The Essence of Thankfulness - The Crosswalk Devotional - November 22

The Crosswalk Devotional

The Essence of Thankfulness
By Meg Bucher

“I once thought these things were valuable, but now I consider them worthless because of what Christ has done.” - Philippians 3:7 NLT

The mint green box with flowers on it collects all of the dust bunnies under the bed. Its contents hold the memories of a season of life. We attach sentiment to things on this earth. Things become especially meaningful to us when they symbolize something much greater than the craving for the physical object. It’s sad to box up a season of life once treasured. 

Paul wrote to the Philippians about the true value of things. The Greek translation for things is hostis, and the word is defined as “whoever, whatever, who.” One of the definitions for things in the English language is “anything that is or may become an object of thought.” Our earthly selves love to be loved, and comfortable. We love the assurance someone will never leave us, and slowly forget there is only One who never will.

“When Paul speaks of these things, he is referring to his credentials, credits, and successes,” the NLT Bible notes explain, “After showing that he could beat the Judaizers at their own game (being proud of who they were and what they had done), Paul shows that it is the wrong game. Be careful of considering your position or past achievements so important that they get in the way of your relationships with Christ.” Add to achievements our relationships and how tempting it is to hold people to standards in this life they can never fulfill for us. Paul continued to write:

“Yes, everything else is worthless when compared with the infinite value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord.” Philippians 3:8 NLT

Christ Jesus is the only One who can fill the gaps in our human hearts, which automatically ache for assurance, comfort, and companionship. Everything, and everyone, will fail to fulfill this desire in our lives because our hearts were created to crave Him. “Gaining Christ is described in three ways:” The Moody Bible Commentary explains, “first, it is found in Him …second, it is not having one’s own righteousness …third, it is having the righteousness which comes through faith in Christ.” 

The author of Hebrews reminds us, “Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.” (Hebrews 11:1 NLT.) 

Paul wrote to the Romans: “For in the gospel the righteousness of God is revealed- a righteousness that is by faith from first to last, just as it is written: ‘The righteous will live by faith.’” Romans 11:17 NLT

The desire to put our hope in whoever or whatever ends up in a box collecting the dust bunnies under our beds. Our souls were created to put our hope in one person: Christ Jesus. Through Him, we come to the Father. In Him, we find peace, joy, love, and purpose. By His death, we get to live ours to the full here on earth and eternally with Him in heaven. Paul continued:

“For his sake I have discarded everything else, counting it all as garbage, so that I could gain Christ and become one with him. I no longer count on my own righteousness through obeying the law; rather, I become righteous through faith in Christ. For God’s way of making us right with himself depends on faith.” - Philippians 3:8b-9 NLT

Intersecting Faith and Life:
Faith isn’t an object we own or the level we achieve in life. Faith is a living and breathing part of who we are, constantly being molded into the image of Christ Jesus as we follow Him through our daily lives. Paul’s letter continued: 

“I want to know Christ and experience the mighty power that raised him from the dead. I want to suffer with him, sharing in his death, so that one way or another I will experience the resurrection from the dead!” Philippians 3:10-11 NLT 

Though it seems some seasons in our lives are unrelatably painful, Christ gets it. The box of memories collecting dust bunnies means something to Him because it means something to us. God does not meet us with a pep-talk; he meets us with compassion. He says, “let’s go through this box together …bring it to me.” He sees us, He knows us, and He longs to comfort us in the times we need to remember most …whoever or whatever is nothing in comparison to the complete peace, restoration, love, and joy we experience in Christ Jesus. Nothing …nothing …compares to who He is. 

Father,
You are so faithful. Every day, Your mercies are new. Great is Your faithfulness! We can be sad, and we can cry out to You, God. Thank You for who You are. Your compassion saves our lives over and over again. We confess our misplacement of people and things in our lives. We confess our focus on achieving over abiding in You. We love You with our whole hearts. Help us to understand how to grow in our love for You. Let it overflow out of our lives and onto everyone around us, Father. 

Further Reading:

Additional Resources:
Life Application Study Bible, NLT translation. Tyndale House Publishers. Copyright 2013.
The Moody Bible Commentary. Moody Publishers. Copyright 2014

Photo credit: Unsplash.com/ProChurchMedia

Meg BucherMeg writes about everyday life within the love of Christ at megbucher.comShe is the author of “Friends with Everyone, Friendship within the Love of Christ,” “Surface, Unlocking the Gift of Sensitivity,” “Glory Up, The Everyday Pursuit of Praise,” “Home, Finding Our Identity in Christ,” and "Sent, Faith in Motion." Meg earned a Marketing/PR degree from Ashland University but stepped out of the business world to stay home and raise her two daughters …which led her to pursue her writing passion. A contributing writer for Salem Web Network since 2016, Meg is now thrilled to be a part of the editorial team at Salem Web Network. Meg loves being involved in her community and local church, leads Bible study, and serves as a youth leader for teen girls.

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