Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. – Colossians 3:15.
Notice how matter-of-factly God’s Word commands us to be thankful. The command is given as if being thankful were clearly within our power. Not any different than if a boss says “be in my office in 15 minutes” or if a parent says “be careful where you throw that ball.” In the same way God commands us to be thankful and the implication is that it is certainly within our ability to do it. We must simply obey.
But many of us struggle to be thankful. One reason we struggle is because we fail to understand the concept God’s Word teaches just three verses earlier. Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. -Colossian 3:12. God’s Word teaches we can clothe ourselves with virtues. What happens sometimes when we put on clothing? We sometimes put on clothing that helps us behave in a way that does not feel natural to us. It may be a work polo with our company’s logo. When we have the work polo on we behave as someone in customer service, even though naturally we are an introverted person. If we put on renaissance era clothing for a festival we behave as someone from the renaissance era even though we are a modern person. In the same way God’s Word teaches us to clothe ourselves with Christian virtues. In may not feel natural to us, but we do it anyway. When it comes to being thankful we simply clothe ourselves with a thankful attitude whether we feel thankful or not. In very much the same way a good customer service worker puts on a friendly face even when they feel grouchy. Being thankful when we do not feel like it is not hypocrisy. It is engaging in an outward action so that our inward character will be transformed. This is what God invites us into. That as we be thankful we will become thankful