Reminding myself to be thankful is something I need to do often. It can be easy to get caught in the day-to-day routines, familiar with our surroundings, such that we forget how much we are blessed. Reflecting on the words of the apostle, Paul reminds us of our need to be thankful.
“Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. Let the message of Christ dwell among you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom through psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts. And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.”
COLOSSIANS 3: 15-17 (NIV)
Heart of Gratitude
Paul uses the words “thankful”, “gratitude”, and “thanks” all within four sentences. It is evident in Paul’s writing that he possessed a heart of thankfulness. Backing up a bit and noticing the beginning of Colossians 3, the inspired apostle reminds us of our position in Christ.
“Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.”
COLOSSIANS 3: 1-4 (NIV)
Not only are we reminded where our minds should be, on the wisdom and goodness of God and things above, but we are also reminded of the full blessings we have in Christ. Our lives are hidden with Christ in God, and we will appear with him in glory. Could there be any more comforting and reassuring words written than those penned here by the apostle? In part, I believe Paul’s heart of thankfulness is fueled by his understanding of the rich blessings in Christ. Therefore, we are instructed to walk in the way of Christ and not in the form of the world (ref. Colossians 3: 5-14). Walking in Christ, we are to let the peace of Christ guide our hearts. A thankful heart, a heart that expresses gratitude, and a heart that gives praise.
In the New Testament, thanksgiving is closely associated with the word grace. We see several ways people in the New Testament offer thanksgiving to God. They do so in worship (ref. 1 Timothy 2: 21), private prayer (ref. Acts 28: 15), as well as at meals (ref. Matthew 15: 36-37). Also, in the New Testament, we read of thanksgiving as a response to Christ's redemptive work (ref. Romans 7: 25). Thanksgiving held an essential place in the lives of Christians.
Returning To Colossians
Circling back around to Colossians, Paul teaches the church to possess an attitude of gratefulness. Seeing how we are blessed in Christ, should we not continually offer our thanksgiving and gratitude? Paul makes thanksgiving a present part of the life of a Christian. Should it not be a consistent and present part of my life as well?
“And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father”
COLOSSIANS 3: 17 (NIV)
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