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Various Christian Life Questions

2002

In the following e-mail exchanges, the e-mailers' comments are in black and enclosed in "greater than" and "lesser than" signs. My comments are in red.


Is Gambling a Sin?

>Subject: Gambling

Gary,

Since my last letter, I've moved from Hawaii to Virginia. I have been working to get everything settled.<

That's quite a change. I hope you get settled in soon.

>I am wondering, is gambling a sin? I have played some and have not felt good about it. Since I got here to Virginia, I've stopped. I found out that I was losing money from itů.

Joshua
7/24/02<

This is a hard one as the Bible doesn't specifically mention gambling. But I think where one potential problem comes in is regards to why one gambles. If a person is looking to "get rich quick" so they don't have to work any more, than I'd say that could be a problem. The Bible teaches, " if anyone is not willing to be working neither let him be eating" (2Thes 3:10; ALT).

Then there's issue of trust. Gambler are trusting in "lady luck" not God to provide for their needs. The Bible may not condemn gambling, but it also certainly does not mention it as being God's way of providing for people. Again, work, not gambling is the Biblical way God provides.

Then, as you indicate, there's the very real problem of losing money. It just doesn't seem good "stewardship" of the resources God does provide for us to risk throwing it away gambling. Now many would say it's just a form of entertainment, and we spend money of other forms of entertainment. But with gambling, if you're not careful, you can end up "spending" a lot more than you initially planned. And that leads to the next point.

There's the very real possibility of becoming addicted to it. Paul said, "All [things] are lawful to me, but all [things] are not advantageous [or, beneficial]. All [things] are lawful to me, but I will not be controlled by anything." (1Cor 6:12; ALT). Lots of people end up under the "power" of gambling. It has ruined many lives. So it would be hard to say it is a "helpful" activity.

But still, Paul did say "all things are lawful." And in the absence of any specific commandment against it, I cannot say without a doubt it is wrong. But given the potential pitfalls and dangers, I personally never gamble.

God bless,
Gary Z.

Masturbation and Homosexuality

>Gary:

I am a five month old Christian of 54 years of age. I have been gay all my life but consider myself reformed. I have wrestled with masturbation a lot these past five months. I do not think of anything but the sexual release. No porn is evolved. It is something I pray about a lot. I have had 6 experiences where I just went with it, about once a month. I don't feel guilt until I get into all the taboos. Can it be that a single man just needs to relieve sexual tension every so often?

Is my relationship with Jesus in trouble? Am I just giving into sins of the flesh. My penis just seems to have a mind of it's own.

Ed
2/21/02<

Personally, I do not think there is a problem with masturbation in the manner in which you describe. As you say, it is just a sexual release. If it becomes an obsession or if porn were involved then it could be a problem.

But what does concern me is you classifying yourself as "gay." If by this you mean you have that orientation but are not sexually active, then IMO it is not a problem. But if you are active sexually or are looking to be, then it is a problem.

I know this is a difficult area for many. But there are many resources on the 'Net for Christian homosexuals to help them deal with their "urges." You might want to check them out. I do have links to a few of these on the Ethics section of my Links pages.

Struggling with Sexual Lust

>I have a problem with sexual lust and can't seem to control it even though I pray for help from God. I repent and ask forgiveness every time but it's just a matter of time before temptation hits me again. Do you think a problem like this could cause me to lose my salvation. I got saved about 7 years ago and love the Lord but this has been a issue for most of my life and I can't seem to beat this problem. Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

02/02/02<

I have struggled with the very same issue most of my life. So I know exactly what you are going through.

First, let me say that since I believe in eternal security I don't believe you will lose your salvation for having lust. In fact, that you are struggling over this issue shows that the Holy Sprit is working in you. If you weren't saved you probably wouldn't feel any guilt over it.

I wish I could give you some good advice on how to overcome this problem, but, as I said, I have the same struggles myself and have never found a good "answer" to it. But I will say that my sex drive has lessened in recent years, so it's not as tortuous as it used to be. I'm not sure if that's just because I've gotten older (I'm 40 now) or if God finally answered my prayers to some degree.

It's a particular struggle for me given that I'm still single at my age, and given the way my life has been going, I doubt very much that is going to change any time soon. You don't indicate your age, but I assume you're younger than me. So getting married is probably still a very real possibility for you.

