Are All Things Worthy of Thanksgiving?
By Patricia Backora, author of the book
Tough Love in Christ's Millennium
Which you can order online from: http://www.publishamerica.com
All things are lawful for me, but all things are not expedient (Dictionary definition: suitable for achieving a desired end): all things are lawful for me, but all things edify not (I Cor.10:23).
This is a very wise teaching. Even if you don't consider it a sin to take the occasional glass of wine, it is better to just have a Coke when you are around believers who differ with you on that issue. As Christians, the "desired end" which we wish to achieve is to edify our brothers and sisters in the faith, and to be a good example around sinners. Far better to draw their attention to the New Wine of the Holy Spirit which fills our hearts with a joy this world can never know.
The same principle would apply when you're a meat-eater eating with Christians who think it's wrong to kill animals in a society where "cruelty-free" foods are freely available. No Scripture commands you to eat meat every night, and without making unnecessary waves you can just fellowship with the vegetarian believers over their cashew nut roast as you also partake of the spiritual meat of the Word of God.
But the main thrust of that verse was not what I found shocking, it was the idea of "all things" being lawful. And that verse appears immediately after a stern warning from Paul about not partaking of "the cup of devils" and the "table of devils". How, then, can Paul seemingly contradict himself and say that "all things" are lawful? Doesn't the universal collection of "all things" in existence also include the cup of devils and the table of devils?
In reading that chapter you immediately realize you must keep the words "all things" in their proper context. The remainder of I Corinthians 10 clarifies which "all things" Paul means, those which pertain to eating and drinking. Paul wasn't talking about such things as crack cocaine being lawful for us. He wasn't talking about Ouija Boards or Tarot Cards being okay. He was talking about all things God created in the way of food and drink!
That passage alone should reassure Christians who think that Eph.5:20 commands them to give God thanks for heartbreaking illnesses, disasters and other works of satan in their lives. To thank someone for something is to accept it and give no resistance to it. But you can either thank God for something or you can thank somebody else. Who gives you temptations which can lead you to hell if you accept them and carry them out? The devil does! God would never tempt a Christian to go join some cult which promises an easier way to bliss. The devil sends such temptations, and God does not desire thanks for things which satan sends to dishonor Him. He is, however, to be thanked for sending the power of His Spirit to keep you on the Narrow Way to Life whenever you are tempted by satan to stray. In that way the Lord can get glory out of your struggle against temptation.
In Luke 20:25 Jesus says that Caesar has those things that belong to him and God has those things that belong to Him. Give Caesar (or whoever) what belongs to him, and to God what is due unto Him. If satan sends you a lemon you can sometimes make lemonade out of it. But if he sends you a temptation to go run away with your neighbor's wife, that lethal temptation did not come from God. You should always thank God for victory in trial, but you should also objectively ascertain the correct giver of the destructive elements of the trial. God is a good God and the devil is a bad devil. Thanks for every good and perfect gift is due unto the Father of Lights (James 1:17).
Are we commanded to give thanks for all things which exist in our world, without first checking to see whose trademark is on that thing, and whether it glorifies satan or God? God speaks through Jeremiah the prophet in denouncing things which are displeasing unto Him: And first I will recompense their iniquity and their sin double, because they have defiled my land, they have filled mine inheritance (the Land of Israel) with the carcases of their detestable and abominable THINGS (Jere.16:18). Ezekiel receives a similar word from the Lord for apostate Israel: Wherefore, as I live, saith the Lord God; surely, because thou hast defiled my sanctuary with all thy detestable THINGS, and with all thine abominations, therefore will I also diminish thee, neither shall mine eye spare, neither shall I have any pity (Ezek. 5:11).
I doubt that any sane Israelite would have dared to thank God for the existence of "detestable things" in his land. God would surely not have been pleased with such a prayer of thanks!
We live under a more enlightened Covenant. There are things in existence which God still hates and considers abominable. Surely He doesn't desire that we give thanks for them, but war against them in the Spirit instead.
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A rule of thumb for us is surely "could Jesus give thanks for this"? and if He could, then so can we....How we need the Spirit`s enlightenment on all things....thank you Patricia for bringing these truths to light.