Is Gambling a topic that comes up in your Marriage? You searched this out. So I know those are not fun conversations. I wish I could give you 10 Tips to Win the Battle over Gambling or 10 Miraculous Ways to Heal after the pain of Gambling in a Christian Marriage… No, I can’t write that because I can only write about what I know. The only way I know to work through a gambling problem in Marriage is prayer.
You can search the whole of the bible and never find a verse that mentions the word, Gamble. I know because I’ve lived as a Jesus girl married to a gambler for years and he always counters my argument with that line. It’s true – literally true. So why are we in this space talking about Gambling?
Gambling – when it’s a problem – hurts families and relationships.
Some people can take $20 and spend an hour Gambling – it starts and ends there and there are no problems. Other people feel that rush, get lost in the possibilities, the excitement of it all steals away their worries… and a harmless hobby becomes a raging addiction -an insidious presence that infects everything it touches.
Gambling – like any addiction – can be justified, rationalized and minimalized.
The loved ones who struggle helplessly as they watch – can feel like they overreact or overdramatize things. Until everything falls apart.
If you are married to a gambler you know what I mean. There are times it seems like everything is back to normal and there is hope. Then like a tornado – unexpectedly and with much destruction – everything falls apart.
As a woman, I can attest to the reality of that core need – for security – causing me to live in fear for a long time. Fear does crazy things to us, doesn’t it?
Can you relate to the Fear and Anxiety piece? I’d love to share my go-to verses for overcoming Anxiety in this Free 40 Day Reading and Journaling Plan.
Gambling in a Christian Marriage -much like any behavior that becomes an addiction – is a heart problem.
There comes a point in each of our lives when we have a choice. Do I pursue God, set my priorities and live for him? Or do I see how close to that line – the line between sin and not quite legally sin? When we play that game, we are lured over the line before we realize it and sin takes us so much farther than we ever intended to go.
Sin is sin. I can’t say – hands down – that Gambling is a sin because the bible doesn’t 100% say that. What I can say is that gambling often leads to sin. Why? I really don’t know but I’ve seen it happen too many times and statistics corroborate that fact. This is one of those neutral behaviors that the enemy commonly uses to lure our heart away from trusting and leaning on God. So we must cover it in Prayer to see Change. (And we must forgive with God’s help)
So Far in the series on Praying Powerful Strategic Prayers:
- How to Create a Prayer Strategy that will change Every Thing
- How to Pray Powerful Effective Prayers over My Own Life
- and How to Effectively Pray Proverbs 31 and change Every Thing
Things to Pray against the Heart Issues of a Gambling Problems
1. A desire to increase financially – quickly – without working.
How do you know if you have a “love of money” or money issues? When you pursue money doing things that hurt others and separate yourself from God.
The truth is – in this life – we do need money. But we need God more. If the thing that we pursue to make money takes us away from God and God’s ways – it’s wrong… or our use of it is wrong. Do you know what I mean?
Hebrews 13:5 Make sure that your character is free from the love of money, being content with what you have; for He Himself has said, “I will never desert you, nor will I ever forsake you,”
And have you seen that when you love money – as you try to get money – what you have is never enough? You always need a little more and it becomes a driving force that destroys your relationships.
Ecclesiastes 5:10 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 Then He said to them, “Beware, and be on your guard against every form of greed; for not even when one has an abundance does his life consist of his possessions.”
Matthew 6:21 for where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
2. A lack of Trust in God to provide
We can trust God. God will be with us and help us in every situation – His word Promises that!
Joshua 1:9 Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous! Do not tremble or be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”
God sees every situation, promises to help us – His children- and still, we doubt Him. If He cares what happens to the birds… how much more will He care about His own Children?!?!?!?!
Luke 12:6-7 Are not five sparrows sold for two cents? Yet not one of them is forgotten before God. Indeed, the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Do not fear; you are more valuable than many sparrows.
Not only does God care, but He promises to provide for our needs. We can hold Him to that Promise – in fact, I’ve written before about Why we Must Pray to God our Provider and How to Pray to Our God Who Provides in Faith
Philippians 4:9 And my God will supply all your needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus.
3. A bent toward laziness – no desire for hard work
I know the American Dream says if we work hard we can climb out of our social class and achieve anything. We see it on TV, I even know several people who have done it. But it doesn’t happen for everyone. Some of us work hard our whole life and just barely get by.
The thing is, God sees. Maybe you have been lower middle class your whole life, or middle-lower class – God still sees and provides and honors that hard work.
People have said to me – my whole life- God will honor your hard work. Still, we live paycheck to paycheck, constantly being offered help by the government and others (Which we greatly appreciate). I want God to honor that hard work by lifting me out of this financial struggle and giving me a life of convenience and ease.
to Quote Laura Story in her book “When God doesn’t Fix It“:
What if God cares more about our Spiritual Growth than our Physical Comfort?
