2 Continue steadfastly in prayer, being watchful in it with thanksgiving.
In Colossians 4, Paul gives his final instructions to the church encouraging them to continue in their growth. He says to continue steadfastly in prayer, being watchful in it with thanksgiving. Giving thanks seems to be a very important theme in the book of Colossians and Paul continues to emphasize its importance in the very last chapter.
In every chapter of the book of Colossians Paul instructs the church to be thankful (Colossians 1:12, 2:7, 3:15-17, 4:2). In most instances, this command seems misplaced considering book’s over-arching theme of spiritual growth and maturity. He goes on long discourses on who we are and how we are to behave in light of our standing with the sovereign Lord.
What does thanksgiving have to do with spiritual growth?
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.
Thanksgiving is not only the fruit of our spiritual growth, it is also a tool given to us for our growth.
If we are truly made alive in Christ, then through his power we would bear the fruit of a grateful heart. We would exemplify all the attributes we find in Col. 3. Paul mentions thanksgiving often but he isn’t simply reminding us, he is applying the tool of gratitude. We are to give thanks in the moments of struggle and growth. Thanksgiving is a precedent for godliness. When we give thanks despite what we are going through and how we feel, our hearts are drawn to who God is and what he has done rather than ourselves. It changes our perspective from or limited human view to God’s sovereign and holy perspective. We are reminded of the truth that we have a reason to be forever grateful no matter what and in all things. We have Christ who has made a way for our salvation. In the light of who Jesus is, all other struggles fade away and our hearts are drawn to a position of humility that prepares and spurs in our spiritual growth.