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Gratitude: A Powerful Weapon

“Therefore, as you received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him, rooted and built up in Him and established in faith, just as you were taught, abounding in thanksgiving.” Colossians 2:6-7 (ESV).

As we prepare our hearts and our minds for the sermon this coming Sunday I want to take a moment to talk about what it means to walk in Christ, and how we can use thanksgiving as a powerful tool against the enemy. To best understand what these two verses are teaching, we need to take a step back and look at the context of Paul’s writing. At the time this letter was written he was sitting in prison, being persecuted for his faith. He is writing to the Colossians about the supremacy of Christ, encouraging them not to be deceived by the lies of the enemy, and giving them instructions on how they should be guarding themselves and living in obedience to God. With that in mind, I want to break down a few sections from this short passage.

“Therefore, as you received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him...” (v. 6)

Ephesians 2:8 says the following about how we receive Christ:

“For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God”

Our relationship with Christ Jesus starts with faith and also must continue in faith. It is a journey that we walk with Him daily (John 6:35). In an earlier passage of this letter, Paul said that he was praying for the church to “walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to him, bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God” (Colossians 1: 10). Therefore, we know that walking in Christ means to have faith in His saving work and live in a way that is fully pleasing to Him.

“Rooted and built up in Him and established in the faith...” (v. 7a)

So how are we supposed to know how to walk in a way that is fully pleasing to the Lord? We begin by being rooted in Him. This is an extremely important part of the Christian walk that we cannot overlook. According to Paul, the first step in living in a manner worthy of the Lord is to have our roots deeply planted in the person and work of Jesus Christ. It may seem easy to think of the saving work of Christ as simply the beginning of our Christian faith. After all, it is because of this work- His death, burial, and resurrection, that we are saved from our sin in the first place. However, Paul is arguing that this isn’t merely the starting point for believers, but rather it is the foundation. And it is this foundational truth that protects us from the deceit and delusion of false teaching.

“...abounding in thanksgiving” (v. 7b).

As we come to the end of these two verses Paul gives further instruction on how we can continue to walk in Christ. He says that we do so by abounding in thanksgiving. This is a powerful lesson that Paul is teaching and it is that when we walk in Christ, rooted in the truth of the gospel, our lives should overflow with gratitude.

If we look back at the beginning of chapter two, we will read that Paul is encouraging and praying and instructing the Colossians to walk in Christ so that they will not be deluded or deceived by the enemy. Now, just a few verses later, he is instructing them to abound in thanksgiving. This is because being rooted in Christ leads us to an overflowing gratitude that guards us against deceit.

Not only is Paul giving these instructions, but he himself is a living example of how being rooted in Christ and abounding in thanksgiving will guard our souls and minds against deceit.

Paul is talking about abounding in thanksgiving while he is sitting in prison - and he can sit in prison and still be overflowing with gratitude because he recognizes that he has a Savior that died so that he could live. He is encouraging us and reminding us that we have everything to be thankful for, no matter the circumstance because we have received Christ and He is walking with us. And that is why gratitude is such a powerful weapon against the enemy - because gratitude reminds us that no matter the trial or suffering, our God is good and he has given us more than we could ever deserve. (Romans 1:21)

 So, it is my prayer that as we prepare for the sermon this Sunday we remember that we are all called to walk in Christ, rooted in the truth of the gospel, choosing gratitude in all circumstances.

Posted by Abby Bumpus with

Who has your Heart?

Colossians  2:3 “in whom are hidden all treasures of wisdom and knowledge.”

The first day of class at most universities is called “syllabus day,” because professors do not usually start any lessons, but rather they unpack what the class will look like for the semester. However, for my economics class, it was a different story altogether. The professor simply wrote on the board this principle, “wherever you invest your money is where your heart is,” and then left. Whatever I invest money in informs others of my heart's bent. Matthew 12:34 adds dynamics to this thought by replacing money with words. In his clash with the Pharisees, Jesus makes plain that one’s words will always reflect their heart- “out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaks.”

Here we arrive at a crossroads of motive. Both the economic principle and Jesus’ very words point to a common stumbling block in the life of every Christian- their own hearts. The prophet Jeremiah warns us of the very real, and very deceitful force within our souls (Jer. 17:9). “What now, then?” “If my heart is deceitful, then what is the solution?” “What does this have to do with the treasures that are hidden in Christ?” Well, dear reader, let us look to the specific words that the Apostle Paul uses. The late R.C. Sproul was a champion of the importance of using the right words and the Apostle Paul is no different. Treasure- it is exactly what you think it is. It’s the treasure hinted at on the back of the Declaration of Independence. It is that kind of treasure.

Yet, as Paul clarifies, it is not treasure found in the form of gold and priceless artifacts, but in wisdom and knowledge.  You may be saying to yourself, “that’s anticlimactic.” However, the beauty of this treasure is made ever sweeter when one understands it’s purpose! Matthew Henry provides us with insight- “the treasures of wisdom [and knowledge] are not hidden from us but for us.” How wonderful is the reality that the greatest treasure, the wisdom and knowledge of Christ is not hidden from us, but hidden for us! This treasure has not been sealed away from greedy robbers, who would pillage and profit for selfish gain. No! This treasure has been unsealed by Holy Spirit and been made accessible for the Christian to peruse, to investigate, to discover, to invest in and- dare I say- obsess over! This is the treasure of treasures! Greater than the wealthiest of Pharaohs! Greater than the mythical El Dorado! All other treasures are empty- all other treasures pale in comparison to this treasure! Yes, all other treasures are not worth the financial investment and emotional obsession!

            Your faith, Christian, is not one that simply can be thought of as a train-ticket; granted at justification and shelved until its usage for boarding the heaven-bound train. J.I. Packer states it plainly, “What aim should we set ourselves in life? To know God” (Knowing God, p. 33). So we draw from this treasure daily as we seek to grow in our knowledge of God. We draw from this treasure- the treasure hidden in Christ, as one who obsesses over worldly treasure! Recall Jesus’ rebuke of the Pharisees, Believer! Remember the economic principle written on the board.

            Do your words hint at a heart so captivated by your Savior? Would your bank account be proof of a fervent pursuit for the things of the Lord? Do you truly seek Jesus till you have found him- remembering the promise that when we seek Him with all our hearts, we shall find him? (Jer. 29:13). This treasure has been made available to you- the question then remains, do you really want it?

Posted by Joel Arcieri with

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