Monday, September 7, 2020

And be Thankful...

"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)

All of us want peace in our lives, but few of us experience as much as we wish. We desire that sense of the peace of God that surpasses understanding, but how do we get it?

The Bible tells us that as believers, we do have objective peace with God. Of course, if we have sinned, we may need to renew our peace, but the peace is always available to us. Paul tells us, though, how to increase our experience of God’s peace. It is by living peaceably with other believers.

The church is Christ’s body, and if we have strife within the body of Christ, then we have strife with Christ Himself. The only way to peace is to have Christ ruling in our hearts as we live as members of one body. In Colossians 3:12–14, Paul has told us how to get this peace. We are to be compassionate, feeling for other people’s hurts. We are to be humble, putting others before ourselves. We must be patient, bearing with other people’s foibles and immaturity.

Beyond this, we must put up with one another and constantly forgive one another. We pray, “Forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us.” In the Old Testament law, “sins” include things that we fail to do. A “trespass” is more particular. It is an aggressive action on our part, by which we assault something that belongs to God. It is far easier to forgive people when they sin against us by forgetting to do something. It is painful to forgive people when they assault us. But all of us have trespassed against God, and we are to “forgive as the Lord forgave you” (3:13).

Beyond this, if we want to know more of the peace of God, we must be thankful (3:15, 17). We must learn to count our blessings. Our nature is such that we focus on the bad things that are going on around us, and we remember the bad things that God brings into our lives. We must take active steps to think about the many good things God has done for us, beginning with His act of creating us in the first place, and moving to His grace in saving us from damnation. We have to renew our thankfulness each day, for each day we tend to forget it, and we must express our thankfulness through prayer and praise (3:16).

To fail to count one’s blessings is an affront to the blessing-giver. We are too quick to overlook the beautiful gifts of our Father in heaven. Like the Israelites in the wilderness who tired of manna, we always demand more. As you pray, thank Him for all His blessings which you may be tempted to take for granted.