THE THANKS MINDSET
Loving and faithful God, I present myself to you. I long to be useful to you each day.
Read COLOSSIANS 1:1-8
1 Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, and Timothy our brother,
2 To God’s holy people in Colossae, the faithful brothers and sisters[a] in Christ:
Grace and peace to you from God our Father.[b]
Thanksgiving and Prayer
3 We always thank God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, when we pray for you, 4 because we have heard of your faith in Christ Jesus and of the love you have for all God’s people— 5 the faith and love that spring from the hope stored up for you in heaven and about which you have already heard in the true message of the gospel 6 that has come to you. In the same way, the gospel is bearing fruit and growing throughout the whole world—just as it has been doing among you since the day you heard it and truly understood God’s grace. 7 You learned it from Epaphras, our dear fellow servant,[c] who is a faithful minister of Christ on our[d] behalf, 8 and who also told us of your love in the Spirit.
New International Version (NIV)Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
Lord, forgive me that sometimes I do not feel in a thankful mood. Please, by your Spirit, help me to see the many reasons why I should thank you today.
Because I am writing this after months of pandemic lockdown which has depressed our spirits, I marvel even more at Paul’s deliberately positive mindset. Under house arrest, having heard from his trusted friend Epaphras (v 7) about this Colossian church and its troubles, Paul’s reaction is to begin with thanks (v 3) – a joyful note that continues through the whole letter. Thanks to God give a spiritual dynamic which motivates and inspires like nothing else. In contrast to the negatives we shall meet later, he knows the power of positive thanking, because it focuses on what God is doing. That’s always positive.
Three words focus these thanks: faith, love, and hope. Perhaps no surprise there? First, faith in Jesus Christ (v 4). Believers’ trust is foundational and when you hear others’ testimonies they should inspire thanks to God. Can you think of those whose transparent trust in Jesus lights you up? Second, the love you have for all the saints (v 4). When genuine believers show their love to each other, how we should rejoice that Jesus is truly building his kingdom. The word for love is agape – the sacrificial love that Jesus showed especially on the cross. It is so easy to focus on a church’s faults – its disappointments, hurts and divisions. The Colossian church could easily have depressed Paul because it harbored dangerously false teaching, but he focuses on their love for each other (v 8). Third, hope (v 5): ‘faith and love that spring from the hope’ grounded in God’s promises stored in heaven. These three are powerful signs that the gospel is bearing fruit in Colossae. Paul thinks about God’s work for these believers and focuses his thanks on this work. That’s how to be positive in prayer for the church.
Think about those for whom we can pray thankfully. Reflect on the positive signs of faith, love, and hope in your church fellowship because God is at work.
Faith, hope, and love! Lord, I too am thankful for what you have given to me; the gift of faith in Christ’s saving work, love in the fellowship of believers, and the hope of life eternal.
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