We continually ask God to fill you with the knowledge of his will through all the wisdom and understanding that the Spirit gives, so that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and please him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God, being strengthened with all power according to his glorious might so that you may have great endurance and patience, and giving joyful thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of his holy people in the kingdom of light. For he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins (Colossians 1:9–14)
A primary characteristic of the new life is a spirit of thankfulness. Here Paul and Timothy are writing to the church at Colossae, and in these opening verses they pray that the believers will live out their new life. Not only that they might be strengthened so that they might endure and be patient, but all the while “giving joyful thanks to the Father.”
In the West today we so easily see what we’re missing, especially when advertising slogans continually reassure that “you’re worth it.” We might pine after physical things such as the latest smartphone or tablet. Or in our relationships – such as longing for a baby, to be married, for our kids to find fulfillment and so on. And yet when we stop and ponder all that we have, our outlook changes. We begin to wonder at the treasures we’ve already received. Our senses become open to beauty in all its places, even if just hearing the birdsong in a concrete jungle.
Poets and philosophers have seen thanksgiving as an overriding virtue throughout the ages. For instance, GK Chesterton said in his A Short History of England, “I would maintain that thanks are the highest form of thought, and that gratitude is happiness doubled by wonder.” Good advice for the new life.
Prayer: Triune God, change my spirit that I might give thanks in all things. Let me know how you pour out your love and mercy on me, making me clean.