“And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him.” — Colossians 3:17
We began our series on thankfulness in marriage last week by discussing how we can–and must–give thanks to God in all situations.This is because God promises to use all things for good to help us grow in our faith and our walk with Him. When He does so, our marriages grow stronger, and we will grow closer to God and each other. The two go hand-in-hand.
A Call to Give Thanks
This week, we’ll look at what Paul teaches about the importance of thankfulness to growing a stronger marriage. The passage is found in his letter to the church at Colossae–Colossians. It is one of his shortest letters–only four chapters long. He wrote it while in prison–in chains. Not exactly a place most people would find reason to give thanks. And yet, six different times in this letter we find a call to be thankful (Colossians 1:12; 2:7; 3:15-17; 4:2). Paul knew the importance of a thankful heart to our relationship with God and each other.
In Colossians 3:15, Paul writes to the entire church body: “Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful.” Paul knew for the peace of Christ to rule in their hearts and for them to live in peace as members of one body they must be thankful. This wasn’t something he just tacked on at the end. Paul didn’t waste words. His message was too important. Thankfulness was a crucial element.
In Colossians 3:17, Paul goes on to say: “And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him.” The only way to do everything “in the name of the Lord Jesus” is to be thankful in everything. Thankfulness takes the focus off of us and puts the focus where it should be–on Him.
So just what does everything include? Well, the next two verses (vv.18-19) talk directly about marriage. Paul immediately addresses the relationship between husband and wife after writing that we should be “giving thanks.” (Remember, the chapter and verse numbers were all added later for us to use, but they are not in Paul’s original letter.) He writes: “Wives, submit to your husbands, as is fitting in the Lord. Husbands, love your wives and do not be harsh with them.” These commands are not so easy for our sinful, self-centered hearts. But focusing on giving thanks to God puts our hearts in the right place to be thankful for our spouses and to live out these commands joyfully.
Keep Your Focus on the Lord
David wrote in Psalm 16:8-9: “I keep my eyes always on the LORD. With Him at my right hand, I will not be shaken. Therefore my heart is glad and my tongue rejoices; my body also will rest secure.” David knew what Paul knew–when we keep our focus “always on the Lord,” our hearts will be full of thanksgiving to Him. Our relationship will be right with Him, and what we say to our spouses and how we treat them will be pleasing to the Lord. We will be secure and so will our marriages, and we will not be shaken–no matter what comes our way.
Thanksgiving comes from seeing the blessings the Lord has given us. If our focus is on worldly things, on ourselves, or on what we don’t have, we will not be thankful. We will be discontent, unappreciative, and always wanting more–from God and from our spouses. This kind of attitude closes the door to peace in our hearts, in our relationships, and in our homes. Life becomes all about us. And this kind of life will never bring peace and unity and oneness.
But as we trust the Lord, seek Him, and strive to live for Him, we notice the wonderful blessings all around us. We appreciate all we’ve been given. We learn to be content, knowing He gives us just what we need to do His will and fulfill His plan for our lives. And we recognize the precious gift we have in our spouses. And we become thankful.
Thankfulness always brings blessing–to the one who gives thanks and to the one who receives it.
As we focus on the Lord and offer Him thanks, God can work in and through us and make our marriage the joyful, secure, blessed relationship He designed it to be–the kind of marriage we desire. And as a result, our marriage will be a witness to the world of His love–reflecting the light of His gospel, drawing people to the Lord.
Thanksgiving always draws us closer to Him and ever closer as husband and wife…closer as one.
Questions to Ask Yourself
- Where has my focus been? On myself? On worldly things? On the Lord?
- Can I honestly say I’ve been doing everything in the name of the Lord? Where have I failed in this just this past week?
- Do I give thanks in everything? Or am I missing the joy of the blessings I’ve been given?
Suggestions for Applying This to Your Life
- Start each day by giving thanks to the Lord for all He has given you. Seek Him and His plan for your day.
- Find ways to remind yourself to focus on God. Write out Colossians 3:17 or Psalm 16:8-9 on a card and place where you can see it throughout the day (or copy the images above). Better yet, memorize those verses and hide them in your heart.
- Each day look for the blessings in your life–no matter how small. And right when you notice them, say a prayer of thanks.
- Keep a journal of blessings each week–a blessings list. Go through this with your spouse during your couple time (see Couple Connect). And give thanks in prayer together for all God has given you.
- Be thankful for your spouse. Watch for the special ways he/she makes your life better. Offer a prayer of thanksgiving.
We’re praying God’s blessings over you this week as you seek to focus on Him and be thankful. Until next time…
May God bless you in all His wonderful ways,
Other posts in THE IMPORTANCE OF THANKFULNESS IN MARRIAGE series:
Part 1–A New Perspective of Thanksgiving
Part 3–Thanks, Love, and Joy
Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture taken from THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.