The next few verses that jumped out at me in Colossians really drive home something that should be core to our lives as believers.
Colossians 2:6-7 Therefore, as you received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in him,7 rooted and built up in him and established in the faith, just as you were taught, abounding in thanksgiving.
It’s that last part, “abounding in thanksgiving.” What does the word thanksgiving actually mean? Here are the definitions.
The act of giving thanks; grateful acknowledgment of benefits or favors, especially to God.
An expression of thanks, especially to God.
A public celebration in acknowledgment of divine favor or kindness.
And this verse isn’t just saying for us to have a little thanksgiving, it says we should be abounding in it. That means we should be filled with it, overflowing with it!
Times are tough right now. I know that, and I’m sure you do too. There are some scary things going on in our world. Morality is in the toilet, believers are called haters simply because we don’t support every single thing that the world does, there are plenty of reasons you can list as to why you don’t feel full of a spirit of thanksgiving. If you look at them a certain way, circumstances are always going to seem to be against you. That’s pretty much the truth for any person. And whether those circumstances truly are against you, if you’ve got Jesus in you then you’ve got a reason to be thankful. You’ve got the truest and deepest source of thanksgiving ever known living right inside of you. With Jesus there’s always a reason to celebrate, even in the stormiest weather.
The question becomes what people see when they look at you. Someone from the outside, a co-worker or an acquaintance, would they say you have a spirit of thanksgiving? Even on the tough days in the office, do your co-workers notice thanksgiving in you? Even on the hard days at school, do the other students notice thanksgiving in you? Because look at the definition again. There’s nothing silent about thanksgiving, and it’s not all that private of a thing either. It’s an “act” of giving thanks, which means something you do, an action you take. It’s an “expression” of thanks. It’s a “public celebration”. If there’s anything those around us should know about us as Christians, it’s that we are full of thanksgiving. We’re thankful for our morning coffee, for the weekend, for a moment to share a laugh with a co-worker, for a moment to catch our breath, for work to keep us busy and keep us earning money, for challenges to overcome. We should be a people known far and wide for our spirit of thanksgiving!
I really want to challenge everyone who’s reading this to look hard at your life. Are you overflowing with thanksgiving? Or have you let the darkness in the world rob you of it? Or have you fallen in with the negative naysayers in your life who hate everything? I’ll fully admit to that one. In many of my old workplaces I’d have my spirit of thanksgiving disappear and be replaced by the spirit of negativity. Everyone else felt mistreated, hated the boss, thought the work was unfair, and so guess what, I did too. Instead of standing out and shining a light as the one person in the place that was full of thanksgiving no matter what everyone around me was doing and saying, I became just another face in the crowd. Because I wanted to fit in, and I wanted to be liked. How I’d love to be able to talk to my younger self, to tell him what fitting in and being liked got him versus what taking a stand for Jesus and being filled with thanksgiving would’ve gotten him.
I want to challenge you today to really dig deep and be honest with yourself about your spirit of thanksgiving. Do you have any? If not, why not? Where did it go? There are some days when it’s hard to summon up a spirit of thanksgiving. Trust me, I’m coming off the start of the year that saw me in the hospital, homebound for over a month, making almost no money, stuck relying on others to lift me out of bed so I could barely make my way to the bathroom with a walker. Then they had to lift me back into bed! I know not every day causes you to want to dance in the middle of the street and scream the name of Jesus with a smile on your face. But there is always something to be thankful for with Jesus, and we are called not to just be a little bit thankful, but to be filled to overflowing with thanksgiving. If this is an area of struggle for you, bring it to the King in prayer. Ask Jesus to help you find your thanksgiving again, ask Him to renew your spirit of joy. I gotta believe that’s a request He’s going to honor.
PRAYER AND CLOSING
Father God, today I thank you. Your word says we should be abounding in thanksgiving. So first I just want to thank you for some things. I thank you for your word, because it is everything to me. Without the Bible I just don’t know where I’d be. It’s your book, about you, it’s how you reveal yourself to me and I’m so thankful that I get to know you. You’re a god who gives us his diary, the story of himself, and I delight in that. I want to know you more, I want us to be best friends! And through your word we grow closer, and my knowledge of you grows deeper. So thank you for that, Lord. I’m so thankful for my family that has supported me and helped me in my recovery. I’m so thankful for my friends, both old and new, who have loved me and prayed for me. I’m so thankful for the renewed confidence and boldness that you’re building in me. I’m thankful that my new friends are starting to meet the real me, full of laughter and joy and life. I’m thankful for the new life in me, the renewed body that grows stronger and healthier every day. I’m thankful that my purpose is to use it all for your glory, thankful that I get a chance to spread your love in this world and to proclaim your goodness. Father, right now I want to pray for those who have lost their spirit of thanksgiving. The world can rob us of so much if we let it, and right now I take up a battle cry against this. I want to lead the charge in this fight and tell the world that we’re done letting it rob us of our thanksgiving and our joy. Right now in prayer, I fight on behalf of anyone who’s lost their thanksgiving and joy. In the name of Jesus, I stand against worry, doubt, negativity, selfishness, lust, anger, jealousy, pride, I stand against anything that might’ve stolen the thankfulness and joy from anyone who I know or anyone who is reading this. I stand with the backing of the most high king, the King of Kings, and I say that we’re taking our thanksgiving and joy back. We delight in you, Jesus, and in you there is always a reason for thanksgiving. I ask in your powerful name that you restore thanksgiving and joy to your people, fill them so much that they become thankful for even the smallest things. Let them be thankful for extra napkins at the restaurant, for the green light in traffic, for the shape of the cloud in the sky. Lord, let today be the day that their thanksgiving is re-established, and let it be a domino that sets off a chain reaction in their life and the lives around them. Let it be the start of a God revolution in their area, a move so powerful that you just come sweeping through. Because where there is thanksgiving and joy there is you, my King, and where you are there is goodness and salvation and deliverance and love. I’m so thankful for you, God, and so thankful for where you have me in life. I want more of it. More of you, and all that brings. I pray all these things in the precious name of Jesus, amen.
Well, it’s just about the weekend. I hope everyone had a great week and that the weekend is filled with rest and fun. I really felt the love of God so strongly this week, it’s just been such an incredible week for me. God loves each and every one of you, also. Know that truth, and exist within it.