Last Monday I had my second opportunity to lead in prayer on Facebook Live. It was the fifteenth day of 21 Days of Prayer for Waterline Church, where I am the Director of Relational Arts. You know, I absolutely loved my time leading online and experienced fantastic engagement with the people who joined me live. We talked about how to live a life that overflows with thankfulness.
The theme that book-ends each week of our 21 Days is thankfulness. Therefore, we begin and end each week with gratitude. The Scripture I shared was Colossians 2:6-7.
And now, just as you accepted Christ Jesus as your Lord, you must continue to follow him. Let your roots grow down into him, and let your lives be built on him. Then your faith will grow strong in the truth you were taught, and you will overflow with thankfulness. (Col. 2:6-7 NLT)
I love how the Message words this same passage:
My counsel for you is simple and straightforward: Just go ahead with what you’ve been given. You received Christ Jesus, the Master; now live him. You’re deeply rooted in him. You’re well constructed upon him. You know your way around the faith. Now do what you’ve been taught. School’s out; quit studying the subject and start living it! And let your living spill over into thanksgiving. (Col. 2:6-7 MSG)
Paul paints a clear correlation here:
Rooting + Building our lives in Christ —> Strong Faith + Thankfulness
I believe most of us want to be thankful people. And I think many of us want to have strong faith. But it’s hard to muster those things up. It seems they depend on our rootedness in Christ, which leads to lives built up in Him – living Jesus.
When we begin to live Jesus, to truly walk out the things we’ve learned (from the Word, from our Pastors, from our worship songs, from others’ life stories), then our faith grows, and we become thankful people.
Does that sound scary to anyone? Doesn’t walking out what we’ve learned mean stepping out before you are sure God will catch you? Isn’t that kind of like jumping out of the plane before you know for sure the parachute is going to open up?
That’s faith, my friends.
Faithfulness is one of the spiritual fruit listed by Paul in his letter to the Galatians.Spiritual fruit grows naturally in people rooted in Christ. Click To Tweet
One of my sons likes to grow things.
At any given time, we could have potted plants from pineapples and cantaloupe to avocados and tomatillos in various stages of growth around our house and patio. I don’t know if any of you are gardeners, but I’ve noticed that sometimes fruit grows v-e-r-y slowly. After all, nurturing young plants requires incredible patience and diligence. And it generally helps if he keeps going back to check them, care for them, and assess their progress.
Sometimes I think our spiritual fruit grows in us so incrementally that I wonder if we even notice. And I wonder if we forget to keep track of its progress.
So, I want to help us notice fruit.
Monday evening, during prayer time for the 21 Days of Prayer our church is walking through on Facebook Live, I issued a challenge I’d like to extend here too. Instead of looking for external things to be thankful for (let’s face it, there are a TON), instead, why don’t we start to look internally for some fruit to thank God for?
Overflowing and Spilling Over
Did you notice that Paul said our thankfulness would overflow? The Message version says, “spill over.” That means it comes from the inside. And it can’t be contained. After all, things that overflow come out from somewhere, and can’t be held in any longer.
So what’s on the inside? What’s going on inside of us that might begin to spill out thanks?One key to natural gratitude is being diligent to acknowledge and express what God is doing in us. Click To Tweet
Now, an incredibly important discipline for the joy-seeker and the one who wants to be grateful is to look for things to be thankful for. So let’s start the inward search. Let’s take inventory of our fruit – the ones that are ripe, and the ones just blossoming.
Notice Fruit and Discover Thankfulness
As you take your time considering each of these spiritual fruit, allow God to direct your thoughts. Important: Recognize that our fruit doesn’t grow all at once. Often we are in a season where God is helping us to grow just one type of fruit. Other times several types might be growing at once, but you’ll still find it s-l-o-w.
How do you start?! Survey your day today. Do you notice you reacted differently to any situations than you might have a few months ago? Think about conversations, or your inner thoughts. Do you have a sense of contentment where there used to be anxiety? Do you notice you have been able to be more kind to someone difficult in your life?
Where are you changing?
Then, as you notice that you indeed have grown, even if it is just a small amount of growth, begin to celebrate that! Speak it out to the Lord. Write it in this Colossians 2:6 journal, leather notebook, or on the printable above. And tell a prayer partner or friend.
Let your living spill over into thanksgiving.
Live a life that overflows with thankfulness
Habits take time to form. So I invite you to keep today’s printable handy. Let it remind you to go back to the garden again and again. Assess growth, nurture and cultivate it. And with every new leaf or new blossom, thank God – loudly! Praise Him that fruit is growing and you are living Jesus.
Those who do overflow with thankfulness.