• Wayne Fox

Be Thankful Part 2

Be Thankful Part 2

Thanksgiving is an admission that we are dependent and trusting in God. We are in effect admitting that God controls the physical realm as well as the spiritual realm. God’s sovereignty, wisdom, and love are brought to bear upon all of the physical and spiritual areas of our lives. We must believe that God is at work in all things – all circumstances – for our good. We must expect this truth from Scripture and rely upon it without having to know just how He is working for our good.

There is a very close connection between Romans 8:28 (“all things work together for good”) and 1 Thessalonians 5:18 (“give thanks in all circumstances”). When we understand that the literal translation of the words “in all circumstances” and “in everything”, in the Greek as in the English language the words and meaning are very, very close. We are to give thanks in everything because we know that in all things God is at work for our good. We derive great comfort and encouragement from Romans 8:28.

Giving thanks in all circumstances, we must realize that God is at work in a proactive, not reactive fashion. God does not just respond to an adversity in our lives to make the best of a bad situation. He knew before He initiated or permitted the adversity exactly what He was doing before He allowed Joseph’s brothers him into slavery. Even Joseph recognized this when he said to his brothers: Genesis 45:8 So it was not you who sent me here, but God. He has made me a father to Pharaoh, and lord of all his house and ruler over all the land of Egypt. Genesis 50:20 As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good, to bring it about that many people should be kept alive, as they are today.

Paul commands us to “give thanks in all circumstances”: 1 Thessalonians 4:3–4 For this is the will of God, your sanctification: that you abstain from sexual immorality; 4 that each one of you know how to control his own body in holiness and honor, In this verse Paul speaks of God’s will. There is a moral imperative in this verse. God commands that we be holy and holiness include sexual purity. This imperative is just as strong in: 1 Thessalonians 5:18–19 give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. 19 Do not quench the Spirit.

Giving thanks in all circumstances is as much a part of the moral will of God as is abstaining from sexual immorality. Is the failure to give thanks and indulging in sexual immorality equally sinful in God’s sight? Giving thanks in all circumstances is part of God’s moral will for each of us. This is not an option to those seeking to please and honor God. Giving thanks in all circumstances whether favorable or unfavorable is another response to the trustworthiness of our God. If we trust Him to work in all our circumstances for our good then we should give Him thanks in all those circumstances – not thanksgivings for the evil considered in itself but, for the good that He will bring out of that evil through His sovereign wisdom and love.

It is difficult to give thanks to adversities that are causing us great pain. When we look for the good that can come about as a result of these adversities, we can be thankful that God allows such things in our lives and the benefit that we will receive as a result.

What adversity have you given thanks for in your life?

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