Overflowing With Thankfulness
If we walk around with a full glass and someone bumps into us unexpectedly, whatever is inside it will come out. The same principle also applies to our character: if we are filled with bitterness, ingratitude, envy, or jealousy, then it won’t take much of a “bump” for what is within us to overflow.
As Paul wrote to the Colossian Christians, he encouraged them instead to be marked by a grateful heart—a key characteristic of the Christian life. The word Paul uses to describe this thankfulness, “abounding,” comes from a fairly common Greek word, perisseuo. In other places in Scripture and in other English translations, its root is translated as “overflowing.” Paul’s meaning is clear: when people “bumped into” these believers, the overspill, he instructed, was to be thankfulness.
When men and women have not been transformed by Christ, ingratitude—along with its resulting bitterness, complaining, anger, and malice—often marks their lives. In Christ, however, believers trade ingratitude for thanksgiving, bitterness for joy, and anger for peace. Having heard of God’s grace in all its truth and having turned to Him in repentance and faith, we have our sins forgiven. We have the Spirit dwelling in us. We have a new family in the church of God. We have eternal life ahead of us. We have access to the heavenly throne room in prayer. In other words, we have much to be grateful for. Thankfulness becomes the song, the overflow, of the Christian.
This kind of gratitude has significant effects. It turns our gaze to God and away from ourselves and our circumstances. It defends us against the devil’s whisper, which incites us to despair and to distrust what God has said. It also protects us from pride, eradicating from our vocabulary phrases like “I deserve more than this” or “I don’t deserve this.” And it allows us to rest in the knowledge that God works out His loving purpose not only in pleasant and encouraging experiences but also in unsettling and painful ones. It is only by grace that we learn to “give thanks in all circumstances” (1 Thessalonians 5:18, emphasis added).
The antidote to thanklessness is found only in union with Christ. Do you see in yourself any lingering ingratitude over what God has chosen not to give you? Bring it to the foot of the cross, seek Christ’s forgiveness, and ask for His help to see all that you have been freely given in His gospel. Set aside a time each day to write down and recount to yourself the blessings from God you have received. Then you will truly overflow with thankfulness.
Bless the Lord, O My Soul
1Bless the Lord, O my soul,
and all that is within me,
bless his holy name!
2Bless the Lord, O my soul,
and forget not all his benefits,
3who forgives all your iniquity,
who heals all your diseases,
4who redeems your life from the pit,
who crowns you with steadfast love and mercy,
5who satisfies you with good
so that your youth is renewed like the eagle's.
6The Lord works righteousness
and justice for all who are oppressed.
7He made known his ways to Moses,
his acts to the people of Israel.
8The Lord is merciful and gracious,
slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love.
9He will not always chide,
nor will he keep his anger forever.
10He does not deal with us according to our sins,
nor repay us according to our iniquities.
11For as high as the heavens are above the earth,
so great is his steadfast love toward those who fear him;
12as far as the east is from the west,
so far does he remove our transgressions from us.
13As a father shows compassion to his children,
so the Lord shows compassion to those who fear him.
14For he knows our frame;1
he remembers that we are dust.
15As for man, his days are like grass;
he flourishes like a flower of the field;
16for the wind passes over it, and it is gone,
and its place knows it no more.
17But the steadfast love of the Lord is from everlasting to everlasting on those who fear him,
and his righteousness to children's children,
18to those who keep his covenant
and remember to do his commandments.
19The Lord has established his throne in the heavens,
and his kingdom rules over all.
20Bless the Lord, O you his angels,
you mighty ones who do his word,
obeying the voice of his word!
21Bless the Lord, all his hosts,
his ministers, who do his will!
22Bless the Lord, all his works,
in all places of his dominion.
Bless the Lord, O my soul!
Get the Program, Devotional, and Bible Reading Plan delivered daily right to your inbox.