While reading about the harm that casinos do I came across this quote from the Institute for American Values:
Modern slot machines are highly addictive because they get into people's heads as well as their wallets. They engineer the psychological experience of being in the 'zone' - a trance-like state that numbs feeling and blots out time/space. For some heavy players, the goals is not winning money. It's staying in the zone. To maintain this intensely desirable state, players prolong their time on the machine until they run out of money - a phenomenon that people in the industry call 'playing to extinction.'
What I want all of you to know, is that there are many ways to live in the 'zone' besides gambling. Last week a man described that trance-like state as "a sort of euphoric feeling" that he could get by zoning out on his computer. He used to think that it was cool that he could get that feeling of relief so easily, but now he realizes that it was causing him to avoid his responsibilities, including his wife and children. "Now" he said, "whenever I get that feeling, I take it as a warning that I am doing something wrong, and I go do something else instead."
If you are pursuing numbness, it doesn't matter how you reach it. Cartoons, video games, alcohol, gambling, pornography, drugs, and even books or work: each will lead you to play to extinction. This short-lived euphoria will actually destroy you, not just financially, but spiritually.
The good news is that Christians don't have to numb their feelings. Followers of Jesus Christ don't need or want that euphoria, because we recognize that it is a pathetic replacement for the joy of the Lord. If you are not his follower, and you are sick of living for this fleeting feeling, I want you to know that there is only one way out of the death trap you're currently stuck in. Humble yourself, repent of this sin, and turn to Jesus Christ instead. He will heal the wounds you've been trying to forget. He will forgive you, and he will give you a new life, freed from slavery to these sins.
If you claim the name of Christ, but you've been pursuing this emptiness, you need to stop. You are in a very dangerous place, spiritually. Remember your first love, and flee this idolatry.
Whoever you are, if this hits home I'd love to speak with you about these things. Find me after the service this week and talk to me.