Thoughts - Part 1

god thoughts Feb 03, 2021

I titled this web community “Thoughts on Recovery” on purpose. The thought-life of every human being is absolutely critical to the lives that they live. It will determine how we live and the quality of life that we will experience. “As he thinketh in his heart, so is he” is the absolute truth. The success or failure (or combination of both) of sobriety, recovery, growth, and healing will largely be determined by the thoughts we entertain.

This begins a series of posts on the mind, thoughts, and thinking; specifically, what the Bible says about them. As we will see, the Bible says quite a bit about them and they are quite important in the life of every person.

God's thoughts versus our thoughts

“Seek ye the LORD while he may be found, call ye upon him while he is near: Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts: and let him return unto the LORD, and he will have mercy upon him; and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon” (Isaiah 55:6, 7).

We can look first at God’s perspective on our thoughts. He desires that we seek Him and call upon Him, but the prerequisites are to forsake our way and our thoughts. It is expected that we should forsake our wicked way when seeking the Lord, but He expects us to also forsake unrighteous thoughts. This is quite remarkable, but there are two things at play here.

First, God knows are thoughts as well as our actions. Other people can judge our actions without knowing our thoughts, but God sees our thoughts as plainly as He sees our actions. “I know that thou canst do every thing, and that no thought can be withholden from thee” (Job 42:2). Man looks on the outside, but God sees everything on the inside.

Second, there is a common Bible parallelism at play here: “his way” is parallel to “his thoughts,” showing that they are related to, and influenced by, each other. A man’s thoughts will determine his overall manner of life (his way). Conversely, his way (the way he lives) will have an effect on his thoughts. We may “know” this intellectually but how often we minimize it in our own lives!

Let’s go further and look at the next two verses in Isaiah 55, where God suddenly speaks in the first person:

“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts” (Isaiah 55:8, 9).

The topics are still thoughts and ways (this time plural), but we see the reason that our ways and thoughts have to be forsaken: they are wicked and unrighteous and thus fundamentally different from God’s thoughts and ways. Not only are God’s thoughts and ways different, but they are higher than ours. God has a higher perspective than we do.

There are some practical things to consider here: 

  1. It is not enough to forsake the bad, but we are expected to align with the good. We are not only to separate from evil, but to separate ourselves unto God. “Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good.”

  2. God’s thoughts will run contrary to the “course of this world…[and] the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience” (Ephesians 2:2). Much of what is considered “conventional wisdom” in this world will run contrary to God’s thoughts and ways.

  3. Aligning with God’s thoughts will require a higher, longer-term perspective on everything in life. We will have to take the long-view of things instead of just thinking about what is immediately in front of us. “The first thing that comes to mind” may be totally contrary to God’s thoughts.

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