13 November 2013

A Thankful Heart First

Colossians 3:12-17

The beginning of this chapter focuses on putting on the new self and acting like a child of the Holy One. Verse 11 serves as a segue into how Christians should act towards each other without "distinction" of race or social status. Then verse 12 begins a beautiful narration of how a believer should resonate with Christ's attributes. Let's listen in!

"Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts"
With Christ as my Lord, my gratitude to Him will influence my love for and unity with other believers (vs. 14-15). The peace of Christ must rule in my heart. "Rule" literally means "to function like an umpire," and this is a vivid picture of how the Lord's presence should directly affect my emotions--reeling in those feelings of spite, irritation, or jealousy and calling them "Sin!" with the force and authority of an umpire. Then, sounding almost like an afterthought, Paul says, "And be thankful." But it's not an afterthought! Instead, it's the heart of the change. A thankful heart, aware of Christ's sacrifice and presence, will submit to His rule. A thankful heart sets the creature under the Creator, bowing to His call to unify.

"Let the word of Christ richly dwell within you"
Verse 16 talks about songs, and these songs were an effective way of remembering Christ's teachings through oral repetition and transmission. So it's not only about singing, per se, but also about reminding each other of the gospel, of the Word and how we are blessed. My thankfulness should motivate me to "sing" daily of the good news. Because I know His word, my conversations should revolve around His teachings.

"Do all in the name of the Lord Jesus"
Lastly, doing all in Christ's name is heavy stuff because of the third commandment, but my deep appreciation to God serves as a foundation for decision-making. A thankful heart precedes these actions. All I do should be a product of my giving thanks.

The peace, the word, and the name of Christ--do these rule my relationships, my conversations, and my decisions? I must be thankful first then go out and live. It cannot be the reverse--living life then choosing whether to be thankful or not.

Lord, this is so rich! Deepen my gratitude so I will pursue peace, sing of Your goodness, and honor Your name! 

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