Sunday, November 27, 2011

Thanksgiving - In All

In everything give thanks; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.
1 Thessalonians 5:18

"YOU HAVE GOT TO BE KIDDING!" I heard you think that. I have too.

Now it's front in center in our mind: The thing. Yes - the thing that collides with this verse.

The thing that is wrecking our life. The anchor that has slowed us or stopped us from moving forward in our life. The thing that causes rage or the looking for medication.

It doesn't matter what it is. Some thing entered our life; now it dominates. It may go under the surface for a while but it always dominates. Maybe there is a legion of these things.

But look again: In everything give thanks.... It's a small word but it changes everything. It liberates us to practice this Scripture truth. IN not FOR. In everything not for everything. Do you see?

I was hit by a car on my bike last week. Giving thanks in that situation is different than giving thanks for it. I am not a Calvinist. That person would say God caused or orchestrated or willed the accident so I have to give thanks FOR it.

I do believe in a big, huge, sovereign God. He isn't surprised by anything. I also live in a fallen world where horrible things happen. Evil is everywhere. The devil and demons are real and in some way are out to wreck my life. These two or three colliding things are beyond my ability to understand. I think error and false doctrine come when we try to put it in a neat little box that we can understand and explain.

So back to my bike wreck: I am thankful IN it. I'm thankful to be alive. I'm thankful I wasn't seriously hurt. I'm thankful that I learned to be more observant; in the future I will make sure the driver of a car turning right on a red light sees me before I pass in front of them. I'm thankful that I was able to meet with the driver of the car a couple days later and extend grace to him. I'm thankful that he took responsibility and paid for the damages to my bike. I'm thankful for a new bike that I like even more than my old one.

So a bad situation in a fallen world is redeemed because I can give thanks in it. I can turn it around in my mind. And something else can happen. Here is what Romans 8:28 says: And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose. God will work this situation for good. He will take a situation that was meant for bad and redeem it.

Thanksgiving and gratitude will save us from ourselves and an evil world. When we choose to give thanks we won't be tricked into blaming God for evil or for not caring about us or what is going on in our life. We will have a completely different perspective.

So, about your thing: In and not for. Start now.

Philip

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