Saturday, January 12, 2019

What Do You Mean By "Luck"?

I often hear people -- even Christians -- say to me, "Good luck with that!" Or else they simply say, "Good luck!" What do they mean by wishing me luck? Luck is for bunnies! I don't need it. It's a worldly myth or superstitious belief that the chances of good fortune or misfortune are increased by certain objects, words, actions, and events apart from God. People who don't know God attach superstitious significance to certain things like four-leaf clovers, rabbits' feet, horse shoes, and crossing their fingers. They wish each other good luck, and even ask others to wish them good luck. However, as the children of God, we rely on the grace, favor and blessing of Yehova, the one, true, and living God, who is sovereign over all the events that take place in the universe. For more on this, please see my article God's Sovereign Plans and Purposes.

We acknowledge His over-ruling power and providence, the effects of which may seem to our mortal minds to be casual, and we might call them "chance" or "coincidence," but actually they are according to God's predetermined counsel and foreknowledge. All your days were written in His book before one of them came to pass (Ps 139:16), and He ordained all your days before you were even born. Before a word is on your tongue, He knows it fully. See my article Fearfully and Wonderfully Made.

Men's best efforts are broken, and their hopes are shattered by his sovereign providence. He teaches them that man's course is not merely up to them to decide, but it is subject to His divine will. As the proverb says, "In a man's heart he plans his course, but the Lord determines his steps." (Pr 16:9). And another proverb says, "A man's steps are directed by the Lord. How then can anyone understand his own way?" (Pr 20:24). Jesus taught us, "Apart from Me you can do nothing." (Joh 15:5b). We must employ our efforts and use the means He has placed at our disposal in life, but we must not trust in them; if we succeed, we must give all the praise to God alone (Ps 44:3; Zech 4:6). As the psalmist said, "Not to us, Lord, not to us but to your name be the glory, because of your love and faithfulness." (Ps 115:1). All things are from Him, and through Him, and to Him. To Him be the glory forever and ever. Amen. (Ro 11:36).

It was not because of luck that the angel Gabriel appeared to Mary (Lk 1:28), or that she conceived Jesus the son of God in her womb while she remained a virgin (Lk 1:35; Mt 1:18,25), or that the star of Bethlehem guided the Magi from the east to the newborn King of the Jews (Mt 2:1-11), or that they were warned in a dream not to return to the evil king Herod (Mt 2:12), or that Herod was unable to kill the baby Jesus when Joseph escaped to Egypt with the child and his mother (Mt 2:13-14). It was not on account of luck that Simeon just happened to be there at the temple to see the baby Jesus when His parents presented Him to the Lord (Lk 2;22-35), or that Jesus' parents found Him in the temple at age twelve after he went missing during their return from Jerusalem (Lk 2:41-50), or that the Spirit of God descended upon Him in the form of a dove when He was baptized in the river Jordan (Lk 3:21-22), or that the Father's voice spoke from heaven to Him saying, “You are my Son, whom I love; with you I am well pleased” (Lk 3:22).

It was not on account of luck that the ten lepers were healed (Lk 17:11-19), or that the man born blind received his sight (Joh 9:6-7), or that Peter's mother-in-law was instantly healed of her fever (Matthew 8:14–15, Mark 1:29–31, Luke 4:38–41), or that the deaf mute in Decapolis could suddenly hear and speak (Mark 7:31-37), or that the paralytic man was healed at the pool of Bethesda (Joh 5:8-9), or that the blind beggar Bartimaeus could see (Mark 10:46-52), or that the centurion's servant was healed (Mt 8:5-13; Lk 7:1-10), or that the woman who had been bent over for eighteen years was suddenly cured (Lk 13:10-17), or that the man's withered hand was restored (Mt 12:9-13), or that the hemorrhaging woman suddenly stopped bleeding when she touched the edge of Jesus' garment (Mt 9:20), or that the Gerasene demoniac was delivered from a legion of demons and restored to his right mind (Mark 5:1-20).

