15 And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful. 16 Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God. 17 And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him. ESV
Each of these three verses admonish you to be thankful. Why should you be so thankful? To this point in the letter, Paul articulated incredibly glorious truths about how God lovingly lavishes his grace on believers. The Father of your Lord Jesus Christ has piled his goodness and grace on you by calling you out of the dark domain and into the kingdom of his beloved Son (1:13-15 ). He guards you with his power and smothers you in his grace every single day. You should be wildly thankful to God every moment of your life.
But that’s not how life works, is it? Your world is harsh and full of heartaches. You face challenges and set backs every day. Your Father, who calls you his beloved, knows every temptation you face and all of your disappointments that steal away your thankfulness. And he is always present, ready to help you overcome all of the junk of your old nature, all of the pressures from the world and every whisper from the Evil One.
Because you are in Christ, you have the choice to let the peace of Christ be the ruling authority in your heart. Remember, this letter was first and foremost written to the entire church in Colossae. The letter was read to them collectively. The command was for all of the believers, together, to let the peace of Christ rule over them and among them. It is no different in your church or your small group. Together, we are to help each other experience the joy of our salvation in thankfulness to our Father as we live in peace with God and with each other.
In 1:20, you were reminded that Jesus reconciled heaven and earth by bridging the great divide between his holy Father and rebellious mankind by making peace by the blood of his cross. His cross also reconciled the deep divisions between believers by making all of us one in him. We are completely equal in value and importance. The ground is level at the foot of the cross. Therefore, you are to do all that you can to let the peace of Christ rule over the divisions that arise in your church or among believers that you know. You can be the catalyst for reconciliation between bickering believers by reminding them that they are one in Christ. Be bold to do all you can to bring the peace of Christ into your church and among your believing friends. When you are tempted to join in some juicy gossip, resist by the power of God and ask him to fill you, and everyone else, with the full knowledge of his will so that the peace of Jesus pervades.
Because we are all one and there is no pecking order, you are to be deeply thankful: Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God. The word of Christ is to inhabit your meetings and your relationships. Everything you do and who you are must be solidly grounded on his Word. The Word not only dwells in every believer, it is to dwell richly. In 2:3, the Spirit revealed that all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge are hidden in Christ Jesus. Those rich treasures have been revealed to us in God's Word. There is nothing like it on the planet. The words of God are to permeate our conversations, be the basis of every sermon and teaching, and be the center of every song that is sung.
Even though Paul used three different words for music, the original text indicates that the words were synonyms. Think about it this way. Paul was so inspired by the Spirit as he was describing the glorious gathering of believers that he used multiple words to describe the beauty and power of God's saints singing his words back to him. Keeping God’s words dwelling in each believer is how a church can encourage one another to put on compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, patience and love (3:12-14). It is the declaration of God’s glorious doctrines in your gatherings and worship services that will create an atmosphere of authentic praise and thanksgiving.
If your church services, small group meetings or Bible studies don’t seem to be as centered on God’s Word as this passage instructs, then challenge the leaders to consider these verses.
It’s as if Paul was summing up all he had written in the letter to this point when he wrote v17: And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him. To do everything in the name of Jesus means that you are seeking first his kingdom and you are setting your mind on his Word (v16). Because you now represent Jesus Christ everywhere you go and in everything you do, your entire life is to be lived out from your allegiance to him. As you keep Jesus in mind in all that you think, say and do, you will become a more thankful person. The more you let his peace rule and his Word richly dwell in you, you will experience living in the tangible presence of God (3:1-4). There is nothing more joyful than being fully confident that God is always with you and you with him.
Thank God that you have been given Christ’s peace. Thank him that his Word is renewing your mind. Thank him that he is helping you, by his grace, in all that you think, say and do. Give thanks to God your Father through Jesus Christ your Lord.
- Read the passage again. Now confess specific sins that you have committed including times when you failed to put on the attributes described in these verses.
- Make a list of all that you have to be thankful for, remembering that everything good in your life has come to you directly from your Father.