“For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the Lord, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end.” Jeremiah 29:11
When it comes to thinking, the Lord outdoes us all. Psalm 139 tells us that he thinks of us more often than we can count…more than the grains of sand. Here in Jeremiah, God’s Word tells us what God is thinking toward his people. He is thinking good.
Sometimes we get the idea that God is a big baddy in the sky with a club ready to thump his unruly children. We hear, “God will get you for that.” And we imagine that all-seeing eye watching what we do and standing in judgment. I guess a portion of that picture may be true. We will stand in judgment before God for what we do, but we are not in judgment because God has willed us to be punished. We are there by our own choices.
God looks down upon us in love and desires only the best for us. He wants us to succeed. He wants us to know His love and acceptance. He has good plans for us and wants us to reach the end with a fulfilled and satisfied life.
Coming to grips with the idea that God is for us changes how we approach life and how we approach God. It gives us a positive outlook and a confidence that comes from knowing God is on our side. Paul puts it like this: “If God be for us, who can be against us?” (Romans 8:33)
How do you see God? Does sin in your life need to be addressed? Sin will taint our view of God. Better to take it to Him now! Do you see Him as loving? John 16:27 tells us, “…the Father himself loveth you…”. Take time to meditate on this truth – God loves you, thinks good about you and is for you. How might this change the way you approach your day?
“I thought on my ways, and turned my feet unto thy testimonies.”
O, be careful little feet where you go,
O, be careful little feet where you go,
For the Father up above is looking down in love,
So be careful little feet where you go.”
This is one of the first children’s songs I learned in Sunday school. I used to sing it over and over and think about what it meant. It teaches that making good choices is important. Our feet, our eyes, our ears, our mouths, all are avenues which need to be considered or thought about. God cares what we are doing with our lives.
I remember times in my life where I had to stop and take stock of where I was and what I was pursuing. Sometimes it meant changing friends. Sometimes it meant saying no to opportunities or temptations. Sometimes it meant waiting on God instead of forging ahead. But those were all pivotal times - times when my path changed direction for the better.
Self-evaluation is necessary in the Christian life. Thinking about our direction, or our attitude, or our motivation is imperative for spiritual growth and consecration. The Psalmist David gives us an example as he invited the Lord into the process. Psalm 139:23, 24 says, “Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts: And see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.” David opened himself for divine evaluation.
Might be a scary thought. Might cause us some real soul searching and self-denial. But it will be well worth it. As we turn our feet to the direction of God’s Word and instruction we are bound to find a greater communion, fellowship with our Lord and a place of assurance and blessing. You up to it?
“In the multitude of my thoughts within me thy comforts delight my soul.”
My mind can get into a whirl. Like on a roller coaster, so many thoughts are screaming for attention that I just don’t know which one to pay attention to first! Pressures of the job, family issues, and self can get into conflict and cause me to have to just stop and try to sort it all out.
I have found that whirling is not of God. God is ordered and systematic. He doesn’t get into a flap. He doesn’t get too much on his plate. He has it all under control.
Oswald Chambers wrote, “I will never think of anything my Father will forget, so why should I worry?” This amazing me. I will never think of anything God will forget. Oh, but I can do a powerful lot of thinking! And worrying! But when I come back to this thought I realize that God already has it all figured out. I can simply relax. This brings comfort to my soul!
Comfort also comes from rhema – God’s Word alive in my heart. Scripture brings peace and assurance. Scriptures that God has used over and over in my life to bring me back into line.
Comfort also comes as I see God’s Hand at work in my life. Just a spoken word from a friend, or a kindness done will cause my thoughts to cease and bring me back into focus on the God who loves me and delights my soul.
Whirling is a sure sign that I am out of control or trying to be in control. I need to just stop my whirling and come back to the centre – God - where I am sure to find the comfort and joy my soul so desires.
Are you whirling? Allowing your mind to just spin and spin to no end? Why not get off the roller coaster and take a seat with God!
“The Lord knoweth the thoughts of man, that they are vanity.”
God knows our thoughts. Poor God. He knows that the thought of man’s heart is evil continually. (Genesis 6:5) Even with our best intentions, our hearts wander into evil thoughts and imaginations. Romans 3 tells us that none of us naturally seek after God. None of us are righteous.
“Oh”, but you say, “I am a Christian. I do seek God. I don’t think evil.” Really? Oswald Chambers wrote, “Beware of the piety that denies the natural life, it is a fraud.” Self-righteousness is not God honouring. Man, even redeemed man, can imagine and desire evil. The difference is that with Christ, we do not have to yield to our sinful thoughts. We have His resurrection power to give us strength to overcome and to control our thoughts.
Vanity means empty or void. Sometimes we confuse it with meaning only focus on makeup, fashion, or things like that. But the vanity of man’s thoughts goes much deeper than the simple outward appearance.
Let’s paraphrase the verse. “God knows our thoughts. Our thoughts are of no value. They are empty and void compared to God’s thoughts.” So, with all our great thinking ability, better than the animals or anything God created, we are still simple creatures.
There is no room for pride here. No room for exaltation of man. No room for “smartness” or super intellect. Oh, we might be able to figure out some things in science and mathematics, but we will never attain to God’s wisdom.
When I think about this, with my small mind. I am humbled. It brings me to a place of submission to an all-wise God. Where does it bring you?
“The thought of foolishness is sin…” Proverbs 24:9
Because the sin nature lusteth to envy and dwells in desire to live opposed to God, man has a natural bent toward foolishness. Foolishness is not only an outward action, but also a case of the inward thought processes. Proverbs 22:15 says, “Foolishness is bound in the heart of a child…”
First there needs to be a determination between foolishness, which is sin, and foolishness, which is innocent. The writer of Proverbs was referring to foolishness in the form of devising evil against another, not innocent joyful play.
Foolishness starts with an inward thought and leads to outward actions and consequences. We experience foolish thoughts toward other drivers, people who hurt us, or those we find difficult. Before we realize it, we say things about what we’d like to do to retaliate. Rarely do we take it further, but sin is already at the door and we need to take it to God in repentance.
II Cor 10:5 instructs us to cast the thought away and bring it unto obedience. We are responsible for our thoughts. Every thought is to be obedient. Every thought needs to be weighed by Scripture. Mind control is a life-long exercise in obedience.
Is it possible? Proverbs 16:3 says, “Commit thy works unto the Lord, and thy thoughts shall be established.” So, according to this verse, “yes!” God knows our thoughts before we think them, so surely by the power of the Spirit and the Word working within us He would be able to direct our thoughts as we yield control to Him. The question is, “Are we too foolish to yield?”