Reading James 3:13 to about 4:3 this morning before work and found a mirror held up in front of my face. I was studying the use of the words jealousy and envious and POW! Verse 4:2 says “You lust and do not have; so you commit murder. You are envious and cannot obtain; so you fight and quarrel. You do nothave because you do not ask. Verse 3 You ask and do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, so you may spend it on your pleasures.” That sounds like me. Convicted. I have to discuss this later, because I have to go to work in a few moments. I do not want to stop this flow, but I am worried about being late and forgetting something.
Felt like going through some thoughts of 1Corinthians 13:4-7. Because I am using the Message Bible things will look a little different than other translations might. I will probably skip a few parts of some verses, right now, to just stick to how these verses apply to the journey to addiction to gambling recovery. “Love never gives up.” I try to live by these words: never give up and never surrender. I am not sure that this verse is talking about the same thing as I am when I think about not giving up all the time, but I am not going to give up my decision to stop going to the casino. I want to spend my time learning how to care more for others than for self. When I gamble my wish is to win more money than others win. I start by thinking how desperately I need it, but get jealous when the people next to me win when I am losing. “Love does not envy.” “Love doesn’t want what it doesn’t have.” These verses cover that action and the thoughts that proceed them. My life should not always be about “me first.”
I want to be the person that “doesn’t keep score of the sins of others,” but “takes pleasure in the flowering of truth.” I think I already know how to put up with anything, but I do not think that is what Paul was talking about when he wrote 1 Corinthians 13: 7 and said that love “is not easily angered.” I have been a doormat. That is not the same thing. Maybe that is where some of the emotions come from that make me seek out the excitement of going to the casino. But that is not me “looking for the best” in God. He is a good God and I believe His Word when it says so. I am going to “trust God always!” I want to “never look back.” I will “keep going to the end.”
Maybe looking at these scriptures in this way is selfish. But that was not my intent. I am just trying to find my way to use the Word of God to help me become free from addiction to anything, but Jesus. That is the way I handled things when I did not drink like an alcoholic or take prescriptions like an addict or gamble in a casino. I was addicted to Jesus. I viewed everything through the eyes of a daughter of God. It was when I got to a point in my young adult life where I did not know how to cope with peer pressure and loneliness that I let my immaturity lead me to drink like a fish. I hid it well. I was not trying to live a dishonest or hypocritical life. I just did not know how to handle life. In many ways I am still learning how to be a mature adult.
Things are getting a little more intense than I thought they would. When that happens I start to shut down to avoid the anxiety attack. I know that I need to dig deep to get better. I am scared. Who would not be? No matter the reason or the means. Losing my money or becoming dependent on others. Going to meetings or studying the Bible. I am trying to get back to the rhythm I had going when I started writing “I’m Here.” Maybe I am not supposed to rewrite it or even repeat its popularity. The point is to be honest that I am a mess and only God can fix this mess. If I never publish a word, the important thing has to be recovery and a closer relationship with God.
I may be wrong to put a focus on my not going to the casino on 1 Corinthians 8 and the mandate to not do something that will cause others to stumble. But it is important to me to not hurt others. If the only way I can help others is to not do something that will lead them on a path away from God, then I will work on just that. I know that I should find other ways to serve others. I will be able to do them better if I am not stressing about my lack of finances or feeling sick from my loss of sleep.
I will not be basing everything on whether my actions will cause others to become addicted. The disease of addiction may be caused by being the adult-child of an alcoholic or the desire to just feel good in your own skin. Jesus can fill in all these areas. That is where my focus is going to be. Jesus. I may not be able to write every post about addiction or recovery, but I do know that I can write from my life experience and what I am studying about in the Word of God.
He says that He will never leave me. Thank You Jesus that that is true. I know you are telling me, “I am here.”
That is my prayer and thanksgiving this morning. It has to be because I feel like a heel. Yes, I said it. If you cannot guess from my self-loathing, I am chastising myself for going to the casino and wasting money that I really needed to be saving. I have probably posted this before, but I am hoping that doing this in such a public way will be taking the responsibility necessary to stop this behavior. I have to call gambling sin. It may not be for everyone, but it is for me. I need help behind the decision not to go.
I am posting to help not only me, but anyone else that struggles with gambling or addiction of any kind. The scriptures are what I need to reinforce it all. To gamble means to play games of chance for money or to take risky action in hope of a desired result. Addiction means to be physically and mentally dependent on a particular substance or action, and unable to stop partaking without incurring adverse effects. Now gambling may not fit in that definition, but for my purposes I am saying that it is. It would seem I have a problem with feeling satisfied like a normal individual.
In the beginning, my search resulted in the following gambling related quotes in the Bible.
Mark 8:36 (NKJV), “For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul?”
Hebrews 13:5 (ESV), “Keep your life free from love of money, and be content with what you have, for he has said, ‘I will never leave you nor forsake you.'”
Ecclesiastes 5:10 (NASB), “He who loves money will not be satisfied with money, nor he who loves abundance with its income. This too is vanity.”
Luke 12:15 (NKJV), “And He said to them, ‘Take heed and beware of covetousness, for one’s life does not consist in the abundance of the things he possesses.’”
Looking at gambling in this manner shows it as the sin of covetousness spoken against in Exodus 20:17, “You shall not covet your neighbor’s house. You shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, or his male or female servant, his ox or donkey, or anything that belongs to your neighbor.”
The more research I find the worse I feel about what I have done. This is explained in 1 Timothy 6:10, “For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.” Sometimes I have justified my going to the casino out of desperation for the funds to do things like buy groceries or toilet paper, this kind of thinking is covered under the sin of mistrust in God’s provision. Deuteronomy 8:18 says, “But remember the LORD your God, for it is he who gives you the ability to produce wealth, and so confirms his covenant, which he swore to your ancestors, as it is today.” The funds or rather the provision comes from God not anything that I do. I need to stand on Philippians 4:19, “And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus,” not my own understanding.
In Matthew 6:24 we are told that “no one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money.” I am serving the enemy every time I make the decision to go to the casino. Not because casinos and gambling are totally from the devil, but because I cannot go without hurting myself and others. What kind of witness is that? The New International Version says 1 Corinthians 8:9 this way, “Be careful, however, that the exercise of your rights does not become a stumbling block to the weak.” I am starting to think of myself as a hypocrite because of all of this stuff. Not the scriptures, but my actions.
You would think I would learn that when I read Proverbs 13:11 and it says, “Dishonest money dwindles away, but whoever gathers money little by little makes it grow,” I would listen. The Bible is clear. I am going to lose my money if I gamble with it.
Proverbs 23:5 “Cast but a glance at riches, and they are gone, for they will surely sprout wings and fly off to the sky like an eagle.”
Proverbs 28:19 “Those who work their land will have abundant food, but those who chase fantasies will have their fill of poverty.”
Even Proverbs 16:33 refers to the truth that “casting” lots is not going to work as well. “Every decision is from the LORD.” I am also relearning that I am powerless and that my life is be coming unmanageable because of my actions. Addiction is addiction. I believe that the urges have gotten out of control. The increasing and persistent problems in my life are proof.
I have to get ready for work, so I will have to cut this shorter than I really want to, but I will come back. Hopefully Monday. If not sooner.