Colossians 3:15 says, "And let the PEACE of the Messiah, to which you were also called in one body, control your hearts. Be THANKFUL."
Do you ever find yourself not feeling at peace during Thanksgiving? Have you been less thankful due to family drama or stress? Is it difficult to control your heart or your tongue? It seems that these are common feelings and situations that we often find ourselves in during this time of the year when we are supposed to be giving thanks. What is it that pushes us to the point where we blow up and end up looking like the people in the movies who have a family Thanksgiving gone wrong? Let's look at what God's word has to say about being at peace and being thankful, and hopefully we can apply these truths to our Thanksgiving this year.
Colossians 3:12-16a says, “12Therefore, God’s chosen ones, holy and loved, put on heartfelt compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience, 13accepting one another and forgiving one another if anyone has a complaint against another. Just as the Lord has forgiven you, so you must also forgive. 14Above all, put on love—the perfect bond of unity. 15And let the peace of the Messiah, to which you were also called in one body, control your hearts. Be thankful. 16aLet the message about the Messiah dwell richly among you…”
Whenever I am counseling a lady, who is a new believer in the faith, I will often read these verses to her, and have her write them down and memorize them. What a perfect picture of how our lives, as believers, should look. In Colossians 3:12, the Amplified Version of the Bible says to “clothe yourselves” instead of “put on”. We are to literally “put on” or “clothe ourselves” in all of the actions and qualities listed above. If we were to look exactly like verse 12 at Thanksgiving, then maybe the unpleasant family Thanksgiving movie scene would not happen in our homes. It is so easy to respond in a negative way when someone is speaking negatively to us. We may want to repay evil for evil, but God’s word speaks directly against that. 1 Peter 3:9 tells us to not repay evil for evil, or insult for insult, but to repay those actions with blessing.
Just recently, I was pulled over for going 14 miles per hour over the speed limit. As soon as I saw those blue lights turn on I became nervous. I just knew that I would be getting a ticket, and that the police officer would soon be scolding me for going so far over the speed limit. When the officer returned to my car with my driver’s license and registration he chose to not give me a ticket, which I full and well deserved, but chose instead to extend grace to me. I was completely shocked, and thankful, and was reminded of God’s grace that He gives us daily when we fail. What if, during this Thanksgiving, we show love, grace, and kindness, instead of repaying evil for evil and trying to win an argument? The truth is that we all have flaws and none of us are righteous. None of us deserve the cross, God’s grace, His mercy, or His forgiveness. Yet, He continually chooses to love us and desires for us to love Him and His people more. Let’s let His message about the Messiah dwell richly among us (Col 3:16). Join me in showing love and respect, and extending grace to others, even if it seems as though they are undeserving.
In summary, here are some practical steps that will help us have the best Thanksgiving we’ve ever had:
- Put off the old and don’t pick those filthy garments back up.
- Put on the new garments woven in HIS love.
- Let the message of HIM dwell richly in our souls. Spend time with God daily. It isn’t too late to prepare our hearts and souls for Thanksgiving.
- Colossians 3:14 – “Above all put on LOVE.” If we love others the way we were commanded then it will be easier to see the good in others and in situations.
Most of us probably have at least one unbeliever in our family. Let’s make sure we are being a light for Jesus and not giving them an excuse to not accept Christ due to our actions or hypocrisy!
– Lauren Holley, MSBC Women's Ministry Leader