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
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)