It was not because of good luck that Noah and his family survived the flood that destroyed everyone else on earth (Gen 8:15-18), or that Lot escaped from Sodom and Gomorrah right before it was destroyed by burning sulfur (Gen 19:23-24), or that Rahab the prostitute was spared, with her family and all who belonged to her (Josh 6:25), or that David was anointed king by Samuel (1 Sam 16:12-13), or that he defeated Goliath the giant (1 Sam 17:41-52), or that Daniel was able to tell the king his dream and its interpretation (Dan 2:26-47), or that he was promoted as ruler over the whole province of Babylon and chief prefect over all the wise men (Dan 2:48), or that he shut the mouths of the lions (Dan 6:21-22), or that the three Hebrew young men quenched the flames of the furnace (Dan 3:26-27), or that Lazarus was raised from the dead (Joh 11:1–44), or that the widow's only son sat up in his coffin and began to speak (Lk 7:11-17), or that the daughter of Jairus was raised from the dead (Mk 5:35-43), or that the water was turned to wine at the wedding (Joh 2:1-11), or that Peter found a coin in the fish's mouth to pay for his and Jesus' taxes (Mt 17:24-27), or that the Israelites crossed the Red Sea as on dry land (Ex 14), or that the lame man at the Gate Beautiful could suddenly walk (Ac 3:1-25). It was not because of luck that an angel appeared to Cornelius and told him to send for Peter in the home of Simon the tanner at Joppa (Ac 10:1-6), or that Peter just happened to receive a vision and hear the Lord's voice telling him to go downstairs and meet the three men sent from Cornelius just as they were knocking at the gate (Ac 10:9-20).

It was not because of bad luck that the homosexuals wanting to rape the angels that came to rescue Lot were struck with blindness (Gen 19:1-11), or that Lot's wife became a pillar of salt (Gen 19:26), or that Esau lost his birthright (Gen 25:29-34), or that pharaoh and the Egyptian army drowned in the Red Sea (Ex 14), or that Joseph was thrown into an empty cistern by his brothers (Gen 37:23-24), or that he was sold by them into Egypt (Gen 37:12-36), or that he was unjustly thrown into prison (Gen 39:20), or that Jeremiah the prophet was lowered into a muddy cistern (Jer 38), or that the three Hebrew youth were thrown into the blazing furnace (Dan 3:19-23), or that Daniel was thrown into the lions' den (Dan 6:16), or that John the Baptist was imprisoned and beheaded (Mk 6:14-19), or that James was put to the sword (Ac 12:1-2), or that Stephen was stoned to death (Ac 7:54-60), or that Ananias and Saphira dropped dead in front of the apostle Peter (Ac 5:1-10), or that fire devoured the 250 men who rebelled against Moses (Nu 16), or that the ground opened up and swallowed Korah, Dathan, and Abiram alive (Num 16), or that Elymas the sorcerer was suddenly struck blind (Ac 13:1-12), or that Paul and Silas were thrown into prison (Ac 16), or that Peter was imprisoned (Ac 12:3-11), or that King Herod was struck down by an angel of the Lord, eaten by worms, and died while giving an important public address (Ac 12:21-23), or that the ship Paul was sailing on was wrecked on the island Malta (Ac 27:41), or that John was banished to the Isle of Patmos (Rev 1:9). It was not because of bad luck that one of Jesus' twelve disciples was a devil who betrayed Him, or that Jesus was arrested, flogged, beaten, and crucified on the cross (Joh 18-19).

It was not due to good luck that Jesus rose from the dead after three days (Mt 28; Mk 16; Lk 24; Joh 20), or that Paul and all the others sailing with him survived the shipwreck (Ac 27:44), or that the Philippian jail was shaken by an earthquake and the doors swung open while Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God at midnight (Ac 16:25-28), or that Peter's shackles fell off and the prison doors opened for him while the guards all remained asleep (Ac 12:3-11). It was not on account of luck that people were suddenly healed as Peter's shadow fell on them when he walked by (Ac 5:15), or that people were healed when they touched an apron or handkerchief that had touched Paul's body (Ac 19:12).

