“Therefore, as you received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in him, rooted and built up in him and established in the faith, just as you were taught, abounding in thanksgiving.”
Have you ever wondered what it would look like if someone were to perfectly follow Christ? Well Paul gives us a pretty good idea of what it would look like here in this short passage from Colossians. He says someone who is walking with Jesus, rooted, built up, and established in Him, is marked by one thing in particular – abounding thanksgiving.
Of all the words we might think of to describe a follower of Jesus, thankful may not even be at the top of our list. We would probably think of words like holy, righteous, kind, loving, generous, or merciful before we thought to mention thankful. Not that any of these would be wrong answers, but there is a reason why Paul would choose to describe a follower of
Jesus as “abounding in thanksgiving.”
Think about it. If a person were to walk up to you and hand you the keys and the deed to a multimillion dollar mansion and say “I bought this house for you. It’s yours,” what would be your most overwhelming reaction? If I had to guess, it would be thankfulness (after the shock wears off of course). Why then is that not the characteristic that marks the lives of many Christians? We’ve certainly been given something far better than a mansion.
If you believe in the gospel of Jesus Christ, then there are a few things that are understood. First, you and I and everyone else in the world are sinners. Second, sin is punishable by death, and therefore we deserve to be punished for our sin. Third, and most importantly, Jesus knew the punishment that we faced, and he knew that we could never make up for our sin on our own, so He took the punishment for us. He plead guilty to our sin, and bore the punishment that we deserved. He was tortured and crucified. However, Jesus being the Son of God, death could not hold Him, and he rose from the dead to walk the Earth again. He defeated death once and for all, and those who believe in Him and accept his sacrifice share in His victory, not because of our goodness, but because of His.
If you really believe these things to be true, that is, if your life is rooted and built up and established on this faith, how could you not be abundantly thankful? It is the only logical reaction to such an incredible gift. A life marked by gratitude produces holiness, righteousness, love, mercy, and generosity – all of the things we mentioned earlier. Only when we fully realize the true severity of the sacrifice made on our behalf can we fully appreciate the gift given to us. Out of our thanksgiving to God for his mercy through Christ, obedience flows.
Thank you. You have blessed us with a gift greater than anything we could ask for or imagine. Thank you for the sacrifice you made through Jesus for our salvation. Forgive me for the ways I have fallen short. Help me understand the love Christ poured out for me on the cross. Help me to be thankful always for the precious gift I’ve been given.
In Jesus’ Name,