What are the blessings of a thankful heart?
29 May 2012

"Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts since as members of one body you were called to peace.  And be thankful." Colossians 3:15

What deeper life must Paul have had to be able to pen these words from prison? How can I find this deeper life for myself, so that no matter what is happening in my life I can let the peace of Christ rule in my heart and I can be thankful? Our son, Tyler, who is in Bible College always says, "Mom, you have to read the verse in context!"

 So, here is the context:

Paul writes from a Roman prison on living a Christian life. He tells us our life is, "hid with Christ in God."(Colossians 3:3) Next Paul gives us a list of things that must be taken out of our lives: impurity, greed, idolatry, anger, rage, malice, slander, filthy language... all these would hinder joy, peace and a thankful heart. How can one be thankful and greedy at the same time? (Colossians 3:5-11) Finally Paul tells us we are a chosen people: "Therefore, as God's chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience." (Colossians 3:12)

When we know we are dearly loved our world changes. We can face anything, give anything, and almost suffer anything because we know that no matter what happens we are loved! Sometimes life takes everything from us- every security, everything we counted on and looked for to give us hope and then we must look inward and upward for strength and grace. When we look upward to God we will find love!  Interesting that Paul begins this chapter on the Christian life with, "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." (Colossians 3:1, 2) This is the deeper life Paul had and the one you and I can have- to have hearts ruled by the peace of Christ. This peace comes from knowing we are dearly loved.

St. John Chrysostom writes:

“He who is engaged in the service of Christ draws himself up out of the turmoil and the stormy billows of life and takes his seat upon secure and lofty ground. For what position can be loftier or more secure than that in which a man has only one anxiety. How he ought to please God.”  [i]

As we set our hearts on pleasing God alone, we find ourselves secure in His love. Truly our hearts become so thankful for this love that makes us secure and lifts us up above all that troubles us.  As we are rooted and grounded in God’s love for us, we find our hearts ruled by the peace of Christ. The blessings of a thankful heart are peace and security and a deep abiding joy of knowing I am dearly loved.

[i] Chrysostom Letters to a Fallen Theodore Letter II.5; NPNF1 9:115