Overflowing with Gratitude

We look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen; for the things which are seen are temporal, but the things which are not seen are eternal.

–2 Corinthians 4:18

So far in Colossians 2, we’ve studied four secrets for standing firm in your faith:

  1. Strengthen your mind with God’s Word
  2. Remain unified with other believers
  3. Be assured of the identity and sufficiency of Christ
  4. Walk in Christ

Paul’s fifth secret for remaining strong in your faith is to express gratitude to God regularly. Verses 6–7 say, “Walk in Him, having been firmly rooted and now being built up in Him and established in your faith, just as you were instructed, and overflowing with gratitude.” Paul was concerned about Christians who were chasing after other gods and philosophies to satisfy the hunger in their lives. But when you take inventory of the good things God has done for you, you’re less likely to wander away from Him. Why would you want to leave the source of all the blessings in your life? To stand firm in your faith, you need to be “overflowing with gratitude.”

In Greek, the word translated as “overflowing” refers to a river that overflows its banks, splashing anybody who stands nearby. Are the people around you getting splashed by your appreciation and admiration of God, or is their interest in God being extinguished by your grumbling and cynicism?

For many of us, expressing gratitude regularly is easier said than done. How do you maintain your gratitude when you’re facing difficulty?

On October 16, 1982, the Wisconsin Badgers hosted the Michigan State Spartans in front of nearly eighty thousand football fans. The game got off to a slow start. But then the Badgers fans began cheering, seemingly at random. They chanted a name: “Coop! Coop! Coop!” Then they went wild in the third quarter, though Michigan State was threatening to score. The Michigan State coach was confused. Who was Coop? Why were the home fans applauding when the visiting team was doing well? It turns out that seventy miles away, the Milwaukee Brewers were mounting a comeback in game four of the World Series. The fans in the football stadium were listening to the baseball game on portable radios. They weren’t responding to what was happening in front of their eyes; they were responding to what was invisible but very real.

Similarly, your focus should not be on the circumstances in front of you but on the invisible God who is in control of your circumstances. That’s the key to a life overflowing with gratitude.

***

Today’s devotion is adapted from “Walking in Christ” by Dr. Robert Jeffress, 2011.

Richard P. Jones, “Muddy Waters Says He Was Confused at First by…” UPI, October 16, 1982, https://www.upi.com/Archives/1982/10/16/Muddy-Waters-says-he-was-confused-at-first-by/3701403588800/.

Scripture quotations taken from the (NASB®) New American Standard Bible®, Copyright © 1960, 1971, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission. All rights reserved. www.lockman.org.

 

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