One year ago, I felt the Lord challenge me to a ten day journey of giving thanks. I began each day with a Scripture and a reason that day to give thanks. During that time, I was deeply convicted about how much of my life I had taken for granted. Without realizing it I had begun to believe that some of my blessings were laws of entitlement. I truly believe God is at work in the earth and there is so much He is doing that we miss, because we fail to live in a sense of wonder and gratitude. So, my heart tells me that this journey of 50 days of gratitude can only serve to change our lives for the better if we are willing to embark on it. I am finding in my heart less ability to sit and listen to ingratitude when God is at work all around us. I am so thankful for His mercy in my life and I do not want to miss, not even one more opportunity to praise Him and thank Him because I have been navel gazing instead of Abba praising. I hope you will come with me on this 50 day pursuit to what might just become a lifetime journey of giving thanks.
They will not be long studies, but thoughts to share what the Word says, and an opportunity to share what God is saying to you through that same passage. Let’s walk together expecting gratitude for all God is doing to shift our lives into a dimension we have never known.
“As you have therefore received Christ, [even] Jesus the Lord, [so] walk (regulate your lives and conduct yourselves) in union with and conformity to Him. Have the roots [of your being] firmly and deeply planted [in Him, fixed and founded in Him], being continually built up in Him, becoming increasingly more confirmed and established in the faith, just as you were taught, and abounding and overflowing in it with thanksgiving.” Colossians 2:6-7 (Amplified)
We begin this passage with Paul reminding us of the most important thing in our lives. We have received Christ. There is nothing in your life that you have received that holds any higher value. Having received Him means something. It is more than just fire insurance. It is more than just being able to say, “I’m saved.” I have entered into a living relationship with Christ. This relationship transforms the way I live and function in this life. No relationship stops once you establish that there is one. Yet for many believers, all they see is the need to say some prayer to make sure that they are covered. It must break God’s heart. Relationships grow and develop from the place of initiation. Our relationship with Christ by the very nature that it is a living union continues to grow, if we conform our hearts to what He is asking of us.
The believer’s relationship with Christ will be healthy when we let our roots go deep and are firmly planted in Him, when we are continually being built up in Him, when we become more established in the faith, and when we overflow with thanksgiving.
Paul tells us to walk as a result of this relationship. Walking requires action. I can’t walk if I am laying down. I must get up and be active, even when I don’t feel like it. This says to me that although this life is a journey, I must move, step by step, day by day in conscious submission to the one I have received. When I do so, I can then sink my roots deeply into Him. I can build on the foundation laid at the core of this relationship. My faith in my God, my friend, my Hope, my Constant Companion, the Truth. Everything that comes from that union causes me to be established in Truth. Am I keeping that relationship the priority of my life? The more I experience Him and become aware of all that He is, my heart overflows with thanksgiving. Overflow is not something I have to muster up looking for a way to be thankful. It implies by the very nature of the word that it spills over, it can’t be contained.
The thankful heart is protected. It will not be easily led away from a genuine relationship with Christ. However, a discontented heart is the playground for the enemy and for false teachers. A discontented, grumbling heart will be prey for all who are willing to offer, “just what you’ve been missing.” Deception will be found by the ungrateful heart.
Paul is tells us throughout his epistles that a thankful heart is an indication of the health of ones relationship with Christ. As one who has been changed, because of Love calling my name, I want to live in an attitude of thankfulness for the many blessings I have received.
The one final thing that stands out to me in this passage is, Paul is saying that it is possible to live as one who overflows with thanksgiving in the midst of the journey, in the midst of the growth process, in the midst of the darkness and in the light. Am I willing to allow my heart to be worked on in order to become one who overflows with thanksgiving?
Today I am thankful for Jesus and His unwavering devotion to me. For His commitment to teaching me to pursue Him, to become rooted in Him, to build my life on Him, to be established in Him, and for Him to initiate in me a heart that desires to overflow with thanksgiving for all that He is, every day, every moment on this journey. I am thankful.
Susan Craig says:January 24, 2015 at 2:55 am
I am thankful for my roots-for being taught about God at a young age and for receiving His gift of salvation in Jesus. I cannot remember a moment that I wasn’t aware of His existance. What a grounding this has been for me! The older I get, the more I appreciate walking and talking daily with Him. I am thankful He has always been there for me-through all the twists and turns and ups and downs of my journey. His constant presence may not always have been felt by me but I am thankful for His word that tells me that He has never/ever left me nor forsaken me. I thank Him for this sure promise and stand in that truth. This fills me with hope for the future and I am very thankful for that!
