Before reading this topic of gaining a better understanding of life, the reader (i.e. you) must understand and believe that there are certain truths that are facts of reality whether we choose to believe them or not. A truth is the truth and a lie a lie regardless of our opinion. A truth is a matter of fact. For example, although a person with a positive attitude and outlook is significantly more likely to be more pleasant to be with than a person with a negative disposition; however, neither temperaments change a truth. One can with all their heart hope, pray, believe in something, but that will not make a lie or impossibility, true or possible.
Many have heard ‘all things are possible to those who believe;’ and many Christians apply this in error. But i will address this later.
The topic and definitions:
The Topic for this month asks for the reading to choose between two alternatives. It does not ask if life is LIKE a game of chance; but ‘is it a game of chance;’ then it places a condition with the word ‘OR,’ thus, telling the reader only one of the two choices are truth.
Life: In this sentence and topic it is defined as the period of time between birth and death.
Game: a competitive activity, scheme or sport designed by a creator(s).
Game of Chance: There are many types of games of chance, such as poker, roulette or a lottery. And there are many types of poker and lotteries. But all of these games involve probabilities that statistically favor the maker of the game, and typically have many losers and few winners.
A Test: A procedure intended to establish or weigh the performance or reliability of something. It is used to ‘examine (exam)’ or measure the quality of that or those which are tested.
Is life a game of chance?
If one does not believe in a Supreme Creator – God, then although life is often like a game of chance; they will typically neither believe that life is created and the world system designed with purposes; nor open themselves to understand the other option – that it is a test.
Life can most certainly feel like a game of chance. For example, in poker – players often bluff or lie and often get lucky, while others – even when they use better strategy and side with better probabilities and statistics – still lose and watch in discuss as some perhaps ignorant arrogant foolish character gains what they likely don’t deserve. Additionally, life is like a game of chance in that it is designed by a Creator; but not like such in that the result of ‘winners’ and ‘losers’ is based on purposeful fixed probabilities of winners and losers.
Thus, did the “Maker of heaven and earth (Psalm 146:6),” and of “all things created, that are in heaven and that are in and on earth (Col. 1:16),” design the system of life as a game of chance in which there is both an element of chance uncontrollable by humans; AND in which there are purposefully a statistically measured percentage of winners and losers?
First, for the sake of this paragraph, let us define winners as those that gain eternal salvation or everlasting life (Dan. 12:2); and losers as those that following death and judge (Heb. 9:27) will suffer ‘everlasting shame’ or the ‘resurrection of damnation (John 5:29).’
Now, although the Lord God knows that “many will go the way that leads to destruction (Matt. 7:13-14),” the “Lord desires that none should perish but that all should come to repentance and everlasting life (2 Peter 3:9).” Thus, the Creator of life, who breathed into us “the breath of life (Gen. 2:7),” did not purposefully design this system of life and existence to result in losers.
So why does life feel like a game of chance often. Most often because there is an element of uncontrollable randomness in that we are born to different parents, in different places and cultures and to different ‘races’ and with different economic and physical makeups and means; and in that we are subjected to accidents, killings and diseases that cause death at different ages. Nevertheless, there is no suffering and ‘no temptation that has overtaken you, except what is also common to mankind…. And God has also provided a way out so that you can endure it (1 Cor. 10:13).”
Yet, moreover, life feels life a game of chance because we make chooses and mistakes. And because we experience losses of things and people we love who and which are no longer a part of our lives. And all this while we see others find happiness in what we perceive or know as better circumstances – in jobs, in relationships, in beauty, in talents, in abilities, in their possessions and assets, in their spouse or children, in their emotions – in their life.
i often come to the point of remembering the Counselor (Isa. 11:2; 9:6) – the Spirit of the Lord – telling me, “it only hurts because you love that thing that you lost.” It is natural both to grieve the loss of a loved one and that thing or person which we covet or yearn to possess. In one case, the hurting and sorrow is righteous or appropriate; but in the other case it is vanity or a sin – a desire for what is vain, wrong or not ours or to be ours. Therefore, in the latter, the pain we feel and accept is because we choose to continue to carry both our desire(s) and the burden(s) that goes with it or them.
Also, without getting deep into the topic of favor (Num. 6:25) or prayer (Eph. 6:18; Psalm 107:28-30); there is this spiritual aspect of life in which some are luckier than others in that they receive more favor or their prayers are heard and more often answered (John 9:31).
ANWSER: Although we can do things that create better odds of success; and though we are subjected to both randomness and favor (fate or luck), LIFE is NOT a game of chance.
LIFE IS A TEST
Ok – so to say life is one or the other options may be too presumptuous; nevertheless, whatever else life is – LIFE is also a TEST! Let ‘two or three witnesses (2Cor. 13:1; Matt. 18:16; Deut. 17:6)’ establish this:
“I the LORD search the heart (soul, being) and examine the mind (spirit and soul), to reward each person according to their works, according to what their deeds deserve (Jeremiah 17:10; see Ezek. 18).”
