Colossians 2:6-7 (AMP) Therefore as you have received Christ Jesus the Lord, walk in [union with] Him [reflecting His character in the things you do and say—living lives that lead others away from sin], having been deeply rooted [in Him] and now being continually built up in Him and [becoming increasingly more] established in your faith, just as you were taught, and overflowing in it with gratitude.
Every November I start each morning posting what I am thankful for. A heart of thanksgiving will overflow with gratitude. It is the fruit of us being deeply rooted in Jesus. It is proof of our faith. It helps build our faith because we choose to overflow in it with gratitude.
Last week my church finished up a six week small group plan following Get Out of Your Head, a study in Philippians, by Jennie Allen. The final chapter talks about anxiety. Could we be focused on fear of a real or, often really the case, perceived threat? Can we trust God, even if?
Philippians 4:8 (AMP) Finally, believers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable and worthy of respect, whatever is right and confirmed by God’s word, whatever is pure and wholesome, whatever is lovely and brings peace, whatever is admirable and of good repute; if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think continually on these things [center your mind on them, and implant them in your heart].
Philippians 4:8 is one of my go to verses that I often meditate on. Why? My mind wants to spiral into some crazy thoughts. Often we think of all the things that can go wrong when presented with a challenge. In reality the more success we have is when we focus on all the things that can go right. The same is with our relationships. If I cannot think of our brothers and sisters in Christ this way, I have a deep issue that has not been rooted in His love. If I cannot bring our minds to think on things that is worthy of praise, if I cannot implant His Word in my heart, I have a deep rooted issue centered on not trusting God.
A couple of years ago a church that we had a semi relationship with (our youth groups would get together) hurt me pretty bad. They had started using some of my youth leaders to do various helps in their church, without us knowing. These leaders eventually left ours to join in with their leadership team because of the relationship they developed. My heart hurt and we cut ties with that other church. Even though what they did was wrong, I became so consumed to what they did and what they are doing that bitterness and eventually depression set it. I had allowed it to do that to happen a year ago. I still had friendships in that church, but I cut off all communication with the pastors. I stayed away from my friends because I did not want to spew my hurt onto them. I do honor the office of a pastor and we should not use the reason of hurt to talk bad about them (James 4:11). When I did come together again, with my friend, I did tell them why, but I did tell the I her I was working through my hurt. I always encourage her to honor her pastors, to join in and help with the vision of the church. I have also started to pray for the church, not to see their errors, but to fulfill the vision that God put inside of them. I am not ready to see them again. I will continue to pray. I focus my mind on what is worthy of praise. They are called by God with a purpose. They are bringing people into the Kingdom.
You do not have to wait to feel good to start having a time of thanksgiving. Joy will start to come out of your praise. Praise even when you are hurting, that is the way out of it. Start with just one. You might say, I cannot come up with thirty things. Just think and be thankful one day at a time. Before you know it, you will have filled the whole month with thanksgiving. Here are a couple of ideas if you need help:
Father, I thank you for challenging us to see the best in others. My hearts desire is to grow close in your presence, because in your presence is fullness of joy. I repent for speaking words or having thoughts that slander my brothers and sisters in Christ. I choose today to think on things that pure, lovely, virtuous, and to not take an account of a suffered wrong. I speak blessings on those that hurt me. May they be successful and favored in every place they go. May they minister the gospel and set people free by pointing them to your Son. I am thankful for the forgiveness you have given me so that I may freely give it to others. Thank you for leading me. Thank you for the friendships that I have. I thank you that we point each other back to Christ. I thank you for surrounding me and rooting me in your love. In Jesus Name, Amen.