Sue Holmes says:January 24, 2015 at 10:30 am
I am becoming more & more convinced that it is gratitude that returns our focus to where it should be … the Author & Finisher of our faith. Unfortunately, life tends to become busy from time to time and I can find myself veering a bit off course. This is what has happened lately with hospital visits, medical tests & the resulting road trips added to existing personal health issues, various tasks born of both joy & duty, etc, etc, etc. It becomes easy to put up an appearance of being on top of things but reality is that I found myself starting the year sliding into a rut that I shall call “mistaken reality”.
It is in this rut that I experienced a gentle nudging to refocus and take a look at what God has been doing in my life rather than rigidly gazing at what the enemy would want me to believe is my ‘reality’. My Father looked at where I was and He wasn’t content for me to stay there. His nature wouldn’t force me to change my focus and gaze on Him but it would compel Him to call out to me and remind me that ‘the rut’ wasn’t the dwelling place He had in mind when we began our journey together. He asked me to gaze upon His reality for my life. He asked me to look at what He had been doing in & around me when I was looking elsewhere. He reminded me that I had a choice and He asked me to be grateful.
And then came this study … on gratitude. This will be one of the things that mark the beginning of my journey of gratitude for 2015 – one of the many things I will purposely be grateful for this year. My Father knows me only too well and knows my need for accountability at this point.
I like that you have started at the very basic element of the Christian life … relationship and the fact that it is a living, growing organism. I don’t remember a time since commiting my life to Christ at an early age that He hasn’t been there. But there have, on the other hand, been times when I have distant and distracted. Keeping it real … in spite of His faithfulness I have allowed myself at times to become catatonic in my relationship with the Living God.
Paul points out that the first step in this relationship is to walk. Catatonic people don’t walk. My personal experience is that if I don’t exercise my relunctant, sometimes unwilling muscles they will become stiff and unresponsive. The same applies to my relationship with God.
Paul describes this walk as a living journey … becoming deeply rooted, becoming firmly established as we grow in relationship and then overflowing in gratitude. Having done a Navigators “2:7” discipleship course many years ago (based on Colossians 2:7) I’m reminded that these very verses are the basis of discipleship in Christ – the basis of relationship. This relationship Christ has invited me into is one of continual strengthening & assurance. It is one that equips me to fight the battles that might otherwise have me gazing at the walls of the rut I choose over Him.
Like Susan C., I am thankful for my roots. I am thankful for salvation. I am thankful for His faithfulness in the midst of my unfaithfulness. I am thankful for a Father who displays reckless, crazy Love and will call His child out of the ruts of life back into a place of communion and relationship with Him. And I am thankful for each of you, His body, who have been His hands used in lifting me up, exhorting, edifying and urging me on in this race called life.
Jim Holmes says:January 24, 2015 at 10:51 am
We have an awesome living “prodigal” God. In a recent bible study, we looked at the incomprehensible depth to which Jesus went to bring us into a glorious relationship with His Father and with him. In the story of the Prodigal son, the returning son who spent all the inheritance his father gave him comes back home with nothing but a changed heart. What was left, all belonged to his elder brother. The only thing the returning son could have was what the elder brother could give him…but the elder brother did not have the giving heart of his father. Jesus was likened to the “true elder brother” who after we had spent and wasted all of what God gave us, that is, after we wasted our hope of any relationship with Him, and to have a relationship with Him…Jesus gives all He has…for us to have an abiding, eternal life with both He, and His Father. We wasted our life…and Jesus (being prodigal) wasted His for us. I am reiterating this story to you because it cuts deep when it comes to ingratitude. We come to God wasted, with nothing, but the hope of the gospel…that the Word of the gospel is true…that God so loved us, that while we were yet sinners (cut off from God), God so loved us, that He gave His only Son for us…. so that we could be brought into a deep loving relationship with God. What God did for us, makes me “forever grateful”. We are a people rooted in God’s love. The example that “Jesus set as an elder brother” , pictures how we are to live… conformed to Him, built up in Him, crucified with Him…our lives wasted in Him, becoming like Him…we who were poor, having nothing, have become rich, in living relationship with both God the Father and His Son…and in doing so are overflowing with thankfulness.
Betty MN says:January 24, 2015 at 5:26 pm
Wow 50 days!
I am thankful for my family. Also, thankful to be able to join in this study.
Freda says:January 24, 2015 at 5:31 pm
We are glad to have you join us Betty 🙂
Pat McRae says:January 24, 2015 at 7:53 pm
WOW! I am thankful for a God who can connect hearts over many, many miles by His Spirit. As I was doing my morning declaration this was the thought He dropped in my heart: When your heart is full of thanksgiving it can not be full of grumbling and complaining. It is from the heart the mouth speaks, so speak a whole lot of thanks today.
I am thankful to be back studying God’s Word with you all and seeing all your wonderful encouraging remarks. Thank you for the blessing of 50 days of pure joy.
Karen says:January 25, 2015 at 12:06 am
Grace transforming Karen’s attitude…….gratitude!