Have you ever said those words to God? I find that they are words that come up in my heart far more often than I’d like. One reason they do is because I still have a “healthy” measure of rebelliousness at war within me. The other reason is that, quite simply, God and I don’t always think so alike. Many things in my thinking have changed as I’ve walked with God the past three years, but one thing has not: my thinking always needs revision. At every turn in my journey I find new challenges that make it necessary for major portions of my human-centric thinking to be evacuated from their home inside me.
This change can often be mighty unpleasant. On rare and blessed occasions–which seem to multiply with time–I welcome the adjustments God gives my thinking as a breath of spiritual fresh air. Those are precious, grace-filled moments for me. But they can feel so natural to me that I begin to think that I am able to accept what God puts before me because my way of thinking and God’s are just so alike.
This is when God mercifully shows me the truth. He exposes the gap between my natural way of thinking and His. It can feel really hard because I don’t want to let go of my thinking; instead, I like to measure every nuance of His thinking that I can observe against my own. Quite frankly, I often find that His thoughts just don’t quite measure up. They don’t satisfy my “reasonable” mind.
Then God steps in and shows me that thinking this way is the source of my problems. First, I don’t think like Him. And second, I think He should think like me. Whoa! This kind of deceit is why God commands us to not rely on our own understanding (Proverbs 3:5). Despite the fact that it seems to offer us the only counsel we can really trust, God is calling us to acknowledge that it is flawed. Any mental orientation that would lead you or I in resisting our Maker cannot come under the heading of true wisdom. Great frauds must be believable if they are to succeed, and so it is with our self-promoting thinking.
But if we are to be set free from this thinking, we do not just let it go ceremonially and then sit around in expectation of brand new thoughts coming along to take hold of us. That is not how it works. Thoughts must be chosen and thoughts must be guarded if we are to be sure that they will cause pure waters to flow from our hearts. But how can we do this? What thoughts do we choose; do we make things up in our heads? Do we strive all day long to have original thoughts? This sounds like it could be a whole lot of work!
It is. But it is not impossible. We have the Holy Spirit, given to the redeemed sons and daughters of God, to teach us what we are to think and to reveal to us the mind of Christ. The Bible promises us that He will lead and guide us into all truth (John 16:13). Surely God does not expect us to find all this truth we are to be thinking about on our own; He merely asks us to follow His lead. When we walk with Him, in close and intimate fellowship, we will learn to think like Him too!
This is why God calls us to be His friends and not just His henchmen–running to fulfill orders that we don’t even understand. (This is not to say that we will never be expected to obey Him unless we understand what He’s doing. There will surely be times when we will obey His will simply because it is His will, not because we understand it. This is part of trusting His thinking above our own.)
But, His thinking is meant to have such a profound impact on us that it becomes an elemental part of who we are. We begin to not only act like Him, but think like Him and dream like Him. Through our lives, which are to become so closely intertwined with His, He will show the world what He looks like according to His heart and mind. Then no one will have an excuse that they did not know what God was really like or how to find Him. Do we need a better reason to want His thinking to become our own?