Colossians 3:23-24 Whatever you do, do your work heartily, as for the Lord rather than for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance. It is the Lord Christ whom you serve.
Then there is the direct command about Working in order to eat and providing for your family.
2 Thessalonians 3:10 if anyone is not willing to work, then he is not to eat, either.
1 Timothy 5:8 But if anyone does not provide for his own, and especially for those of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.
4. Covet in the heart – wanting what others have (more money in this case)
Covet means: to desire wrongfully, inordinately, or without due regard for the rights of others
To Covent is to say “I want what they have and I will have it even if it means taking it from them”.
Gambling problems are often an issue with the sin of Covetousness. I want more Money – like so and so has – so I will take what I have and try to win the money I want.
Exodus 20:17 “You shall not covet your neighbor’s house; you shall not covet your neighbor’s wife or his male servant or his female servant or his ox or his donkey or anything that belongs to your neighbor.”
And why does following this path often lead to ruin and destruction? I don’t fully know, but it has been happening for so long it’s in the bible that way.
1 Timothy 6:9-10 But those who want to get rich fall into temptation and a snare and many foolish and harmful desires which plunge men into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is a root of all sorts of evil, and some by longing for it have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.
5. A desire to entertain away their problems and forget for a while
When life is hard it is so tempting to try to ignore our troubles for a while. A bit of entertainment is not a sin. The problem comes when we hide behind that entertainment – when we chose it rather than facing and solving the problems at hand. We have to face the truth of our situations and work through them – with God, as a family – together.
Philippians 4:8 Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things.
I’m going to be very blunt here.
- The lost world turns to entertainment to escape their troubles because they have no hope and little help to get out of them.
- We – as disciples of Jesus Christ, indwelt by the Holy Spirit, surrounded by the Family of God – need not escape from our troubles. Even if our troubles are horrendous. We have help aplenty. All we need to do is ask.
When – instead of asking for help – we hide our problems and seek entertainment to escape – we have only ourselves to blame as things get worse.
Psalm 101:2-3 I will be careful to lead a blameless life— when will you come to me? I will conduct the affairs of my house with a blameless heart. I will not look with approval on anything that is vile. I hate what faithless people do; I will have no part in it.
Proverbs 31:4-7 is a fitting way to end this section. The King is being instructed on what is not fitting for a King. It is not right for a king to do things that cause him to forget his responsibility and hurt those he has a charge over. Verse 7 has been used many times to justify drinking, but when seen in context – the context that as Christians we are joint heirs with the King of Kings – we should not seek to forget our troubles in ways that could harm others. Drinking to excess and gambling would fall firmly into those categories but not exclusively as there are many other similar things.
Do you need some encouragement to keep pressing into that Daily Commitment?
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Pray For Godly Character to replace the heart issues of Gambling in a Christian Marriage
6. A heart that longs to glorify God with every area of their life and be content with God’s plan
When we are trusting in God we know He will take care of us – even in hard situations.
Philippians 4:11-13 Not that I speak from want, for I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances I am. I know how to get along with humble means, and I also know how to live in prosperity; in any and every circumstance I have learned the secret of being filled and going hungry, both of having abundance and suffering need. I can do all things through Him who strengthens me.
So no matter how hard the situation is, we can trust God for strength in each situation in life to glorify Him.
1 Corinthians 10:31 Whether, then, you eat or drink or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.
7. A desire to love others instead of focusing on their own pleasures
Love is the ultimate goal in our Christian lives. To love others often means setting aside our personal fears and wants to look out for the best interests of the ones we love. Love is a hard thing to achieve – because we are mostly selfish self-centered people (or I am at least). But it’s not impossible and should be the goal!
Philippians 2:3-4 Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves; do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others.
Regardless of how hard it is, we are to love sacrificially – the way Jesus loved.
1 John 3:16-17 We know love by this, that He laid down His life for us, and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren. But whoever has the world’s goods, and sees his brother in need and closes his heart against him, how does the love of God abide in him?
8. A desire to work honestly to provide for their family and be a good steward of the little they have
There are so many verses about this that I am going to let them do the talking here.
Proverbs 13:11 Wealth obtained by fraud dwindles, but the one who gathers by labor increases it.
also Proverbs 12:11 He who tills his land will have plenty of bread, but he who pursues worthless things lacks sense.
Proverbs 21:5 The plans of the diligent lead surely to advantage, but everyone who is hasty comes surely to poverty.
and another in Proverbs 28:19-20 He who tills his land will have plenty of food, But he who follows empty pursuits will have poverty in plenty. A faithful man will abound with blessings, But he who makes haste to be rich will not go unpunished.
Luke 16:10-11 “He who is faithful in a very little thing is faithful also in much; and he who is unrighteous in a very little thing is unrighteous also in much. Therefore if you have not been faithful in the use of unrighteous wealth, who will entrust the true riches to you?
