yourself, put down the dice of worldly ways, and say the following prayer:
“Dear God, I know I’m a sinner, and I ask for your forgiveness. I believe Jesus Christ is Your Son. I believe that He died for my sin and that you raised Him to life. I want to trust Him as my Savior and follow Him as Lord, from this day forward. Guide my life and help me to do your will. I pray this in the name of Jesus. Amen.”
(Credit for this beautiful, simple, and thorough version of the sinners prayer goes to the late Billy Graham.)