Bridging the gap between God and others
We mentally separate the parts of our lives in order to keep everything straight. The typical division of our time and relationships is into sections of church, family, work, school, and spare time. However, we tend to make these areas into islands with little or no connection to the other areas.
As Christians, we also tend take this practice one step further – we see our relationship with God as something separate from our relationship with others. While we know that both are important and need to be cultivated, we often deal with one while excluding the other. However, the two are more connected than we realize.
This is the next point Paul wanted to convey in his letter to the believers in Colossae. Look at the verses below and see if you can identify how our relationships with other Christians connects to our relationship with God:
Above all, put on love – the perfect bond of unity. And let the peace of the Messiah, to which you were called in one body, control your hearts. Be thankful. Let the message about the Messiah dwell richly among you
We can become so comfortable in our established family position that our relationship with God and our relationship with others can seem like mutually exclusive ideas. The way these two concepts are connected for us is in the same manner Paul connected them for the Colossians.
However, his bridge sentence is comprised of just two words, so it is easily missed. Likewise, the full impact of this small sentence is also overlooked. Paul says that we are able to aim for peace-driven love with those around us only as the message about the Messiah is present among us. To be thankful is the bridge between the two.
We are truly thankful when we are mindful of the favor extended to us by someone else. It shifts the focus off of ourselves and recognizes who the other person is and what we have become because of their actions. The better we understand and think about Christ’s incredible love for us, the more we are thankful for the choices He made on our behalf.
To be thankful is focus-shifting experience. Being thankful towards God puts him in the proper place in our lives; it shows us how to lovingly and peacefully relate to others. So our ability to bridge the mental gap between of our relationship with others and our relationship with God comes down to two words – Be thankful.