Terry R Baughman is Lead Pastor for LifeChurch in Gilbert, AZ. See his complete bio at trbaughman.com
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Terry R. Baughman
“Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful” (Colossians 3:15).
Thankfulness is a choice. We can choose to be thankful or we can give in to complaints. We can practice gratefulness or join in with the complainers. We can make our lives into a practice of helpful and healthy choices or allow bitterness or personal disappointment to alienate our lives and negatively affect everyone around us. The Psalmist recognized that there is a daily resolve involved in our choices and he encouraged us to be thankful to God for His wonderful works.
It is apparent from the text that we can choose to be thankful! It is a state of being that is readily available any of us. Rather than giving in to adversarial attitudes that are so prevalent in the culture, we can be set apart through our steadfast commitment to thankful living. The fruit of our choices bring presence of His peace.
In our text Paul said, “Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts.” So, it must be within our ability to allow peace to prevail and within our strength to submit to the authority of Christ in our relationships. He explained that this happens because we are members of one body AND “we were called to peace.” The conclusion of the verse simply states, “And be thankful.”
It is our natural human response to oppose those who rule over us, resulting in our being filled with turmoil, while grumbling or complaining because of our lack as we begin to covet the blessings of others. The simple solution to all of these attitudes is to be thankful!
When we are thankful we will find ourselves at peace, unified with other members of the body of Christ. We will be grateful for our blessings and have the ability to rejoice with those who have more than we have and be willing to share with those who have less.
Unity of the body of Christ is a calling of the Spirit and thankfulness is the catalyst to promote that cohesiveness. As we respond to the leading of God and pursue righteousness we will find that we become more loving, united, and peaceful.
During a time of crisis and in the face of political divisiveness, God is calling us together. Through all of our unique diversity, our cultural preferences, and our varied ethnic influences there is a beautiful peace that is promised to those who will be thankful.
The directive to be thankful is found in both Testaments. In the Psalms we are given specific instruction on how we should come before the presence of the Lord. The 100th Psalm is “A Psalm of Thanksgiving.” In this song we are instructed, “Enter into His gates with thanksgiving, And into His courts with praise. Be thankful to Him, and bless His name” (Psalm 100:4). Come through His gates with an attitude of thanksgiving and continue into His dwelling with praise.
Our services are intentionally designed to begin with praise, worship songs, and expressions of thanksgiving toward God. It is appropriate to approach God with respect and honor, but we also must come before Him knowing that He is indeed worthy of honor, glory, and adoration. Whether in public service or private prayer, it is always right to praise Him and express our thankfulness for His provision.
Finally, we are instructed to “Be thankful to Him, and bless His name.” This is the Old Testament admonition to be thankful, not just as a positive attitude, but gratefulness directed toward God. We are to bless His name! It is overwhelming to think that we may bring glory and honor to the name of our Lord. This is why we sing songs that exalt the name of Jesus. This is a pleasing praise to our God.
Enter into His gates with thanksgiving, And into His courts with praise. Be thankful to Him, and bless His name” (Psalm 100:4 NKJ).