“…God is testing you to find out if you love the Lord… (Deut. 13:1-3).” “You shall love the Lord your God with all of your heart (soul), with all your mind (spirit) and with all your strength (body) (Deut. 6:5; Matt. 22:37-; Mark 12:30; Luke 10:27).”
“God will repay each one of us according to our deeds… (Rom. 2:6);” “each of us will give an account of ourselves to God (Rom. 14:12).”
“The Lord tests the righteous, but His soul hates whose who love wickedness and violence (Psa. 11:5).”
“God tested Abraham (Gen. 22:1).” “God you have tested us… (Psa. 66:10).”
“When He has tried me, I shall come out as gold… (Job 23:10).” “Fire will prove the quality of each person’s work (1 Cor. 3:12).” “He is like a refiners fire (Mal. 3:2).” “They (willful sinners 0 as in Heb. 10:26) have become like stubble; the fire will burn them up. They cannot save themselves from the power of the flame (Isa. 47:14; Rev. 20:11-14):
“Rejoice… if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials, so that the tested genuineness of your faith may be found… at the coming of Jesus Christ… Beloved friends, do not be surprised at the fiery trials that come upon you to test you… but rejoice as you share Christ’s sufferings… but let none of you suffer as a murderer or a thief or an evildoer… Yet if anyone suffers as a Christian, let them not be ashamed, but glorify God (1 Peter 1:6; 4:12-).”
“Count it all joy when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness… blessed are those who remain steadfast under trial… (James 1:2, 12).”
“You will be tested… be faithful unto death… they that endure to the end save be saved… (Rev.2:10; Matt. 24:13).”
ANSWER: Life is a Test; or series of tests, “but God is faithful; He will not test you or let you be tempted (by ‘the evil one; Matt. 6:13’ – the devil and demons – 1 Tim. 4:1; 1 John 4:1) beyond that which you are able to bear… (through Christ and the Helper – His Spirit) (1 Cor. 10:13; John 14:26).”
Which ‘all things’ are possible?’ How can i survive/live this life?
Now, back to ‘all things are possible to those who believe;’ and how many Christians apply this in error. First, the verses say, “If you believe, all things are possible… (Mark 9:23); “ and “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible (Matt. 19:26).” Both of these truths are conditional. First, it is conditioned on the faith and belief that through God the thing can be done. But even here one said, ‘I do believe, help me overcome my unbelief (Mark 9:24);’ thus, calling to the source of hope and faith and the only one who can solve the need – Almighty God. Second, it is conditioned on the principles of God’s way, “you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives… (James 4:3).” Do your motives and faith line up with the will of God?
Oh – yeah, and three other most important variables: Jesus Christ, ‘all things,’ and the Holy Spirit: “I can do all things through Him who strengthens me (NIV; ESV);” better translated “I can do all (these) things (this – NIV) through Christ who gives me strength.” (NKJV; NLT; NIV)- Philippians 4:13. It must (obligation as in ‘must’ – John 4:24) be through Christ Jesus the Son of God; and what things and how? “I (can and) know how to live humbly and I know how to abound… to be hungry, to have plenty and have need (Phil. 4:12)” through Christ. As in Matt. 6:30-33; you have heard, ‘Seek first the Kingdom of God, and His righteousness; and all these things shall be added to you;’ but these also seeks of through God, Jesus, His spirit of Righteousness, and things referring to daily needs – ‘eating, shelter, faith’ – not excessive, vain possessions and selfish ambition (Phil 2:3-4; James 3:13-17).
As in “who will separate us from the love of Christ? Will tribulation or distress (depression) or persecution, or famine, or having nothing, or peril, or any weapon of man? As it is written (by the Psalmist – Psa. 44:22), ‘for Your sake we are killed all the day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter.’ No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loves us. For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life… shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord (Romans 8:35-39).” And how? Only through the Spirit of God, “the Holy Spirit, the Comforter, whom the Father sends in My name, He shall teach you all things… (John 14:26; 15:26);” from “the Spirit of Lord” comes “the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and strength, the spirit of knowledge and the fear of the Lord (Isaiah 11:2; note: Rev. 3:1).”
Two other points: things will not change that are set in prophecy or proper nature – such as the system of the universe or the coming of Christ Jesus. Also, we can’t change the randomness of life – in the manner which we are born or timing of our deaths. About 3,500 years ago the Bible foretold us that the average life expectancy would be 70 to 80 years (Psalms 90:10). To some life may offer 90 years, and for many 70; yet others 30 years or before birth.
MAIN POINT: Through Christ Jesus and the Spirit of God, and only in this way, can we ‘endure to the end’ and be found ‘faithful’ in our test of life. Yes, enjoy life, but remember, “you have been created… for the pleasure (Rev. 4:11)” of the Lord and by His ‘will’ – His desire and love.
SIDE POINT: We have all been given “talents” and “abilities” to different degrees or amounts. We are responsible for using these and will give an account to our “Master” and Creator for our use of these – not that this is placed on us as a burden and we are to use 100% all of the time (that is impossible for man); but that we not to “bury or hid them in the ground (Matt. 25:14-30; parable of Talents)” as “worthless servants.”