Dear Fellow Believers in Christ, (Thanks be to God for His Indescribable Gift - Christ our Savior and Life)
We have a love fellowship with the Father through the Son. Thanksgiving is an integral part of that love fellowship. How does thanksgiving help us be anxious for nothing? How does thanksgiving release Christ in us to guard our hearts and minds? How is Christ the focus of all the things Paul encourages us to "think on" in Philippians 4:8? What is a genuine sacrifice of praise that we offer up to Him? How do you give thanks in everything? Is it Christ -- the unspeakable or indescribable gift that Paul discusses? Holy Spirit please speak and confirm the Word to assure our hearts and minds today of the truth of Christ in thanksgiving
"But above all these things put on love, which is the bond of perfection. And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to which also you were called in one body; and be thankful" (Col. 3: 14,15).
First, Thanksgiving is an Outworking of Love and Peace in Our Hearts
Paul shares with us, that love is to be put on the top shelf, as a mark of a mature birthed son of God. For if we do, then the peace of God will rule in our hearts and souls (Col. 3:14,15). When you have the peace of God, you are not reacting to your circumstances and situations, that old C&S gang that comes our way. No, we are simply trusting God through it all. When you have the peace of God, you let Christ flow His Spirit of love through you in response to everything and everybody that comes your way. His love response flows to members of the Body of Christ to edify and build up. His love response flows to those who are in need and hurting with help and encouragement as a medicine to the wounds. Is it easy to be thankful when the peace of God is flowing in your hearts? Sure it is, when you are not being filled with the anxiousness of life.
Second, Thanksgiving Works Hand-in-Hand with Prayer and Supplication
Paul's love command states, "Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God" (Phil 4:6). Often our thanksgiving works hand-in-hand with prayer and supplication to God. When our prayers and supplications have moved beyond a selfish mode of praying centered on just ourselves, then the focus on God and the needs of others will move us into a spirit of thanksgiving. For we are reminded of just Who our awesome God is. Also, we are aware of the great things that He has done. Both are genuine reasons for thanksgiving.
Third, Thanksgiving Releases Christ in Us to Guard Our Hearts and Minds
Thanksgiving continues to work in us. "And the peace of God which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts, and minds through Christ Jesus" (Phil. 4:7). Thanksgiving works with prayer and supplication to keep us focused on God and Christ. Christ Himself is the peace of God who guards our hearts and minds (Eph. 2:14). Christ is our life, and lives in and through us (I John 5:11, Col. 1:27). "It is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me" (Gal.2:20). This is not just wishful thinking, but should be a living reality in every birthed son of God. Let's look at the results of this reality of Christ living in us out of Philippians 4:8. "Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true," – Christ is the way, the truth, the life (John 14:6). "Whatsoever things are noble," – Letting Christ live in and through us is the most noble thing we can do. "Whatsoever things are just," – We are justified by His shed blood. "Whatsoever things are pure" – Christ is the absolute purity and the righteousness and holiness of God. "Whatever things are of good report" – Christ is our good news and the gospel of our salvation. "If there is any virtue and if there be anything praiseworthy – meditate on these things." Christ is the virtuous One. He is worthy of all praise.
Fourth, Christ in Us Lives a Life of Thanksgiving to the Father Through Us
"Therefore, through Him let us continually offer up the sacrifice of praise through to God always, this ever is the fruit of the lips continually giving thanks to His name" (Hebr. 13:15, expanded Greek text). Christ is the praiser of the Father in us. Paul tells us that because we are rebirthed sons, that God the Father "has sent forth the Spirit of His Son into your hearts, crying out Abba, Father!" (Gal. 4:6). We know that we are sons and have a loving fellowship with our Father through His Son within us. As that fellowship increases, it automatically comes out in thanksgiving, praise and worship to the Father and others. "And walk in love, as Christ also has loved us and given Himself for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet-smelling aroma" (Eph. 5:2). We don't talk and walk in temporal sin and foolishness, which is not fitting rebirthed sons, "but rather giving of thanks" (Eph. 5:4). Christ in us lives a life of thanksgiving and praise to the Father through us.
Fifth, Christ in Us Lives for Others to the Thanksgiving and Glory of God
"But we are bound to give thanks to God always for you, brethren beloved by the Lord because God from the beginning chose you for salvation through sanctification by the Spirit and belief in the truth, to which He called you by our gospel, for the obtaining of the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ" (II Thess. 2:13,14). Paul said, he was bound to give thanks to God. Paul lived the Christ-life. Christ lived the love-life in Paul. Paul let Christ freely live in and through him (Gal. 2:20). Christ in him was the love-bond that bound him to give thanks for others. This is a body ministry. We cannot live apart from each other. We need each other to fulfill the fullness of the Body of Christ. When we allow Christ to live in and through us for others, His "grace, having spread through the many, may cause thanksgiving to abound to the glory of God" (II Cor 4:15).
Sixth, Being Filled in the Spirit Enables Us to Give Thanks in All Things
Paul gives us the love command to ever "be filled with the Spirit" (Eph. 5:18). This filling in the Spirit automatically overflows into, "speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord" (Eph. 5:19). Also, another direct result of being filled in the Spirit is "giving thanks always for all things to God the Father in the name of Jesus Christ" (Eph. 5:20). For certain, "We know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose" (Rom. 8:28). So, even if it is something we consider bad, we know our Father will work it together for good. This is why Paul also gives the love command, in everything ever "give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you" (I Thess. 5:18). This is only fulfilled through the Spirit and power of Christ in us.
Seventh, Christ and Our Father are the Ultimate Reason for Our Thanks
Paul said, Thanks be to God our Father "for His indescribable gift!" (II Cor. 9:15). That gift is Christ – His life and the grace we received at the Spiritual rebirthing, because of His finished work on the cross on our behalf to the Father. We shall forever worship and praise our God with thanksgiving (Rev. 7:12). We will give thanks to Him who sits on the throne, who lives forever (Rev. 4:9; 11:17). We will thank the Lord God Almighty and our Lord Jesus Christ, the Lamb – who are the absolute purity, light, and eternal glory (Rev. 21:22,23; 22:5).