Pastoral Perspectives

Our Thoughts Matter to God!

“What are you thinking?” someone might have asked you as they saw you seated quietly there by yourself at the Cozy Corner.  “You are deep in thoughts!” another might have commented to you.  When something is occupying our mind, we are unable to respond nicely to someone who walk pass us, trying to get our attention and attempting to smile to us.  They may wonder why you ignore them.  Our thoughts trouble and bother us!  Who knows your thoughts?  Do you seriously consider your thoughts?  How often your thoughts concerning someone’s action affect your relationship with them!  What shall a disciple of Jesus Christ do?  What should you do about your thoughts?  Being a disciple of Jesus Christ, it is not just doing the right thing or saying the right thing that matters but also thinking the right thing.  A disciple’s pursuit is to be Christ-like in all that he does, says or thinks.

Jesus knows what we are thinking!  Are we aware of this?  How would we respond to this awareness?  In Luke 5: 20-23 ESV, the Scriptures recorded as:

And when he saw their faith, he said, “Man, your sins are forgiven you.”  And the scribes and the Pharisees began to question, saying, “Who is this who speaks blasphemies?  Who can forgive sins but God alone?”  When Jesus perceived their thoughts, he answered them, “Why do you question in your hearts?  Which is easier, to say, ‘Your sins are forgiven you,’ or to say, ‘Rise and walk’?

The scribes and the Pharisees did not realise who Jesus really is.  If they knew that He is the Son of God, they might not have such thoughts.  Perhaps, their jealousy of Jesus blinded them from seeing who Jesus really is.

God discerns your thoughts from afar.  In Psalm 139: 1-3 ESV, the Scriptures recorded as:

O LORD, you have searched me and known me!  You know when I sit down and when I rise up; you discern my thoughts from afar. You search out my path and my lying down and are acquainted with all my ways.

Man may not know your thoughts but God knows.  You may hide them from man but cannot from God.  Let us ask God to search us and show us concerning our thoughts.  Let us ask Him humbly to enable us to see if our thoughts are pleasing to Him.  Let us walk in the fear of the Lord for He discerns our thoughts from afar.

I recalled an incident where I had negative thought concerning a brother in Christ.  I was quite upset with him because I thought he had intentionally withheld some information about himself from me.  The Lord is gracious and good.  He provided a situation where this misunderstanding can be ironed out.  I was given an opportunity to meet up with him and we had a good time together.  My heart melted when the Lord Himself corrected me.  He knows how to deliver His people out of troubles or out of misunderstandings.  When I looked at the whole circumstances which he was in, I realised that I was completely wrong in my thoughts about him.  The Lord is moulding my character and still is working in my life.  It is for this faithfulness of God, I am forever grateful to Him.

Is it possible to perceive what others are thinking?  I think sometimes it is possible to know their thoughts but to a certain extent.  Through their body language, one can tell roughly what one might be thinking.  Sometimes, our thoughts about someone’s action may be inaccurate or defective.  It is detrimental to jump into the wrong conclusion based on insufficient facts.  Sometimes, it could also be our prejudices against someone.  It is always good to clarify whatever doubts or uncertainties we might have regarding someone’s actions or words but this requires much prayers and courage to do so on our part.

In the community of believers, in a church setting, we want to establish healthy and edifying relationship.  Our thoughts about ourselves and others can really affect our relationship with people and also with God.  Our church’s mission is: “Love God.  Make Disciples.”  Loving God’s people is linked with loving God.  In 1 John 1: 19-21 ESV, the Scriptures recorded as:

We love because he first loved us.  If anyone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen cannot love God whom he has not seen.  And this commandment we have from him: whoever loves God must also love his brother.

I recalled a beautiful song, “Think about His love” by Don Moen.  The song lyrics are as follows:

Think about His love
Think about His goodness
Think about His grace
That’s brought us through
For as high as the heavens above
So great is the measure
Of our Father’s love

Great is the measure
Of our Father’s love
So great is the measure
Of our Father’s love

How could I forget His love
And how could I forget His mercy
He satisfies, satisfies
He satisfies, satisfies
He satisfies my desires

This song reminds me what the essentials are which I should be thinking about.  When I think of what other thinks of me, it can become very self-centred and egoistic.  It sometimes can become very discouraging. When I realign my focus on Christ and His works, they bring me great comfort, encouragement and peace.  I would rather preoccupy my mind with His love, His goodness and His grace.  How wonderful that will be!  His love enriches, empowers and encourages me!  His love is abounding, amazing and astounding!  His love is inspiring, indescribable and incomprehensible!

Our thoughts matter to God!  They will be sharpened and purified as they are surrendered to God.  Our love for God and for others will govern our thoughts towards others and self.  We need to work at our thoughts so that they may be pleasing in the sight of God.  Amen.

Pr George Ang

October 25, 2015