So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live in him,rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness. (Colossians 2:6-7 NIV)
How often do you feel like “overflowing with thankfulness?” Maybe you feel like that on Thanksgiving Day, as you gaze around a full dinner table at friends and family you don’t get to see very often. Perhaps you feel like overflowing with thankfulness after a particularly difficult project at work is completed successfully, or a child graduates from high school, or you pass a very difficult final exam.
But day in and day out, you and I might struggle to overflow with thankfulness. We may have more days when we feel anxiety than we do thankfulness. We might feel depressed more days in a month than we feel like giving thanks. Negativity and resentment might be our constant companions. Why is that?
There are many reasons we don’t feel thankful, but at the end of the day, they all have a common source – our sin. Anxiety can be traced to stressful situations brought on by difficult relationships at work or home or school. Depression can come from physical ailments or unsolvable emotional difficulties. Negativity can come from focusing on the problems we have in this life.
Take a look again at the words from the beginning of this article. Paul encouraged his friends to focus on Jesus, not just to remember how they received salvation from him, but to live in Jesus each and every day. “So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord continue to live in him.”
How did you receive Jesus as Lord? Purely by grace. The Word of the Gospel worked faith in you when were baptized into His life as an infant or when you heard the Word of the Gospel when you were older. Jesus saved you simply because that’s what Jesus does.
God’s Word leads us to live in Jesus every day, “rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness.” You are rooted and built up in Christ Jesus when you are cultivated in God’s Word through Bible study and devotion. When you meditate on the Scriptures, you are strengthened in the faith you were taught.
And what is the result? Thankfulness. When God leads us to focus more on what He has done for us and less on the things that make us unhappy, thankfulness is one of the results. So spend time listening to God in His Word today. Live in Christ, and watch the thankfulness overflow.