Terry R. Baughman
“And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to which also you were called in one body; and be thankful” (Colossians 3:15).
God has always given us choices. From the beginning in the Garden of Eden there were choices given to the first couple He created. There was one tree that bore forbidden fruit. They were allowed to eat of every other tree but this one. Often we wonder, “Why did God even have such a tree in the garden?” It must be that in order for them to have a choice, there had to be a choice given. Before there can be a choice for good there must also be an option for evil. Disobedience is always an option for every commandment of God. God created man and gave him options, choices for a more productive and fulfilled life.
Thankfulness is a choice. Though the text teaches us to “be thankful,” by implication there is the option to be unthankful. A noted characteristic of the agnostics described in Romans was that they were not thankful. Paul said, “Although they knew God, they did not glorify Him as God, nor were thankful, but became futile in their thoughts, and their foolish hearts were darkened. Professing to be wise, they became fools” (Romans 1:21-22). Thankfulness is associated with faith and the recognition of God’s favor and provision.
Thankfulness and gratefulness go hand in hand. When one is grateful there is naturally a spirit of thanksgiving. Thankfulness is a natural response from a grateful heart. We have a choice. We can be grateful for God’s many blessings or we can look for all the bad things that come in life and grumble about our lack and the events that have brought unhappiness in our lives. When our attitude changes, so does our response to current events. When we begin to look at our blessings and confess our gratefulness there will also be a change in all of our outlook. We can make the choice to be grateful and offer praises of thanksgiving or we can make the choice to be ungrateful and frustration and disappointment will be our lot in life.
When we approach God in prayer there is a certain attitude that is expected. We have no reason for anxiety, no reason not to present our needs freely and confidently before God. “Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need” (Hebrews 4:16). With faith in God and a heart a thanksgiving we can ask in full assurance that He will hear our prayer.
Paul wrote to the Philippians and said, “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God” (Philippians 4:6). So it is “prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving.”
It is God’s desire to give us the kingdom, it is His will to bless us with spiritual blessings and often natural blessings also. Don’t hesitate to petition. Don’t neglect the praise and worship, and remember to be thankful. Paul also wrote, "Continue earnestly in prayer, being vigilant in it with thanksgiving" (Colossians 4:2).
Let His peace rule in your heart and be thankful!
“Giving thanks always for all things to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ” (Ephesians 5:20).