The basic problem with casting lots is that it does not require any transformation of the mind at all. A chimpanzee can do it. A robot can do it. In itself, there’s nothing spiritual or holy about it. It’s not God’s desire for us to do things that chimpanzees can do.
He wants us to become mature and conformed to his own character so that we see what is beautiful in Christ and in Christ’s way, and then love it, and then choose it. But casting lots doesn’t require that we see the beauty of holiness at all, which means that choosing it doesn’t glorify God.
Do you see this? This is so central and foundational. Casting lots glorifies chance. But if you choose a path of behavior because you see its fitness as a way of glorifying God, and honoring Christ, and helping people, then Christ is honored when you choose it. People are loved when you choose it. That’s what God’s looking for — not robotic ways of discerning a path.
Here’s another example. It comes from a prayer in Philippians: “It is my prayer that your love may abound more and more, with knowledge and all discernment, so that you may approve what is excellent, and so be pure and blameless for the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God” (Philippians 1:9–11).
If we try to be full of the fruits of righteousness by casting lots, we totally miss the point of what righteousness is. It’s the fruit of love, mingled with knowledge and insight, bathed in prayer, and growing up into the glory of God. That’s not what casting lots does.
Children of Light
Here’s one last example: “For at one time you were darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light (for the fruit of light is found in all that is good and right and true), and try to discern what is pleasing to the Lord” (Ephesians 5:8–10).
All of that would be canceled out by casting lots as an ordinary part of discernment. When Paul says, “Try to discern what is pleasing to the Lord,” he means, “Go down deep into what it means to be children of the light, and act according to your new nature.”
Here’s my conclusion. Not only don’t you have any certainty of pleasing God if you roll dice; you put yourself outside the beautiful pattern of New Testament transformation by the Spirit through the word.
Christ wants you to glorify him and his way by the way you make your choices. But lots are mindless things. God is not mindless. You’re not mindless. Sanctification is not mindless. Discernment is not mindless. You have the mind of Christ. You can see the beauty of holiness and glorify the Lord of holiness by choosing it for what it is.
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