You, God, and Your Auspicious Vocabulary

Two parents take their teenage daughter to a swim meet. These dedicated parents have paid dearly over the years. They have driven their firstborn since she was a guppy in the shallow end blowing bubbles. They have endured annual swim team award ceremonies—where everyone is a winner. They have paid some serious coin for lessons, gear, and to participate on a club team as public school sports keep trimming their budgets. Their Christian view on life has even led to prayers on behalf of their daughter getting out of red, white, and yellow, and finally earning the blue ribbon. And now before their precious daughter heads off to the high school locker room, and they go find an uncomfortable metal bleacher amongst the humid, chlorinated crowd of like-minded family members for the next two hours, with empathy for all the work, and with a genuine parental love, both nurturing parents turn to their soon-to-be ribbon winner, and say, “Good luck.”

From the title and the paragraph above, I’m leaving swimming out of the following conversation. The challenges of parenting will be indirectly referenced. What I really want to convince you of is how divergent one’s vocabulary can be from his or her thoughts about God. Let’s discuss luck, and its proper place in a Christian’s life and language.

Describing the Unseen Force

Before we get adjectival, luck shows itself in a dictionary as a noun. That means it is a person, place, item, or idea. The person Lucky Thompson played saxophone, really well, but no one today is referring to him when they use the word luck.

According to Frank Sinatra, luck be a lady. She turned out to be powerful personification used in one of his songs for heading out to Vegas. Since gamblers leave their brains behind before flying to a place rigged to lighten your wallet, yes, by all means, take a well dressed lady who blows on your dice.

There is a place named Luck, Wisconsin, but who knew before now? There is also Lucky, Louisiana but now the conversation is moving towards adjectival; patience please. Luck as an item has never been found at the end of a rainbow, nor spilling out of a horseshoe gone sideways. If luck exists, then it has never been captured, test-tubed, and deemed safe to use by some federal scientific board of inquiry.

While we are still in the noun domain, in between item and idea we could squeeze in event. Is luck finding a four-leaf clover? Is it a shooting star going over your wishes? Is it winning a mega-million lottery?

Maybe those last events have transferred us over to the dominate use of the adjectival form—such winners are just lucky. This notion has been made quite popular. A dead rabbit’s foot attracts luck (and flies), supposedly. But if we are going to identify lucky people, then we will have to acknowledge the unlucky as well. All of a sudden we will need to categorize all people as lucky, unlucky, or somewhere in between, or both, sometimes. The task is getting out of hand and way beyond the scope of the Word of God, our only source for life and Godliness.

To discuss it fairly, luck must be defined. And before I begin, please whisper yourself an attempt at it. What is luck?

Waiting . . . waiting . . .

To most people it is at best an idea, an on-and-off belief, maybe a phenomenon, that brings positive/good (and sometimes negative/bad) juju to the recipient. Some get it, some do not, and if such believers dug down into their presuppositions, they might even say that people earn and merit and deserve the luck that comes their way. That is, the diligent people garner some good luck, and the scalawags have bad luck coming.

Here is how Noah Webster defined it nearly 200 years ago:

“That which happens to a person; an event, good or ill, affecting a man’s interest or happiness, and which is deemed casual; fortune. luck respects persons and their proceedings. We never say, in a literal sense, that a plant has the luck to grow in a particular place; or a fossil has the luck to be of a particular form. We say, a person has the good luck to escape from danger; or the ill luck to be ensnared or to suffer loss. He has had good luck or bad luck in gaming, fishing or hunting. luck or what we call chance, accident, fortune, is an event which takes place without being intended or foreseen, or from some cause not under human control; that which cannot be previously known or determined with certainty by human skill or power.”

That is a rich, comprehensive definition. But I sense that such a definition is going to make luck very allusive. When the spotlight gets too bright on her, lady luck runs off and hides, or morphs into some other concepts. Here are her aliases.

A Masquerading Unseen Force

Lady Luck has been turning heads and distracting people for eons. She might appear as:


Life’s unexplainable issues get an explanation from mathematics. Dressed similarly here is probability, random acts of (whatever), etc. If you believe in luck, then you are a believer in its kissing cousin, chance. There are plenty of folks breathing in the vapors of chance. The delusion it is causing in our culture and high school science textbooks has people believing that they came about by chance. It is a slippery slope to chancy living. Carry it to the end and one dies by chance and faces a God, or maybe not, they say. Life is a wager, so who will blow on the dice?


