Man's Thoughts or God's Thoughts:

Which am I Occupied With?

G. V. Wigram.

Christian Friend vol. 14, 1887, p. 9.

Everyone of the race of Adam is occupied with the one or the other. I would ask the reader to ponder Psalm 119:113 in connection with Psalm 139:17, noting that in the former psalm the word "vain" is an interpolation, and without any authority. Two things are contrasted here, it will be seen; viz., "thoughts" and "thy law;" that is, the word of God is the opposite to them, and is preferred by the writer to them.

Sin having come in, the value of the thoughts of man (spoilt as to everything concerning God, and himself too) comes before us very early in the history of this world. We hear it in Genesis 6 from the mouth of God Himself. Let us notice it well. 'Every imagination of the thoughts of his heart only evil,' and that continually. Nor did man change after the judgment of the flood, as the ages rolled away; for we read again God's mind unaltered as to him in Isaiah 55:8-11, recorded long after by that prophet. "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." Then He brings in (as in the Psalms) the word of God as corrective, and as that which replaces these thoughts of man. "For as the rain from heaven waters and refreshes the earth, so shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth." The word of God is given instead of the thoughts of men.

When we come to Christianity, God's testimony as to the thoughts of men is still the same. From the lips of the blessed Lord, God manifest in the flesh, we are called to hear it. "For that which is highly esteemed among men is abomination in the sight of God." What a sweeping judgment of all the so-called good thoughts of man! And again, from the same authority, than whom none can be greater, we have, "For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts." (Mark 7.) Nothing good, mark, but only that which is evil; as long before recorded in Genesis 6, "Only evil," and that continually. Such is man, my reader, and such is still the record of God concerning him for his attainments of intellect, wealth, power, science, or art, whatever they may be.

Well is it for us to have reached the same judgment of our thoughts as God has expressed, and in His word has so fully set before us; for then surely the less we encourage them the better. We shall then understand the meaning of the words as they stand, "I hate thoughts." (Psalm 119.) But what have we instead of our thoughts? Psalm 139 gives the answer, "How precious also are thy thoughts unto me, O God! how great is the sum of them!" We have God's thoughts to be occupied with, and it is the Word that gives them to us; for there only are they recorded. But God's thoughts now are not about us, but Christ. His thoughts of the first man we have already read in Genesis 6 and Isaiah 55, as well as in the New Testament. He has not, and cannot change His judgment concerning them. There stands the record unalterable, because it is His.

But there is another imperishable record. It is of One who was the object of the thoughts of God long before man was created on the earth, and before the earth was created that man should dwell there. "For Him" (Christ), as well as by Him, "were all things created." (Col. 1.) "I was set up from everlasting, from the beginning, or ever the earth was. When there were no depths, I was brought forth; when there were no fountains abounding with water … I was daily His delight" (Prov. 8.) Here we have what occupied our God from eternity, and before the creation. God formed man on the earth (after He had fitted it in beauty for his dwelling-place), and, giving him his wife, set him as head over all things. It was but a picture of what He purposed for Him who was ever "His delight," and to and for whom He purposed to give a universal and wider dominion than Adam ever held. Adam and his wife picture to us that the thought of God was "Christ and the Church," when He formed this first creation. He will bring into subjection to this thought of His every opposing element and creature, whether in heaven, or on earth, or under the earth. (Phil. 2:10.)

But if you have, my reader, as a poor sinner learnt the emptiness of your own thoughts, you have come to God, who has, first in the gospel, revealed to you His. But those thoughts were all about His Christ - "The gospel of God … concerning His Son." (Rom. 1:1-3.) Receiving them by faith, you have passed "from death unto life." What are the thoughts that you are now to be occupied with? They are the same; viz., God's thoughts and purposes to be accomplished in and by and for His Christ. It is wonderful that God should choose to communicate His thoughts to us. Not to angels (servants), but to men, whom He takes as "friends" into His secrets. And thus we read this wonderful unfolding of His mind through the apostle as follows: "Having made known unto us the mystery of His will, according to His good pleasure which He hath purposed in Himself: that in the dispensation of the fulness of times He might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth; even in Him: in whom also we have obtained an inheritance." (Eph. 1:9-11.)

God has one purpose, and that purpose is to exalt Christ. Christ is His object. He is calling out from the earth by the Holy Ghost a bride for Him. He has already crowned Him with "glory and honour," His answer to that work which He accomplished when He glorified God on the earth. God has said to Him, as the One rejected from the earth, "Sit thou at my right hand, until I make thine enemies thy footstool." Nothing has been defeated of all God's purposes, and we as the redeemed, the bride, are a necessary part for His glory of those purposes. In the book of Revelation Christ is the accomplisher of all God's purposes in judgment respecting the earth, the only one found "worthy to open the book" containing them, or even "to look thereon." All these purposes He makes known to the Church - "Write in a book and send it unto the seven churches," "to shew unto His servants things which must shortly come to pass."

Is then God's purpose and object, my reader, your purpose and object while you walk the earth? Have you accepted God's thoughts and given up all your own? The word of God (Heb. 4) is a "discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart," but even so it is as a sword; that is, it executes judgment upon them. This is important, for if a matter is corrected in the thought - that is, in its spring and source - the fruits are not seen, and therefore have not to be dealt with, as otherwise will surely be the case with us all. One may surely say, "Of what use is it to be occupied with anything else but God's thoughts, since every other thought must come to nought?" Well, this is surely the case; but we must not only talk, we must act. You will find that the thoughts you have are not always God's thoughts, that the thoughts of your heart are a frequent cause of loss of communion, trial, and discomfort to you. "Why do thoughts arise in your hearts?" was the question of our risen Saviour to His disciples; and was followed by, "Then opened He their understanding, that they might understand the scriptures." And what did these give them? Surely GOD's thoughts of that moment through which they were passing instead of their own! It brought Him before them instead of themselves, and it showed them that God's thoughts were about Him. "Ought not Christ to have suffered these things, and to enter into His glory? and beginning at Moses and all the prophets, He expounded unto them in all the scriptures the things concerning HIMSELF." If God does not occupy your thoughts, Satan will. It may be very subtle, but self is not Christ. "We trusted that it lead been He which should have redeemed Israel" (Luke 24), showed that they were occupied with their own thoughts. Let any Christian sit down, and, unless the Spirit furnishes him with God's thoughts, he will soon find he has thoughts unworthy of a Christian; and these, being not according to the Word, are his continual trial, unless he bring the sword upon them, according to Heb. 4.

"Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things." (Philippians 4.) The Lord give to us all to be mindful of this exhortation, and to be daily in the practice of saying, "How precious also are thy thoughts unto me, O God! How great is the sum of them!" Connecting too this verse with Ephesians 1:9-10, so shall we say, led into their depth as also was one of old, "He must increase, but I must decrease." H. C. A.

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What is my place and my power to walk? God has raised me up together with His Son, and given me the Spirit; and because of that I go on, and every thing that is not of Him I have to judge. The walk of the Spirit is one of separation from all that is not of the Father. Believers ought to walk as being dead, buried, and risen with Christ; as those who are espoused to their heavenly Bridegroom, saying, "We cannot do what He would not like." Nature may say, I should like that, or wish this; but the answer is, "No; you belong to Christ: and if Christ's wish is contrary to yours, you are not to have yours." By His blood He has brought you into the place where He is now, and you can say, "I will give it up; I will count that dead for which He died. It has death upon it; I give it up." G. V. W.