The end of this verse stops short with a three-word sentence: And be thankful. (Colossians 3:15)
Paul has revealed the future, when Christ who is our life will appear (Colossians 3:4). He’s turned our eyes from the past — the earthly habits in which we too once walked (Colossians 3:5-7).
But be thankful — this is the present. This is now.
I stink at now.
I am future, where this goal must be reached, or that choice might go wrong, or this change will make it better.
I am past, where I kneel at the graves of life’s sorrows and blows.
Our world demands that I explore where I’ve been and create where I’ll be.
It almost feels like sin — being content with my now. I only stay there when I find enough distraction or work to fill up my senses. I scatter my affections, the ones meant for God and my neighbor, on other people’s now — the news, the shows, the links to poignant videos.
But our God is a God of now. He loves now. He acts in now.
Come now, let us reason together… (Isaiah 1:18)
Behold, I am doing a new thing; now it springs forth… (Isaiah 43:19)
Now the salvation and the power and the kingdom of our God and the authority of his Christ have come… (Revelation 12:10)
Let it be so now, for thus it is fitting for us to fulfill all righteousness (Matthew 3:15).
God enters time, not to work in my past or my future, but my now. I live a life devoid of His power if I never join Him there.
So it is easy — and it is right — to praise God for what He has done or what He will do. But the life of continual gratitude — the one with the capacity of God — is the one lived in the present where He is active. It is the one who seeks the Lord while He may be found and calls upon Him while he is near (Isaiah 55:6). It is the one that praises Him in the midst of the throng (Psalm 109:30).
Our God is the God of the proper time (I Timothy 2:5-6, Titus 1:3, I Peter 5:6). I only find Him — and work with Him — and grow in thankfulness for His love and deeds — by willingly, forcefully resting in this day, this hour, this holy, generous moment.