To mention fortune means it has an evil twin named misfortune. Whether in the form of a paper prophecy inside a baked cookie, or a horoscope aligning your day, fortune masquerades as an unseen force to bless and to not bless.


This one is a laugher—a person thinks how they live will then result in what happens in his or her life. This is true because God deems it true (cf. Galatians 6:7,8), and has so ordered His universe. But superstitions boil down to the silliness of ladders, favorite clothes, and the like. God is not mocked; men will reap what they sow, but superstitious practices are not from God.

Once upon a time Stevie Wonder put this masquerader in its place with the lyrics:

“:When you believe in things, That you don’t understand, Then you suffer, Superstition ain’t the way, no, no, no.”


Lady Luck is getting desperate when she hides here. This is such a buzzword today; a residual, Hinduistic teaching that the aura of a place can be felt, and associated with good or bad karma. There is so much to discuss when someone believes in a previous existence, the sum total work of one’s deeds, and deserving what you get, for good or bad. All this needs saving truth in another article.

Before I apply these first two sections to my life, and nudge you to do the same, I need to point out something very interesting for the Christians already thinking of altering their vocabulary. Luck is not found even once in the English versions of the NASB, the ESV, nor the KJV or NKJV, or even the popular NIV, or NLT. Only the NET Bible has used the work luck, and they only use it once.1

The NET website says there are over 60,000 translators’ notes. And a smile came to my face when the one use of “luck” in an English translation also had a note connected to Ecclesiastes 5:14, which reads:

“Then that wealth was lost through bad luck; although he fathered a son, he has nothing left to give him.”

Their note essential explains the use of luck as a bad business deal. All this to say, if you insist on luck being an active part of your God-honoring thinking and vocabulary, it is not part of God’s.

Let God Unmask the Unseen Force and Bring it to the Light

Would you fault the swimmer’s parents at the beginning of the article for what they said? Do you think Christians should use language that reflects their beliefs about the Triune God in this world? Then I am pleased, but I am concluding this article as if some of you are not convicted yet.

First admit, our language is loaded with cliches and idioms and filler words that get zero thinking. They just flow out of the heart and across our lips without visiting the mind. Unfortunately this means a lot is coming out of the heart, over the tongue, and through the lips without thought, without review, and without any filters. We verbally unload a lot without thinking through what we are unloading.

Be this as it may, the big question is, does God care how we speak? He knows our sinfulness and brokenness, even in our ability to communicate. How broken is your ability to communicate? Line up all the sinful grievances in the world today: wars, rape, stealing, oppression, etc. Where on your list is broken, human relationships? And of those broken relationships, how many have suffered because of the words emotionally vomited between persons? I won’t say that any such communicative brokenness is unforgivable, but the damage has been done, and is being done, and will continue to be done because our word choices get so little TLC. And how many other sins are related to our broken communication? Bearing false witness, lying, twisting truth for selfish gain, flattery, gossip, cursing, quarreling, anger . . . yikes, there is some real, destructive power in the tongue (cf. Proverbs 18:21).

Let’s also admit that a bruised reed God will not break. He sympathizes with our weaknesses, even in how poorly we communicate (cf. Hebrews 4:14-16). But is it reasonable then to conclude our words can be whatever flows out of our lazy, deceitful hearts, and God is just ho-hum about them? If a Christian were to investigate every verse and thought from God about how we are to communicate, he or she might condense the many verses down to speaking the truth in love (cf. Ephesians 4:15). Christians wield the truth mightily at times—we would claim this as our forte—but we wield the sword like zealous disciples, without much love (e.g, speaking on homosexuality). But we can also sound quite loving without any truth at all (e.g, teaching kids to believe in Santa and a tooth fairy). Once you decide how real, definable, and substantive luck is or isn’t before God almighty, then you still have to decide, does God care about your word choices. Does the Perfect Communicator care how we communicate?

I believe He does care because He cares about being glorified through His people. And He cares about your word choices because there is no luck in His ever-growing Kingdom. How can a force like luck exist in the Kingdom of the Almighty God?

No Deism

Please don’t say God doesn’t care about words or details because He created the universe and then avoids interfering in the affairs of men. Sorry, but if you’re going to walk with me to the end of this article, you have to jettison the idea of of a Creator God, who set everything in motion, and then decided not to care. You also have to admit that if luck exists, then God created it. Why would He do that? You might also need to find a Church that preaches the whole counsel of God and rightfully shows God as the King of Kings, sovereignly reigning over EVERYTHING.

