Reading the Mind of God

God thinks on a level far beyond human comprehension. Yet He is willing to give us the tools to read His mind and begin to think like He thinks!

Can you imagine listening in on the conversation in the throne room of the universe? Can you imagine what it would be like to know what’s on God’s mind as He directs millions of angels and sustains billions of galaxies?

But God’s mental powers are so vastly superior to ours, how could we even dare to imagine that? Wouldn’t it be somewhat like an ant—or a microscopic amoeba—trying to understand the people who designed a skyscraper or built a rocket to take humans to the moon?

Still, God built us with the desire to know and learn and understand. We long to make sense of our world, and that means we yearn to understand the thoughts and plans of the Creator.

We wonder, What is God thinking when disaster strikes? What does He want me to learn from the trials I face? What does He want me to accomplish? What is His purpose for my life?

Incredibly, the Bible tells us God does want us to come to understand His thoughts, to read His mind—to actually begin to think like He does!

Mind the gap

But there are huge obstacles to overcome before achieving that. Our default state is far, far from that goal.

God clearly identifies the gap between our natural thoughts and His level of thinking:

“‘For My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways My ways,’ says 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).

Source of the separation

Our first parents, Adam and Eve, had direct contact with God and were offered access to the tree of life. This tree symbolized the Holy Spirit, by which God gives understanding of His thoughts and the opportunity for eternal life.

But we are naturally limited, and our thinking tends to focus on temporary pleasures to the detriment of the eternal perspective of God.

Adam and Eve showed this in their choice of the attractive fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. This temporal, inward thinking led them to ignore the command of God. By taking the forbidden fruit, they began building a barrier that distanced them and their children even further from the mind of God.

God’s prophet Isaiah described the results of this fateful choice:

“Your iniquities have separated you from your God; and your sins have hidden His face from you, so that He will not hear. …

“Their feet run to evil, and they make haste to shed innocent blood; their thoughts are thoughts of iniquity; wasting and destruction are in their paths. The way of peace they have not known, and there is no justice in their ways. …

“We grope for the wall like the blind, and we grope as if we had no eyes” (Isaiah 59:2, 7-8, 10).

As we have tried to figure out for ourselves what is right and wrong, human beings have drifted further and further from the right thinking that would lead to peace and justice. We have cut ourselves off from the mind of God.

Reading the Word of God

But God has not left humanity without a portal into His thinking. He inspired the books of the Bible to reveal His mind.

The Bible tells us what God considers right and wrong. He gave His good laws for our benefit (Deuteronomy 10:12-13). He teaches us the way of peace and the way to salvation and eternal life.

The Bible is full of practical wisdom that can help make life work the way it is supposed to work.

The Bible shows that God in His perfect wisdom has a plan to put such a heart in us! He wants us to have a heart and mind like His—to truly be able to read His mind.But it turns out that even having access to the Bible is not enough for us to fully understand the heart and mind of God. After giving His 10 Commandments to the children of Israel, God lamented, “Oh, that they had such a heart in them that they would fear Me and always keep all My commandments, that it might be well with them and with their children forever!” (Deuteronomy 5:29).

The Bible shows that God in His perfect wisdom has a plan to put such a heart in us! He wants us to have a heart and mind like His—to truly be able to read His mind.

Eye has not seen

As incredible as the Bible is, God tells us that it contains many things that are challenging to understand. There were things that Jesus’ disciples did not really comprehend until He gave them an added level of insight through the gift of the Holy Spirit (John 16:12-13).

The apostle Paul explained that, without God’s Spirit, we can’t truly understand the things beyond the human realm.

“‘Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, nor have entered into the heart of man the things which God has prepared for those who love Him.’ …

“But the natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; nor can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned” (1 Corinthians 2:9, 14).

At the right time for each person, God’s desire is to bring everyone to the knowledge of His truth and to lead us to repentance—a change of mind. As the apostle Peter powerfully commanded those who were cut to their hearts by recognizing their sins:

“Repent, and let every one of you be baptized … for the remission [forgiveness] of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit” (Acts 2:38).

God’s Spirit provides that missing connection to God that gives us insight into His motivations and His thinking. God wants us to have the mind of Christ (1 Corinthians 2:16; Philippians 2:5). He wants us to have the sound, balanced, eternal perspective He has. He wants us to be motivated to act in the right, beneficial, loving way He acts.

Your next step

Is God calling you to understand His written Word, the Bible? Is He stirring you to want to change and think and act as He does? If so, we encourage you to act on His calling now. Our free booklet Change Your Life! collects many vitally important passages that show how God wants you to respond. Download and study it today. Read God’s thoughts and act on them!

For more on the mind of God, read the articles in the section: “The 10 Commandments and God's Way of Life.”

About the Author

Mike Bennett

Mike Bennett

Mike Bennett is editorial content manager for the Church of God, a Worldwide Association, in the Dallas, Texas, area. He coordinates the Life, Hope & Truth website, Discern magazine, the Daily Bible Verse Blog and the Life, Hope & Truth Weekly Newsletter (including World Watch Weekly). He is also part of the Personal Correspondence team of ministers who have the privilege of answering questions sent to Life, Hope & Truth.

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