9. A life lived as a good example to their children
Not only does God desire that we trust Him and pursue a life of righteousness (rather than a life playing with the line of sin) but He honors those who are obedient – with leadership and power (and sometimes finances that last)
Exodus 18:21 “Furthermore, you shall select out of all the people able men who fear God, men of truth, those who hate dishonest gain; and you shall place these over them as leaders of thousands, of hundreds, of fifties and of tens.
As we live a godly life we are able to raise godly children by example – which is the only way they have a chance to live well apart from God’s miraculous intervention. We see it in this passage that raising our children well is wedged between how to live for God.
Deuteronomy 6:5-9 You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. These words, which I am commanding you today, shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your sons and shall talk of them when you sit in your house and when you walk by the way and when you lie down and when you rise up. You shall bind them as a sign on your hand and they shall be as frontals on your forehead. You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.
10. For Truth to win and God to give Strength to overcome
John 8:32 and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free.
What is the truth about Gambling – the truth is that those with a problem or addiction can’t always see?
Where our treasure is, our heart is and we hurt others when our treasure is possessions instead of relationships.
Luke 12:33-34 Sell your possessions, and give to the needy. Provide yourselves with moneybags that do not grow old, with a treasure in the heavens that does not fail, where no thief approaches and no moth destroys. For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.
The Truth is that when we pursue possessions at the expense of other things, we are not trusting in God.
Psalm 20: 7 Some trust in chariots and some in horses,
but we trust in the name of the Lord our God.
The truth is that we can Trust God and He will give us the strength to rise above this.
Philippians 4:13 I can do all things through Him who strengthens me.
The Truth is that when we seek help we can – not only overcome our sin but – overcome the hardship we allowed to lead us into the sin.
Ecclesiastes 4:9-12 Two are better than one because they have a good return for their labor. For if either of them falls, the one will lift up his companion. But woe to the one who falls when there is not another to lift him up. 11 Furthermore, if two lie down together they keep warm, but how can one be warm alone? And if one can overpower him who is alone, two can resist him. A cord of three strands is not quickly torn apart.
The Truth is that we can pray
There is Power in Prayer – even when we don’t see the result we want right away we know God is at work behind the scenes in the lives of those we love who are struggling.
James 5:16 Therefore, confess your sins to one another, and pray for one another so that you may be healed. The effective prayer of a righteous man can accomplish much.
A Powerful Effective Prayer to Pray over Gambling in a Christian Marriage.
Replace the bold/italics with your husband/wife’s name to personalize the prayer.
God, I lift my husband up to you today and our struggle with Gambling. Please make his heart free from the love of money, Your word says he will never be satisfied pursuing that. Teach him to be on guard against greed because his heart will follow it and leave us if left unchecked.
Please help him to trust in You, to know that You will be with him and help him and that You care about him more than the sparrows. You promised to supply all our needs. Help him to turn to you for help with our situation rather than run away from it.
Make my husband a hard working person – truly doing everything as if for You alone. Please help him to learn that the one who doesn’t work will not eat or be able to provide for his family and that that goes against Your Will so much that you compared them to an unbeliever. Help him learn it and let the lesson stick so we don’t have to continue to repeat the hardship that comes with the lesson. Teach him to be faithful in the little so he can be entrusted with true riches.
Take away from him a heart prone to covet that falls into temptation. Please show him how to pursue entertainment in a healthy way rather than an addicting way that destroys our family. Help his thoughts to stay on truth, honor and what is right rather than run in fear from our problems.
Teach him to lead a blameless life – one fitting a son of the King of kings.
Make him a man who glorifies You – being content in the circumstances you have allowed in our lives. Replace his self-centered heart of stone with a new heart that desires the things that show love and puts others first -the way you did Jesus.
Father, You know my heart fears the example being set for our children. Please change this pattern and help our children see the struggle – still respecting their father – but avoid this lifestyle. Help my husband to see with eyes of wisdom. Show him what he is truly teaching his children about life and faith. Show him how to rise above this fear and stronghold to live with the Fear of God, leading our family well.
Open his eyes to the truth. Change what he treasures. Teach him to Trust You alone. Give him the strength to rise above. Transform his heart, to be honest, and allow others to help him. Give me the strength to keep praying and trusting You regardless of what I see changing or not changing.
In all these things help me continue to keep my eyes fixed on you, surrendering this life to You.
Are there areas that you need help covering in Prayer? We are in a series of Praying Powerful Effective Prayer. So far we’ve seen:
- How to Create a Prayer Strategy that will change Every Thing
- How to Pray Powerful Effective Prayers over My Own Life
- and How to Effectively Pray Proverbs 30 and Change Your Life
I’d love to help you find verses to create a Powerful Prayer Strategy over your life. Just drop a comment below with the area and I’ll add it to the series.