Today we are continuing our series called Waves of Thankfulness. How have you let thankfulness wash over you this week?
Have you seen all the posts on Facebook and Twitter about what everyone is thankful for? I have and I absolutely love reading about everyone’s blessings. I have much to be thankful for and have enjoyed finding ways to show thankfulness during the month of November, but it shouldn’t stop there. We need to go beyond the task of sharing what we are thankful for and allow thankfulness to infiltrate every area of our lives. Basically, we need to cultivate a lifestyle of thankfulness that goes beyond thanksgiving.
Thanksgiving needs to be a daily habit instead of a yearly observance.
There is a difference in being thankful, and having a lifestyle of thankfulness. Being thankful is a feeling and our feelings change as our circumstances do. But having a lifestyle of thankfulness means that we are thankful despite our surroundings. When we have a lifestyle of thankfulness we can be thankful throughout life’s storms because we know that God is good no matter what. It is a continual state that we never depart from. When your life is full of thankfulness you can still show thanks for the individual gifts you have been given, but the thankfulness doesn’t stop there, it is continual instead of circumstantial. And quite honestly, a thankful heart is a glad one.
So how do we go about creating a lifestyle of thankfulness?
Grab your Bible and read Colossians 3:12-17. In this passage, Paul is teaching the Church in Colosse about living peacefully amongst others. Let’s see if we can find anything in this passage that is useful to us.
“Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.” Verse 12.
Wow. God’s chosen people. Talk about big shoes to fill. Let’s make God proud! Set your mind on being compassionate, kind, humble, gentle and patient. Keep reading to learn how to do this.
“Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.” Verse 13.
I think that bearing with one another means getting along with one another. Forgiveness can be difficult because often I don’t want to forgive others. If someone treats me badly I want them to know about it, but that’s not what God wants. We must forgive.
“And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.” Verse 14.
And that’s why I can forgive: Love. Love covers over a multitude of hurts. Love makes it possible for us to live peacefully with those around us. It is the emotion that makes us thankful.
“Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful.” Verse 15.
A thankful lifestyle cannot be obtained on our own. We need God to rule our lives and bring us to peace and thankfulness. Perhaps we should pray that God would bring us these things.
“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.” Verse 16.
I see two commands here. Let Christ dwell among you as you teach and admonish each other with wisdom that is gained through the teaching of the Spirit and to praise God with gratitude in our hearts. A lifestyle of thankfulness begins with a lifestyle of closeness and obedience to God. It comes from within as a result of a change in our 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.” Verse 17.
Bottomline: Do everything for the glory of God and let Him take care of the details. Do everything in the name of the Lord, let Him lead you, and give Him thanks. That’s how you cultivate a lifestyle of thankfulness.