Giving Thanks

Colossians 3:1-4 NIV

Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.

When we believe in Jesus Christ to be Lord (owner-master) and Savior of our lives, we die with him to sin and to self, and we are raised with him to newness of life, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness (See: Rom. 6:1-23; Eph. 4:17-24; 1 Pet. 2:24; Gal. 2:20).

But, this is not a one-time deal. And, this death to sin and living to righteousness is not optional, either. For, we must daily die to sin and to self, and we must daily walk in obedience to our Lord if we want to have eternal life with God and the hope of heaven when we die (See: Lu. 9:23-25; Rom. 8:1-17; Gal. 5:19-21; 1 Jn. 1:5-9; Gal. 6:7-8).

Belief in Jesus Christ is also not words we say or something we give assent to in our minds or some emotional decision we made at one time. Belief in Jesus Christ is God-given, and it is divinely persuaded as to God’s holiness and righteousness and of the necessity that we must also walk in holiness and righteousness in the power of God within us. And, belief in Jesus Christ is continuous, ongoing and it must endure to the end of time (Col 1:21-23).

Therefore, since we have died (and are dying) with Christ to sin and to self, and we are living to him and to his righteousness, and we are no longer walking in the ways of our flesh, we must set our hearts on things above (of God) and not on the things of this earth. We must come out from this world and be separate and we should no longer live like we did before we believed in Jesus Christ. But, our minds and our hearts must be set on pleasing God.

Colossians 3:5-11 NIV

Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry. Because of these, the wrath of God is coming. You used to walk in these ways, in the life you once lived. But now you must also rid yourselves of all such things as these: anger, rage, malice, slander, and filthy language from your lips. Do not lie to each other, since you have taken off your old self with its practices and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator. Here there is no Gentile or Jew, circumcised or uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave or free, but Christ is all, and is in all.

Again, these things are not optional for the life of a follower of Jesus Christ. We can’t have one foot in the world and the other in heaven. We can’t live according to the flesh and according to the Spirit at the same time. I’m not saying we will all be perfect, but that lack of perfection is never to be used as an excuse to engage in willful and continuous sin.

In other words, we are to no longer be those who make sin our practice, but holiness and righteous living, and living to please our Father in heaven, should be what we practice.

As followers of Jesus Christ, daily we should be putting these sins to death. And, I am not saying that we can continue in these sins and then just confess them every time we sin, either. These sins should be eradicated from our lives. They should have no place in our lives whatsoever, and this includes we should not be entertaining ourselves by other people’s sins, either, via TV shows, movies, videos, music, video games, and the like.

Yet, the sad reality today is that so many people who call themselves Christians have not died to sin, nor are their lifestyles marked by living to righteousness. They take so much of the world into their minds and hearts daily that they have adopted the ways, the thinking, the attitudes, the values and the beliefs of the world instead of those of Christ, their Lord.

They assume, too, that anyone who has said he or she is a Christian, and/or even those they considered to be “good people,” are going to heaven when they die. They assume, too, that if anyone claims to be a Christian that he or she loves Jesus and is looking forward to being with the Lord for eternity, and is longing for his return. But, that is a false assumption, and not one that we should make, nor is it biblical.

Jesus said that if we want to come after him that we must deny self and take up our cross daily (die daily to sin and self) and follow (obey) him. He said if we hold on to our former lives (of living to sin and to self) that we will lose them for eternity. But, if we lose our lives (die with him to sin and to self), for his sake, then we have eternal life with God (Lu. 9:23-25).

Colossians 3:12-14 NIV

Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.

The essence of the gospel message is that, because Jesus Christ died on a cross to put our sin to death, and because he was resurrected from the dead in victory over sin and death, we who are his followers must die with him to sin and live with him to his righteousness (1 Pet. 2:24; Eph. 4:17-24).

Therefore, the Christian life is a life of putting sin to death and of daily putting on Christ and his righteousness and holiness. It is a life of setting our minds on things above and not on things of this earth. It is a life of resisting Satan, fleeing temptation, and drawing near to God in full assurance of faith.

Every day we must choose to follow our Lord or to follow our flesh. Every day we must deny self and sin and we must put on Christ and his love and his compassion. In fact, we must do this moment by moment in his power and in his strength at work within us, as we yield our lives over to him.

For, the world and sin and the flesh will always be trying to draw us back into the ways of sin and the world and flesh. But, we must resist them, and we must call on our Lord, and we must yield to God, instead. We must say “NO!” to ungodliness and fleshly lusts, and we must live self-controlled, upright and godly lives while we await our Lord’s soon return (Tit. 2:11-14).

So, instead of cheating, lying, stealing, committing adultery, being engrossed in sexual immorality, and hating and devouring one another, we should be those who tell the truth, who love one another with Christ’s love, and who forgive one another as Christ forgave us.

Colossians 3:15-17 NIV

Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. Let the message of Christ dwell among you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom through psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts. And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.

Today in America is a national holiday called “Thanksgiving” where traditionally we make a turkey and we may or may not stuff it with bread stuffing. Every family has their own traditions that they do for this holiday, so they won’t all be the same. But, the idea of “thanksgiving,” to me, should be to spend time in giving thanks to God for who he is and for what he has done for us, and for all his many blessings to us, his people, his church.

Nonetheless, even “Christian” families will spend the whole day without giving honor or praise or thanks to God at all, but will spend the day focusing on their own traditions, and on the food, and on stuffing themselves full just like the turkey, and on entertaining themselves. So, it becomes not a day of thanks to God at all, but a day to please our flesh.

Instead, how should we spend a day we call “Thanksgiving”? We should be spending it honoring our Lord and giving him thanks for all that he has done. But, our thanks can’t be in words only with empty praise. He can’t be on our lips only, in other words, for our true praise and thanksgiving to God has to be with our very lives, which either honor him or they don’t.

So, today, on this day designated to be a day of thanksgiving, let us truly thank the Lord for who he is and for all he has done for us, but not with empty words of praise, but with our very lives. And, then let that spill over in how we treat others, especially the family of God, and let us encourage one another to all walk in a manner worthy of our God.

For Our Nation

An Original Work / September 11, 2012

Bombs are bursting. Night is falling.
Jesus Christ is gently calling
You to follow Him in all ways.
Trust Him with your life today.
Make Him your Lord and your Savior.
Turn from your sin. Follow Jesus.
He will forgive you of your sin;
Cleanse your heart, made new within.

Men betraying: Our trust fraying.
On our knees to God we’re praying,
Seeking God to give us answers
That are only found in Him.
God is sovereign over all things.
Nothing from His mind escaping.
He has all things under His command,
And will work all for good.

Jesus Christ is gently calling
You to follow Him in all ways.

Men deceiving: we’re believing
In our Lord, and interceding
For our nation and its people
To obey their God today.
He is our hope for our future.
For our wounds He offers suture.
He is all we need for this life.
Trust Him with your life today.

Thursday, November 22, 2018

2 thoughts on “Giving Thanks

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