Living a lifestyle of thankfulness is the opposite of our carnal nature. It is a supernatural work of God. When we intentionally become mindful of all that God has done for us and is doing among us, it brings thankfulness and gratitude towards the Lord. Let’s learn from Apostle Paul on how to live a lifestyle of thankfulness.
We always thank God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, when we pray for you, because we have heard of your faith in Christ Jesus and of the love you have for all God’s people— the faith and love that spring from the hope stored up for you in heaven and about which you have already heard in the true message of the gospel that has come to you. In the same way, the gospel is bearing fruit and growing throughout the whole world—just as it has been doing among you since the day you heard it and truly understood God’s grace. You learned it from Epaphras, our dear fellow servant, who is a faithful minister of Christ on our behalf, and who also told us of your love in the Spirit.
For this reason, since the day we heard about you, we have not stopped praying for you. We continually ask God to fill you with the knowledge of his will through all the wisdom and understanding that the Spirit gives, so that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and please him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God, being strengthened with all power according to his glorious might so that you may have great endurance and patience, and giving joyful thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of his holy people in the kingdom of light. For he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins. Colossians 1:3-14
Apostle Paul continually gave thanks for several important aspects of our faith as well as giving thanks for other believers that we can learn from in developing a lifestyle of thankfulness:
Rescued from the Dominion of Darkness
Paul recounted that God has rescued us from the dominion of darkness. We were all in darkness and could not help ourselves or each other, but God through His mercies shone His marvelous light in our hearts and rescued us from the dominion of darkness.
The Blood of Jesus
Jesus redeemed us through His sacrifice on the cross and His shed blood for our sins. He snatched us out of the kingdom of darkness and made us citizens of heaven. He chose to forgive our sins; something we could not earn in our own effort. None of our works would have been good enough to purchase our salvation, but because of His mercies, we gained eternal life and the right to be called Children of God. Praise the Lord!
Belonging to the Kingdom of God
Because of what Jesus did on the cross, He gained the right for us to be adopted as Children of God and belong to the Kingdom of God. This also means that we are partakers of the inheritance that He has made available to His children. We enter His rest because of His work. Because we belong to the Kingdom.. He blesses us with the knowledge of His will, understanding in the spirit, and the ability to develop the fruit of the Spirit as the Lord helps us to become Christlike.
Faith, Hope, and Love
One of the main differentiators between a Godly person versus a carnal person is that Fatih, hope, and love. These three operating in a believer’s life make them sound different, look different, and act differently because they have faith in God. We are called to be hopeful about the future. The love of God has been poured out in our hearts thereby keeping us safe and settled in an unsettled world giving us the courage to love our neighbors as ourselves.
Giving thanks for the Believers
Paul gave thanks for the believers because he had heard of their faith. He was like a father who enjoyed seeing his children do well in the faith. It wasn’t just about him and his faith but he was encouraged to see others in the faith believing in the Lord and the work of Jesus in their lives.
We live in times when it is easy to see division in the body of Christ. People argue about doctrine, spiritual gifts, worship, politics, and even vaccinations. It seems to me that there are plenty of opportunities to get divided and criticize each other. However, we must remind ourselves that Jesus died for all of us and He has made all of the above blessings available to all of His children regardless of how we feel about each other. Our job is to love one another and make every opportunity to give thanks for one another.
Recently I watched a journalist speaking at an event. While he cabe be divisive in his reporting, he spoke highly of the U.S. and the Americans. He described how the U.S. is still the best country to live in and how most Americans are decent and giving people who love to help others. The truth is that these days we are bombarded by journalists from the left and the right who criticize opposing views and leave a bad taste in our mouth about our country and our countrymen. It was very encouraging to hear this journalist focus on the positives and to remind people that we still have a lot to be grateful for.
It is important to have the right thoughts about our fellow believers, this country, and our countrymen. If we choose to think that everything is falling apart and people have become evil and obnoxious, it will harden our hearts. It will make it a whole harder for us to love others and to help them.
These days compromise seems to be a bad word, but living in a free country requires a level of compromise without giving up our moral convictions. However, we need to choose carefully what we call moral conviction and not make everything we don’t like a spiritual issue.
Join me today as we set aside the remainder of this holiday season to intentionally stay away from all negativity. Let’s be cautious to guard our ears and eyes against the daily bombardment of negativity through the media, social media, and even conversations with others. Instead, let’s choose to be thankful and thank the Lord for His many blessings in our lives. Let’s Allow the Lord to renew faith, hope, and love in our hearts and choose to give thanks for other believers as Apostle Paul did for the believers in Colossae.