Last Friday was Friday the 13th. This is a day that fills many with anxiety and dread because they think Friday the 13th is “unlucky.”
Do you believe in luck?
Returning to my car one day after work with a colleague, I commented that I hoped I had remembered to turn off the headlights that rainy morning. He replied, “Let’s cross our fingers and maybe we’ll be lucky.” I couldn’t help answering, “How will crossing my fingers help?”
This man had a Ph.D. in mathematics! Did he really think this action would affect the state of my headlights several blocks away that had been determined 9 hours previously?
What does it mean to ascribe an unpleasant occurrence to “bad luck” or a happy occurrence to “good luck”? Isn’t the whole concept of luck a denial of the sovereign rule of the Almighty over all of life?
Our culture is heavily superstitious. Most Americans have a worldview saturated with concepts of good luck, bad luck, lucky charms, omens, and jinxes.
Exactly what is luck? Webster’s dictionary defines luck as “a force that brings good fortune or adversity.”
Has this “force” ever been physically detected or empirically measured? Does “luck” mesh with a Biblical worldview?
In Scripture, there are some fourscore references to the use of lots for decisions. The Israelites understood that the decision of the lot was from the Lord.
The lot is cast into the lap, but its every decision is from the LORD. (Prov 16:33)
The clear message is that the results of throwing dice, drawing straws, playing cards, or any of numerous other games of “chance” are controlled by God.
“Luck” is bogus. There is no such thing as “luck.” There is no impersonal force that brings good or ill. God alone directs all circumstances and events, for good or ill. (Psalm 103:19; 115:3; Ephesians 1:11)
What Does the Bible Say?
“Luck” is not only bogus, it is an insult to God Himself. For “luck” is at root a denial of the sovereignty of God over the details of daily life. “Luck” is a reluctance to trust the Lord entirely, and a refusal to give Him glory and honor and thanks in everything. “Luck” is an unbiblical thought paradigm; Scripture instructs us to oppose and destroy such diabolical patterns of thinking. (2 Corinthians 10:5)
The Bible attributes to God both adversity (commonly called “bad luck”) and blessing (commonly called “good luck”).
- Job, whose suffering was excruciating, recognized that blessing and trouble both come from God. He told his wife, “Shall we indeed accept good from God and not accept adversity?” (Job 2:10)
- God told Moses, “Who has made man’s mouth? Or who makes him dumb or deaf, or seeing or blind? Is it not I, the LORD?” (Exodus 4:11)
- Speaking for the Lord, the prophet Amos said, “If a calamity occurs in a city, has not the LORD done it?” (Amos 3:6)
- Jesus said that the reason a man was born blind was “in order that the works of God might be displayed in him.” (John 9:3)
- Every good gift and blessing comes from God. (James 1:17)
- Paul says we are to know “what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints, and what is the surpassing greatness of His power toward us.” (Ephesians 1:18,19) We serve a God who is able to do exceeding abundantly beyond all that we ask or think. (Ephesians 3:20)
- Christ is seated at the right hand of the Father, far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, with all things in subjection under Him. (Ephesians 1:20-22)
Doesn’t the clear teaching of Scripture on God’s sovereign control trump the concept of “luck”?
Trusting in a blind impersonal force called “luck” is NOT the message of Scripture. Crediting events to “luck” is NOT the message of Scripture. The consistent Biblical message is one of trusting the Only Sovereign God, calling on Him for succor, and thanking Him for blessings. (Psalm 31:14-16) This is the proper operational worldview of a Bible-believing Christian.
The concept of “luck” is so prominent in today’s unbiblical worldviews that it is difficult to weed out its influence. It often infiltrates the outlook even of those who otherwise have a mostly Biblical worldview. The concept and terminology are so much a part of our culture, language, and prevailing thought paradigms that it is a challenge to avoid those patterns in thinking and speech.
The next time you are tempted to say “Good Luck” to someone, let your worldview rule your tongue. Instead say something like
– I wish you success.
– I hope you do well.
– May the Lord bless you.
– I’ll pray for you.
– Give it all you’ve got.
– You’ll do great.
– Trust God, do your best, and leave the results with Him.
Isn’t a specific word of personal encouragement much more meaningful than a superficial “Good Luck” wish, however well-intentioned?
Most people are not consciously superstitious when they say “Good Luck.” They are simply seeking to be kind, pleasant, or courteous. However, might not these be some of the idle words for which we will have to give account some day? (Matthew 12:36) Should we not instead deliberately honor God with whatever comes from our mouth? “Let us continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of lips that give thanks to His name.” (Hebrews 13:15)
The next time you hear “lucky”, you might suggest that “LUCKY” is an ancient acronym for the “Lord Undertakes to Care for and Keep You.” This may give you an opportunity to deconstruct an unbiblical thought paradigm and help spur someone to deeper trust in God.
Will you seize the challenge to remove “luck” from your vocabulary? In its place, thank God for a blessing or choose to thank Him for a trial which He has sent to strengthen your faith, develop your character, and display His sufficiency. The Apostle Paul directs us to thank God for everything because it is God’s will for us. (1 Thessalonians 5:18) Trust and gratitude rather than “luck” should be the operational worldview of the Biblical Christian.
Followers of Christ should not ascribe events to luck. It’s an insult to the Almighty who works all things according to the counsel of His will (Ephesians 1:11). Christians should demonstrate attitudes of gratitude (1 Thessalonians 5:18) and faith (Proverbs 3:5-6) and should eschew superstition.
No Luck At All? No, none at all, praise God!
Soli Deo Gloria.
Read the prequel:
Friday the 13th
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©William T. Pelletier, Ph.D.
“contending earnestly for the faith”
“destroying speculations against the knowledge of God”
(Jude 1:3; 2 Cor 10:4)
Wednesday April 18, 2012 A.D.
Read my April 2012 newspaper column:
Operation Geronimo and the Resurrection
But as for me, I trust in Thee, O LORD, I say, “Thou art my God.” My times are in Thy hand. Deliver me from the hand of my enemies, and from those who persecute me. Make Thy face to shine upon Thy servant. Save me in Thy lovingkindness.