So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live your lives in him, rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness.
See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the elemental spiritual forces of this world rather than on Christ.
What overflows your life? Think about the people you regularly spend time with, like family members, friends, co-workers or classmates. What attitude would they say radiates from you? It might be grumpiness or happiness. It might be anger or cheerfulness. It might be worry or hope. Of all the attitudes that could overflow your life, thankfulness might be the best. That might, however, not be what comes naturally for many of us even though we have lots of reasons to be thankful, beginning with God’s grace and the promise of eternal life. Even when all things aren’t good and sweet around us, we still have abundant reasons to be thankful.
Notice that Paul doesn’t assume in these verses that “overflowing with thankfulness” will be the natural condition of our hearts. Perhaps with a long-maturing faith we will eventually reach a point when gratitude constantly flows from our words and actions, but for now, Paul encourages his readers to “continue to live your lives in [Christ Jesus].” It’s a choice we have to make, a commitment we have to keep. We have to work at it each day, living to honor Jesus, with strengthening faith and in a way that allows the gratitude of our hearts to overflow. In the same way, keeping Christ at the center of our lives will guard our minds against false teaching and the world’s temptations. That way, what flows out from us will be a reflection of what we have allowed to flow most richly into our hearts: God’s grace and the good news of Jesus.
When thankfulness overflows our lives, people will notice. We will stand out from the crowd that is so often characterized by cynical, fearful, critical and anxious attitudes. People will wonder why we are so positive and hopeful, so joyful and generous, and we will be able to give witness to the redeeming grace of Jesus Christ that has changed our hearts. We can be always thankful because God is always good.
Gracious Father, thank You for being so good to me. Thank You for sending Jesus to be my Savior. Thank You for hearing my prayers and showing me mercy. Help me to overflow with thankfulness and to help others discover Your grace, through Jesus my Lord. Amen.
Pastor Mike Mirakian