We are officially halfway through our study on How to be Thankful! How has your study been going? If you missed the first 2 weeks, don't fret. I think you will agree: learning how to be Thankful isn't just a November thing. I would encourage you to still go, grab Week 1 and Week 2 out of the line-up, and start the study now (or as soon as you can). Maybe just disregard the fall bonus activities!! This study is applicable to our lives year-round.
Remember: For your convenience, I have placed an asterisks * in the title of the 2 weekly articles which most directly hit on the study. Other articles are applications, reflections, and just plain fun stuff! There are really only two key posts to this study each week, they post on Sunday and Wednesday.
When I sat down to do the study this week, I felt a need to sort of review and reflect where I had been. It helped me to connect all the dots and see more clearly where I am going:
Week 1 we looked at the first part of Colossians Chapter 1 with emphasis on this passage:
11May you be strengthened with all power, according to his glorious might, for all endurance and patience with joy, 12giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints in light. 13He has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son, 14 in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.
- Colossians 1:11-14
We talked about how the key to gratitude, first and foremost, is Salvation. Without Salvation, we have no eternal gratitude and everything else is temporal... it is passing. We took time to Thank God for our Salvation (or seek Salvation if one did not already have it) and the joy and peace God gives us as a result... more than enough to even help us in difficult times.
Week 2 we finished up Chapter 1 and scoured Chapter 2, pouring over these verses:
Therefore, as you received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in him, rooted and built up in him and established in the faith, just as you were taught, abounding in thanksgiving.
We discussed the importance of a Christ-centered life and touched on HOW to have that. We saw where thankfulness should be in abundance (abounding) as an overflow of being rooted in Christ and His Word. We also considered some instructions for getting better rooted in Christ and bearing His fruit found in Galatians 5:16-26 and 1 Thessalonians 5:12-22.
This week I want to dive into Chapter 3 and take a look at the advice Paul gave the first century believers in Colosse on HOW to live a Christ-centered life so we can see How to be Thankful as the result of being Made New through Christ.
This week's reading and study plan (click on the image to open the PDF):
Scripture this week is from Colossians 3:1-17
Why is a new question I want to expound on this week. If you remember from the previous weeks, we talked about the Judaiser and multi-relgion/multi-culture influence the new believers in the bustling town of Colosse faced. The idea of religiousness (you have to earn your way to favor with God) and the confusing teachings, rules and ideas of what you could get away with as a Christian, were all nearly knocking the new believers off track. The idea of "freedom in Christ" could get rather confusing, but Paul comes to the rescue with some elaboration on this concept.
This week Paul says something we can easily glaze over if we aren't careful:
And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.
- Colossians 3:17
How many times in scripture (namely the New Testament) do we see that phrase and it's cousins, "in the name of the Lord Jesus..."? WHY do the disciples, and Jesus himself, keep using that phrase? The answer... In that period it was believed that a name was indicative of a person and their personality. How often in the Bible do we see names changed as the result of great (or not so great) feats? Jesus even changed Simon's name to Peter for the significance it would eventually have. He wasn't a rock at first... but he certainly became one as time, and Jesus's abundance of grace, went on. When believers were told to do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, they were essentially being told: take on the personality and characteristics of Jesus. "Christian", as we and they are known as today, is more than a title, it is our very identity and we should be living as such.
As we study this week, let's keep this fact at the forefront of our mind!
How can you take on your new identity in Christ and find gratitude in it?
This is the question we will answer this week.
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