'And be thankful'

 

Where does thankfulness rank in your daily priorities? Is it your general disposition? Is it an afterthought? Does it routinely appear on your radar screen?

 

Some of us are curmudgeons who see the negative in everything. The proverbial glass filled to the midpoint is undoubtedly running out. Others are more positive and want to believe the best in any given situation. The glass is half full for them. Most are probably somewhere in the middle depending on the issue.

 

The Holy Scriptures have much to say regarding our life together in the body of Christ. If anyone is in Christ, He is a new creation. The old has gone and new things have come (2 Cor. 5:17). We know all about the old Adam. It is the natural inclination of the human flesh. It is what people instinctively do without much thought. It often is the initial reaction to a given situation. The new creation takes time manifesting itself in these mortal bodies. In fact, it is a lifelong struggle this side of heaven (Romans 7). The New Testament epistles routinely compare and contrast the old and the new (cf. Gal. 5:16-26).

A beautiful comparison comes in Colossians 3. The apostle lifts eyes to things above, where Jesus is seated at the right hand of the Father. Our true life is hidden with God in Christ. When He returns we will also appear as we really are in Him (Col. 3:1-4). Until then it is not always obvious who we really are through casual observation. Fruits of the Spirit and the works of the flesh co-mingle in the same person. We can be hypocrites both ways. Outward actions may appear pious and godly, but the heart is angry, bitter or ungrateful. A scoundrel who lies, cheats, curses and swears with every other word may come to faith. The change in their words and actions may take time to catch up. The inconsistency may be pointed out. “You are a Christian and you speak like that?”

Paul never tires of exhorting believers to good works. He describes the fruit of the Spirit so that it may be recognized for what it is. He shows the superiority of a life of faith to one still trapped and governed by the flesh. He holds up the blessed life of the new creation as a desirable goal of a body of believers.

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