Thursday, April 30, 2015

My Christian Dilemma: The Lotto Ticket

One of my great weaknesses in my Christian life used to be buying lotto tickets. I figured it wasn't a sin because all I was doing was asking God: Can I have $17 million today? He would answer me either yes or no (Makes sense to me!.)

Additionally, I further believed that as a Christian I showed great faith by only buying one ticket a month. I reasoned if God wanted me to have $17 million, He would only need one ticket to make it happen.  (That's what I call having faith in God's sovereignty and power!). I also cleverly decided to buy one a month because maybe winning the $17 million in previous months wasn't in God's timing. I had scripture to back me up on that one!

"He said to them, It is not for you to become acquainted with and know what time brings [the things and events of time and their definite periods] or fixed years and seasons (their critical niche in time), which the Father has appointed (fixed and reserved) by His own choice and authority and personal power" (Acts 1:7).

"Be on your guard [constantly alert], and watch and pray; for you do not know when the time will come" (Mark 13:33).

"For the vision is yet for an appointed time and it hastens to the end [fulfillment]; it will not deceive or disappoint. Though it tarry, wait [earnestly] for it, because it will surely come; it will not be behindhand on its appointed day" (Habakkuk 2:3). 

Armed with all these Christian truths, I continued forward on the narrow path (Matthew 7:13). As I was happily ambling along the narrow path, the Holy Spirit took me aside and put the following scripture into my head:
"And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Jesus Christ." (Philippians 4:19).
I realized that everything good I received as a Christian was given to me by God. God gives me everything I need. When I buy a lotto ticket I'm telling God I'm not satisfied with what He has provided for me.

"Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said: “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.” (Hebrews 13:5)
I was also saying: I don't trust God.
Do you buy lotto tickets?  Has anything you just read change your attitude towards them?

My prayer is that when you read Pilgrim's Progress Today, you don't approach it with a critical spirit. Instead that you come with your heart opened by God so you can hear anything that the Holy Spirit wants to say to you through the blog. My writings are only an intermediary between you and the Holy Spirit. In my best case scenario, God through His sovereign choice, leads you to my blog because the Holy Spirit has a special message for you. For all I know, the special message might not have anything to do with what I've written.


  1. Hi Pat Campo!
    Thanks for your blog. I realize a lot myself from your text. I'm addicted person. I like to play lottery games. Now I spend my money on this lottery
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    Please tell me how I can lose my addiction. It's very important to me. Thanks!

  2. Cole:
    I used to buy lotto tickets myself, so I can relate to your problem. I’ll start out with some biblical principles and follow up with some practical principles. First of all, remember that the Bible says that God provides you everything you have through His grace. So when you buy a lotto ticket, you’re telling God that you’re not satisfied with what he is giving you through His love and grace. Jesus died on the cross for you to free you from your sins and give you eternal life. By buying lotto tickets you’re telling Jesus that dying on the cross for you is not enough and you’re not satisfied – you need a bunch of money too. You are devaluating and disrespecting the great sacrifice He made for you and the great gift He gave you because He loves you.
    But remember, if you’re a Christian, buying a lotto ticket is not a sin. It’s impossible for a Christian to sin because the law no longer applies to him (thanks to Jesus). You can’t break a law (i.e. sin), if there is no law. You can read about that in Romans. That does not mean you can’t act badly and in ways that God disapproves of. Paul said in one of his letters: Everything is permissible, but not everything is advisable.
    So Jesus doesn’t want you to stop buying lotto tickets because you are afraid to be punished. He wants you to stop buying lotto tickets because you love Him and it saddens Him when you buy them. He wants you to act voluntarily out of love, not fear. Jesus died for you voluntarily out of love, he wants you to obey Him voluntarily out of love. Remember Jesus said: “If you love me you’ll keep my commandments.”
    Now, let’s get down to practicalities. I stopped buying lotto tickets because I felt the money would separate my family and friends from God. If I won the lottery, everybody would want money from me. I’d have an ethical burden on how much to give to each one. There would be bickering and arguments about who should get how much etc. Furthermore, when they got the money they would feel they got everything they need and would ignore God. That’s not a good thing. The whole thing seemed like a great responsibility and burden to me. It would hurt my lifestyle rather than improve it.
    Now let’s get down to your addiction problem. Every Christian has either an addiction or an ungodly habit or obsession. It goes with the territory. You’re not alone in that one. In fact, your addiction is much more harmless to others than many addictions other people have. In general, people sin because they mistakenly think it will make them happy. That’s why people have affairs, rob banks, get drunk, gamble etc. All the sin gives them is family problems, jail sentences, hangovers/DUI’s/bad livers and empty bank accounts. Sinning doesn’t work, it never gets you what you want. Once you truly understands this and believe it, you’ll sin a whole lot less. The reason you buy lotto tickets is that you mistakenly believe that if you win the lotto your troubles will be over and you’ll be happy.
    So how do you stop your addiction? First of all, you can’t do it using your own will-power or self-discipline. As Paul said in Romans: “I do the things I don’t want to do, and I don’t do the things I want to do.” It’s that never ending struggle between the flesh and the spirit. They only way you can change is by praying for God to change you. If you sincerely try to change, God will make you lose your interest in the lottery. So here’s my suggestion. Pray to God to change you and buy all the lotto tickets you want to. Eventually, God will show you that it’s a waste of time and money and won’t get you what you want. Once you truly understand and believe God about this, you’ll lose interest in your addiction. Hope this helps. If it doesn’t let me know and we’ll try something different.
    Pat Campo

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