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“Giving thanks with joy”

October 6, 2023
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Daily Scripture

Colossians 1:9-14

9 Because of this, since the day we heard about you, we haven’t stopped praying for you and asking for you to be filled with the knowledge of God’s will, with all wisdom and spiritual understanding. 10 We’re praying this so that you can live lives that are worthy of the Lord and pleasing to him in every way: by producing fruit in every good work and growing in the knowledge of God; 11 by being strengthened through his glorious might so that you endure everything and have patience; 12 and by giving thanks with joy to the Father. He made it so you could take part in the inheritance, in light granted to God’s holy people. 13 He rescued us from the control of darkness and transferred us into the kingdom of the Son he loves. 14 He set us free through the Son and forgave our sins.

Daily Reflection & Prayer

The apostle Paul prayed fervently for believers in Colossae to “be filled with the knowledge of God’s will.” He gave them a model of one key to understanding God’s will. Paul’s prayer also clearly sketched what living out God’s will looks like in real lives: “by producing fruit in every good work and growing in the knowledge of God; by being strengthened through his glorious might so that you endure everything and have patience; and by giving thanks with joy to the Father.”

  • Scholar William Barclay wrote, “Prayer begins by asking that we may be filled with an ever-growing knowledge of the will of God. Its great object is to know the will of God. We are trying not so much to make God listen to us as to make ourselves listen to him.” How did Paul’s prayer for his converts in Colossae give you a model for the prayers you have prayed (or are still praying) about your response to the Generation to Generation campaign?
  • Paul’s prayer for Christians to know God’s will dealt with the big picture, not lots of specific details. “Producing fruit” (verse 10) pictured a new, wholly different lifestyle, one characterized by “giving thanks with joy.” In what ways do many of your specific choices grow out of your larger decisions about lifestyle? In what ways will a lifestyle shaped by God’s will create a different life from one built solely around pleasing yourself?
Prayer

Dear Jesus, this day I come to you, “asking that I be filled with the knowledge of God’s will, with all wisdom and spiritual understanding.” Guide my thoughts, words and actions to be consistent with your will. Amen.

GPS Insights

Lauren Cook

Lauren Cook

Lauren Cook is the Entry Points Program Director at Resurrection, a self-proclaimed foodie, a bookworm, and is always planning her next trip. She has the sweetest (and sassiest) daughter, Carolina Rae, a rockstar husband, Austin, and a cutie pup named Thunder. She loves connecting with others so let her know the best place you've ever eaten, best book you've ever read, or best place you've ever been!   

I must be honest with you all, this Scripture is really challenging for me. As an Enneagram 3, which is often called the Achiever or Performer, I live in constant fear of not being enough.

In my spiritual journey these thoughts look like the following:

  1. I am 100% sure that everyone else hears God speaking very clearly to them each and every day and I am obviously doing it wrong because I can’t, so how in the world do I know what His will is for me?
  2. Everyone else is out there doing really cool, really amazing things and I’m not.
  3. Everyone else is smarter* than me. (*or insert more patient, kinder, faster, a better leader, a better friend, a better mom, a better cook, more faithful, more biblically literate, and so on)
  4. And also… I’m really, really tired but also, I should be on fire and passionate all the time?

Welcome to my brain every day, which can be a slightly frightening place to be. It’s easy to blame these thought patterns on my personality type, but I’m fairly certain that there a number of us out there (with varying personality types) who struggle with this “not-being-enough-ness.”

The main problem with these thoughts is that they are downward-spiral thoughts. It’s extremely difficult to hear these thoughts and pull yourself out of them or stop them from continuing until we hit “I’m just the actual worst”.

It’s taken me a long time, and a lot of mentoring, to realize that this voice doesn’t come from me, and it definitely doesn’t come from God. And yours doesn’t either. Because what we humans tend to be so quick to forget is that God made us, and God does not make mistakes. He also isn’t in the business of making slightly different versions of the same prototype. He designs us from scratch with such uniqueness—He painted in each thing that makes you laugh, each thing that makes you cry, and each thing that lights your heart aflame. He equipped you with each thing you’re incredible at and guess what? There isn’t enough room in you for you to be incredible at everything because otherwise, we wouldn’t need Him, and we wouldn’t need others, and how lonely would that be?

When we can lay down our fears and step into the vastness we were made for, we can more clearly seek our unique calling and hear how that fits into God’s will and ultimate plan. That space is ready and waiting for you each day. What joy that we can be all that we were created to be, alongside others who are also being all they were created to be and work together to produce fruit and grow in the knowledge of God.

So, on this fall Friday, can you step outside and breathe deeply for a few minutes? Quiet your soul and listen for Him instead of trying to make Him listen to you. Wrap your arms around wonderful you, thank Him with joy for each creative brushstroke He used in your creation, and move into today with eyes and ears open to what you can say yes too as you work alongside Him in all that He is inviting you into. You are, and have, enough.

© 2024 Resurrection: A United Methodist Church. All Rights Reserved.
Scripture quotations are taken from The Common English Bible ©2011. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
References

* William Barclay, The Letters to the Philippians, Colossians and Thessalonians (Revised Edition). Louisville: Westminster John Knox Press, 1975, p. 109.