“And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God. And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.” Colossians 3:15-17
Thankful. Thankfulness. Thanks. In just three verses. More precisely. “Be thankful…With thankfulness…Giving thanks.” Isn’t that a bit repetitive? A bit unnecessary? An editing mistake perhaps? A little overindulgent? A little too much? Shouldn’t we get the point the first time around? If the truth be known, I read those verses zillions of times through the years before I even noticed. The repetition. Or so I thought it was repetition. Until the Holy Spirit opened my eyes and showed me what I needed to see. God’s Word is perfect, you know. He doesn’t make mistakes. He has His reasons for everything. For every single word in the Bible, in fact. So what did the Holy Spirit want me to see?
Read carefully through the verses above. To “be thankful” is ongoing, isn’t it? It’s not a one-time or a once-in-a-while endeavor, is it? It’s a state of mind. A state of heart, in fact. It’s something God wants us to be – continually. We may not be there yet, but that’s where He wants us. How so? He wants us to have thankfulness in our hearts. In our thoughts. Our feelings. To have a thankful disposition. To be grateful. Note He wants us teaching and warning one another and singing. With thanksgiving! Gratefully! Grateful to God! Is this all? Read on in the verses above. Now comes something I missed entirely – for years. Whatever we do and say, God wants us to do it in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ. This means all our words and actions should be brought under the control and lordship of Jesus Christ and God’s Word. Everything should line up with God and His ways. ALL that we say and do. In His name also implies in His authority, in God’s strength, according to Christ’s character. Is this all? No. Why once again are we told to give thanks? Here is what I missed. God calls us to a lifestyle of thanksgiving. When we line up our words and actions with God’s Word and humbly live our lives for Christ, we are essentially saying thank you to God for who He is, what He has done, what He is doing, what He will do, and for His most precious Son Jesus Christ. God is driving home in these verses that thanksgiving is not a bunch of words or a once-in-a-while “thanks God” offered up to heaven. It’s a way of life for Christ’s followers. Is it yours?