Gratefulness #5 – Faith Not Fate
Paul directs us to “Give thanks in all circumstances” (1 Thessalonians 5:18).
The pagans in Paul’s day accepted fate as sovereign over everything. They believed that they should accept whatever came their way and even give thanks for it.
Fate is the belief that there are forces outside our control that make things happen. “We can’t change destiny.”
Fate is the belief that there is an impersonal force or universal principle or supernatural power that predetermines events and circumstances. “Whatever will be, will be.”
Fate is the belief that the final outcome is inevitable and unavoidable. “It was bound to happen.”
Some Christians don’t realize that when they say “this must be God’s will” or “it was never going to work out anyway”, they are making statements, whether positive or negative, that align more with fate than faith.
It is true that God allows difficult things to happen and doesn’t always withhold suffering. But he is not responsible for them. Without these experiences, how would we be transformed and our faith grow?
We don’t thank God “for all circumstances”. We thank God “in all circumstances”.
Fate can also immobilize us from making our own choices. We can choose to love God and others, turn from evil and do good, follow Jesus as his disciple, obey God’s Word, embrace kingdom values, keep in step with the Spirit and listen to his voice, be on mission, and so on. We don’t resign ourselves to fate.
When Paul says, “Give thanks in all circumstances,” he’s actually saying: “It’s not fate that happens to you. God is control of all things. Because God is sovereign and because God is love, you can trust God and give thanks in every situation.”
Remember, we live by faith, not fate. And our faith is personal, real, alive, dynamic: “I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me” (Galatians 2:20).
Step back and reflect on your own faith development. Discard the hopelessness of fate.
~ Pastor Dave