You won't find luck in the Bible. It's not in the Law or the Prophets, nor is it in the Psalms or Proverbs. It's not in the Gospels, Acts, Epistles, or the Apocalypse. Neither Jesus nor His apostles ever wished anyone good luck or taught that we need it at all. Nobody will ever enter the kingdom of heaven by their good luck (Joh 3:3; Eph 2:8; Rev 7:9-17; 21:26), nor will anyone ever be thrown into hell because of bad luck (Mt 10:28; Lk 12:5; Ro 6:23; Heb 12:14; Rev 20:11-15).

From a Christian perspective according to Scripture, there is no such thing as luck, since God is in control of everything. If something good happens, it is God's gift and blessing, according to His grace. For every good and perfect gift comes from above, flowing down from the Father of the lights, who changes not like shifting shadows (Jas 1:17). There is a time for everything. In fact, there is a proper time and procedure for every matter (Ecc 8:6). God answers believing prayer, and no matter what happens, He is in control, not Satan. Jesus Christ disarmed the devil and his minions at the cross, triumphed over them, and made a spectacle of them (Col. 2:15). He has given us authority over them. If we put on the full armor of God, use our faith in God, call upon the name of Jesus, stand upon His promises, and proclaim the truth, then we can overcome the enemy in the battle against darkness every time. This is the victory that overcomes the world, even our faith (1 Joh 5:4).

Even if Christians mean well when they say, "Good luck," they are using a worldly cliché that has no Scriptural basis and is not based on truth. The Bible says we should not conform to the world (Rom 12:2), and Jesus said that we would have to give an account on judgment day for every idle word we speak (Mt 12:36). So let's get the word "luck" out of our vocabulary, and replace it with truth. If you want to wish someone well, then why not say, "God bless you!", or "The Lord be with you!", or "I'll be praying for you that it goes well." Better yet, since Jesus promised that our Father in heaven would do for us whatever two of us on earth agree to ask for in prayer (Mt 18:19), then why not stop and pray for the person right at that moment before you part? For we trust in the name of the Lord our God!

Grace, mercy and peace abundantly to you all who are in Christ..

Attribution notice: Most Scripture quotations taken from the NASB, unless otherwise noted. Other Scriptures taken from The Holy Bible, New International Version® NIV®, where noted. Images may be subject to copyright, and are used here for commentary and educational purposes only, according to the Fair Use Act.

Author's note: If you enjoyed this post, please also read Grace, Mercy, and PeaceFearfully and Wonderfully Made, God's Sovereign Plans and Purposes, The Authority of the BelieverA Time for Everything, The Sudden Nature of God's Kingdom, God's Amazing Plan for Your Life, The Lord Will Rescue You, Speak to the Storm, God's Supernatural Provision Using People, Is the the Self-Help and Actualization Movement a Sham?From Self-confidence to Confidence in the Lord, The Kingdom of God as Revealed to James Agboola, Overcoming the World, Personal Proclamations of Faith, The Forgotten Sin of Worldliness, Remember Lot's Wife, and Angelic Escape from Terrorist Assassins, You may access the Main Directory for The Kingdom of God is Like This, and you may also my complete blog directory at "Writing for the Master."

Do You Want to Know Him?
If you want to know Jesus personally, you can. It all begins when you repent and believe in Jesus.  Do you know what God's Word, the Bible says?

“Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the gospel of God, and saying, ‘The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel.’” (Mar 1:14b-15).  He preached that we must repent and believe.

Please see my explanation of this in my post called "Do You Want to Know Jesus?"

Len Lacroix is the founder of Doulos Missions International.  He was based in Eastern Europe for four years, making disciples, as well as helping leaders to be more effective at making disciples who multiply, developing leaders who multiply, with the ultimate goal of planting churches that multiply. His ministry is now based in the United States with the same goal of helping fulfill the Great Commission.

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