September 15, 2021
The football season is back, and this time with fans. My fantasy team is 1-0, only because my opponent this past week was only slightly worse than me. But, football (and all professional sports) are major sources of revenue for online gambling and it shows. The amount of advertising is massive. A quick google search of “online sports betting,” provides links to companies offering $1,000 risk-free bets with one offer being a $5,000 risk-free offer. (Obviously, “risk-free” is a relative term.) The amount of money being wagered is staggering. New laws permit more gaming apps and the dollars being wagered are higher than what was projected.
Companies like Draft Kings, Fan Duel, and others have poured millions of dollars into studying human behavior. They pretty much know what a person is going to do before the person does. They know the dollar amount that triggers your brain to override your common sense. That is why they can offer “risk-free” bets because they know how enticing, addicting, and then controlling it is. “I’ll just try it once.” “I can handle this.” “I’m going to quit as soon as I recover my losses.” “I can stop anytime I want.”
We have an enemy who disguises himself as an angel of light. He appears to be our friend offering us things that excite and things that promise. In reality, he is like a roaring lion who has studied his prey for centuries. He knows our weaknesses and how to exploit them. The data that our enemy has on us is difficult to imagine and, in the moment of temptation, it is hard to remember that. The lies of the enemy are easy to believe because he knows what tends to trigger your brain to override your common sense.
Thankfully, we are not left alone to deal with the enemy. The counsel of James is so good. “Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you.” (James 4:7-8a) By myself, I am no match for the wiles of the devil. Thank God he has not left me or you by ourselves. He is prepared to draw near to you and sustain you.
What is your weakness? If you were the devil, how would you tempt you? What does submitting yourself to God look like in view of your vulnerabilities? Did you realize that the trap of the enemy can be turned into a tool for your growth? If the occasion of your tempting turns into a consistent time of drawing near to God, you will flip the table on the devil. Don’t believe his lies, not a single one.
Grace and peace,
Sunday’s text: 3 John 9-10