“God’s Providence or Pagan Luck?”

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All of us are creatures of habit. Whether it be sitting in the same pew each week, wearing the same tie each Wednesday, or driving the same way to work each day. This list could go on and on. But we’ll continue with just a few more …

Some of these habits are good; others are irritating (at least to others). We also have our own pet-peeves (“Webster’s Dictionary” and “Rodale’s Synonym Finder” both define a pet-peeve as, “an annoying, or irritating little idiosyncratic preference”). Some are amoral like eating the same types of food cooked in a certain way (never allowing them to touch each other on your plate), or keeping the base-boards behind each door “spick-and-span” clean, or having your hair cut, in the same way, at the same time, every other week. However, other habits are morally-based like: being on time (which means to most, being there, at least, thirty minutes early), or seeing the need to always bathe every morning and evening. And finally, others, are morally and spiritually legitimate, like the persnickety-need to refrain from using certain words in one’s vocabulary. It’s with this last habit that we will now focus our remaining time. I am, of course, referring to the usage of such worthless words like: “gosh,” “Geez,” “dad-gummit,” or more specifically, “luck,” whether it’s of the good or bad kind.” Why? Because “luck” refers plainly to either an unconscious habit of speech, or to a worldview that foundationally smacks of embracing chance-fate, or some other false atheistic-humanistic deduction. So then, is it incorrect or inconsistent, for a Christian use such words as “luck” or phrases as “that’s good or bad luck”? I believe so. That is, does it trouble you, dear Christian, when you hear spoken or read those words (or other words like them)? I hope so … Can you believe that when I was in seminary we actually lived for a time at 9931 Goodluck Road in Lanham, Maryland?! Hmmm …Thankfully, many years ago, I discovered a much better word for believers to use in place of the pagan term, “luck.” It’s the long-forgotten word, “providence” (Defined by “Webster’s Dictionary” as, “the benevolent guidance of this world by God;” and by its Latin roots as, “Seeing beforehand.” Both are helpful).  This unique and forgotten word fits much better with the Christian’s worldview than “luck”. That also explains why we here at ADBC took bold steps, years ago, by changing the name of our former “pot-luck” meal to “pot-providence.” Yes, a recovery of this glorious word into the Christian’s vocabulary, especially in the place of pagan “luck” actually provides a much needed impetus for the believer toward living his or her life with Scripturally-warranted optimism. Why? Because it causes him to see all of life, both the good and the bad, and his blessings and his sufferings, as coming from God’s all-wise and benevolent care. So then, if a believer experiences or hears of dim and dark trials, he learns to see them as “frowning” providences from God (Proverbs 16:4; Romans 8:28; James 1:2-4). And if he experiences or hears of “blessings,” he learns to see them as “smiling” providences from God (Job 2:10). The only other alternative is to view life as either a culmination of good and or bad luck. But that would make God unlike the God of the Bible. And such un-careful language uttered by a child of God, would be a gross inconsistency. Instead, let us go on to maturity and grow up into a maturing man or woman of God, (“…grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ…” [2 Peter 3:18]), by using God-honoring, Scripturally-warranted language. O may our Lord help us to receive, understand, and joyfully grow in adhering to what we have just learned and also to His following Words, “for by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned” (Matthew 12:37). May your worship service tomorrow exalt God’s only Son!

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