I do believe it is appropriate to ask God to provide you with a wife as a means to ease the sexual frustrations. Of course, sex is not the only reason one should get married, but it is one reason. Paul did write, "but if they cannot exercise self-control, let them marry. For it is better to marry than to burn with passion" (1Cor 7:9).

Of course, if you do meet "Miss Right," that could present some of its own problems before you get married as you may find it hard to wait. But it is very important to do so as pre-marital sex can very easily ruin an otherwise very good relationship.

In the meantime, the best advice I can give you is to try to avoid as much as possible anything that would "stimulate" you sexually. This would obviously include any form of porn, but it would also include TV shows or movies with sexual themes, nudity, etc, magazines with scantily clad women (such as various men's magazines or even most muscle mags), along with avoiding places where women tend to dress rather scantily, most notably pools and beaches.

Hang in there. I can assure you that you are not the only Christian guy who struggles with this issue. Probably most single Christians and even many married men struggle with lust. So you are not alone in your struggles.

Football Fellowship?

>Dear Sirs,

I have been perplexed concerning the crowds of Christians that demonstrate great zeal toward the game of Football, yet seem to have forgotten the biblical directive of Christ centered fellowship and ministry.

I'm a man, yet I'm made to feel as if I were an alien from another planet because I'm not a sports fan. Before I became a believer in Christ, I had many friends that enjoyed gambling in Nevada. I got so tired of going to Nevada with them because I would end up spending more time alone and bored due to the fact that I hated gambling. It was plain boring to me. It got to the point that every time they'd even mention going to Nevada, I would get up and walk off saying, "Have fun guys!" Now, I find myself in a similar situation with all of my newfound brothers and sisters. There's nothing that can be done for me; I can't change. I can't stand Football. I can't understand the appeal, especially with Christians.

Is being a Football fan some kind of unspoken directive that the Holy Spirit is leading all of you to? I just don't get it. Should I go to another country if I want real Christian fellowship? I am also hoping and praying for a godly Christian wife, but I see that there are just as many women as men that are Football fans. I am thoroughly discouraged. Have you all chosen Football, or any other sports as the reason for fellowship? I love my Savior and I refuse to abandon the faith, but I need fellowship, not sports.

Please pray for me after the game.

Discouraged
PM
In Sacramento
2/2/02

Sorry for the delay in responding, but I was busying watching the Super Bowl! (Sorry, I couldn't resist. >smile<).

But seriously, it should be noted that there are many Christians in the USA that are not football fans, and, of course, there are many, many football fans who are not Christians. So in no way is the Holy Spirit leading people to be football fans.

However, personally I don't think there is any "wrong" with football either. IMO, it is a "neutral" issue, neither distinctively Christian but not "anti-Christian" either. So a Christian would be free to engage or not engage in it.

Personally, I do enjoy football, but I'm not "fanatical" about it. I watch the Pittsburgh Steelers when they play, and as I said, I did watch the Super Bowl. But that's about it.

However, I do believe that it can be problem for the person who is fanatical. And by that I mean the person who spends all weekend and Monday nights watching football, who spends inordinate amounts of time reading about football, watching football related shows, etc. But most of all, as regards your main comments, there is a big problem if the only relationships a person has surrounds football.

I usually watch the Steelers' games with my dad. And I watched the Super Bowl with my brother and sister-in-law. But football is not the only relationship we have. It is just one thing we enjoy doing together. But if that was the only thing we had in common, then there would be a problem.

As for Christians in general, if the only time a group of Christians get together is to watch football, then yes, that's a problem. But if it is just one activity among many, then I don't see it as a problem.

As for your situation, if the only time people in your church get together is to watch football, then I would suggest you find a new church. But if there are Bible studies and other activities that are not football related, then I don't see that there's a problem. Just don't go to the football related activities but do be sure to go to other activities. I am sure you will develop many relationships in this fashion. Just because you can't "share" football with them shouldn't affect your relationship significantly, again assuming they are not "fanatical" about it.

As for a wife, again, if she just wants to watch football on Sundays afternoon for a few hours, I don't see what the problem is. Just let her do so and plan on doing something else during that time. Just be sure she isn't fanatical about football to the point where there would be way too many hours you wouldn't be able to share together.

I hope that helps.

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