No God of Luck Either

This author regularly plays cribbage with a cousin who is quite accomplished at the game of cards. Our on-going debate is whether cribbage (even card games in general) is a game of skill/decision making with what you have been dealt, or is it some force/power that is deciding what you are dealt. By now you should know how this author argues every time we shuffle the deck.

There is no luck, there is no chance, but there is a God who knows the number of hairs on your head, the suits in your hand, and all outcomes at all times, now and forever. Yes, the God I serve is so sovereign, that He works all things together for good. Many Christians run to Romans 8:28 for comfort. I simply ask, are you going to let all mean all, everything, nothing-left-out? Our God is the God of the details. Even if you think the devil gets in and messes with the details, guess who Lords over the devil? This is sovereignty. This is power from the throne. This is not some unseen force He created to divert our attention away from Him.

Absolutely No False gods

“Thus says the LORD, the King of Israel and his Redeemer, the LORD of hosts: ‘I am the first and I am the last; besides me there is no god.'”

Isaiah. 44:6

Christian, between you and the triune, Holy Godhead and the Heavenly Father, there is only One Mediator, and He is the Lord of lords and the King of kings, He is the perfect Mediator because He is the Perfect God and the Perfect Man, and His name is Jesus.

Come again to the Cross and look at Him who died for you. See His bleeding hands and feet. See the mocking crown of thorns. This great and good and worthy High Priest brought the sacrifice of Himself for your lostness, for your waywardness, and for all small thoughts of our great God. The Holy Spirit works comfort into your soul, and He labors tirelessly to shine all glory on the Son and His sacrificial work on your behalf. Why muddle the holy ground at the foot of the Cross with your false gods, cosmic forces, and double-dealing notions of luck? Draw near in times of weakness and pray to the only One worthy to sit at the right hand of all power, of all knowledge (real and hypothetical), and of all wisdom of how your life and your life’s event should be.

Now Come Back to Sovereignty

“I am the LORD, that is My Name, I will not give my glory to another, nor my praise to graven images.”

Isaiah 42:8

Here is the foundation from where I reason. The LORD is above ALL substitutes—and since all substitutes are man-contrived—they are as nothing to Him. God is perfectly content as the Triune Godhead ruling the universe, let alone the affairs of sinful men. He needs no help. He asks for no advice.

In the beginning, God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit only created the universe and our solar system and this planet and formed a perfect garden and placed man in it out of perfect contentment. God did not need any of us. Even when the first man took the whole human race down an ill-advised, warned-against path right out of the garden, the Triune God was still content. Satan, the tempter, interjected some twisted truth into the perfect setting, and Satan has been and will be dealt with.

Dear Christian, even you have a rabbit’s foot fueling your hopes, if you consult your horoscope for daily guidance, if you think stars are aligning to make you lucky, or certain outfits determine if your sports team will win, you are foolishly interjecting some sort of cosmic force into your life that is taking away the glory of a Sovereign God. Put away your light saber and repent of your thoughts of God being so puny.

For the unbelievers and your lucky practices, what have you achieved? For a misguided child like you, who depends on a four-leaf clover, a well-positioned horse shoe, or the wishbone breaking in your favor, you are grieving your Creator as you look for life’s understanding in your little gods.

All of us should look how Jesus lived. Look until Jesus with the divine, sovereign, comforting help of the Holy Spirit; He constantly is shining a spot light on the Savior. Look at how Jesus faced trials. Observe all His confrontations. Yes, the confrontations brought to Him and the ones He initiated. Jesus regularly responded by drawing near to His heavenly Father in prayer, and staying in prayer all night, if need be, for the guidance, for the support, for the encouragement He needed. Whether Jesus was selecting His original disciples, friends, and eventual Apostles, or facing the greatest Sacrifice this universe will ever witness, Jesus went to the Supreme Sovereign of the Universe, to the God of Providence, to the orchestrater of every instrument, to the Alpha and Omega, who rules over both ends and EVERYTHING in between. This is the same Jesus who upholds the universe by the word of His power (cf. Hebrews 1:3). Do we need anything in our lives other than Him? Say goodbye to luck in your thinking and your vocabulary. And say hello once again to Jesus, and even pray something like, I need you in every aspect of my life, even to Lord over my auspicious vocabulary.

Author: GT Royd

1 NET stands for New English Translation, an online Bible version first made available in 2005.

One thought on “You, God, and Your Auspicious Vocabulary”

  1. So powerful revelation. May the grace for the revelation of the word become reality in our life.. thanks.
    You guys are such a blessing.

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