The mind of man is always filled with thoughts. They drive him to do various works yielding varied results. Thoughts are always present, but to discern them as right and wrong, profitable and unprofitable and wise and unwise is not in the power of man. Results determine the nature of man’s thoughts. Still, he always intends to do what comes to his mind unaware of the consequences. He finds means to perform them with all his power. This power is in the flesh, but the power to discern his thoughts is not. When Adam sinned, he was left with power in the flesh alone. Since Adam it gained dominance and sin taking the opportunity began to implement its work in man. So, all have become sinners. With the absence of the discerning power, men do whatever comes into their mind. Nevertheless, some who found it were able to discern their thoughts. They knew them exactly as God had discerned; it was by their deep relationship with God. Among them one was inclined to say, “Trust in the LORD with all your heart and do not lean on your own understanding” (Prov. 3:5).
The reason men and women do works that are wrong, unwise or unprofitable is because they suppose their thoughts as judicious. Sadly, there are many in the churches just like them. The main reason for men and women in the churches to freely act by their thoughts is failure to wholly trust in the Lord. They have faith, but not to the point of accepting Him in all their ways. They are short of His guidance. This also reflects the faithfulness of men and women that lead them. Christians are called a people set apart for an important reason. It is to indicate their distinction with the worldly. Men sin, do wrong and unprofitable works by their thoughts that are developed by the ruler of this world. If Christians act like them in as far as being unable to judge their thoughts for the sake of God, they have not known Him. Their works, piousness and words born from their thoughts do not set them apart from the world; even men with the power of flesh possess them. But when God called them, it is to put trust wholly in Him so that He clearly sets them apart from this world with His understanding. For this reason, God from the beginning spoke His word to men. And, regarding this word the Spirit at one place indicates that God spoke long ago in many ways and many portions, but now has spoken in His Son.
All understanding comes from the word. Yet, how is it possible to obtain it when one is still with his thoughts? He will only receive according to what he carries in him. It will not be of the Son and will be useless. And when one does works with what was deemed useless, what worth can he bring to God and His people? He certainly did not fully trust in the Lord, much less find understanding. Trusting wholly in the Lord drives us to approach Him with a clear mind. It comes from our sanctification. It drives us to purge from us the idea of knowing Him with our thoughts. Then, great is the advantage. The power of God begins producing thoughts in us. The understanding He gives will be His power to us. It discerns every thought that appears in us. It drives us to do the works and speak the words that are right, wise and profitable for the glory of God.
When God is glorified in us, He inevitably honors us. No matter how many times Satan tries to infringe our mind with his power or incite our flesh to overcome understanding we thwart him off. We demonstrate the meaning of living faithful unto death for the crown of life. For every true child of God is constantly at war with the devil spurning his every deceptive way; his ways do not bring reward. Men whose thoughts are developed by them will fail. But, we who are given understanding will not be so. For He says, “The portion of Jacob is not like these; For the Maker of all is He, and Israel is the tribe of His inheritance; The LORD of hosts is His name” (Jer. 10:16).
Satan, who is the source of power to the flesh, is capable of many things. One capability of his is to compel you to develop thoughts for works that seemingly please the Lord. For this reason, many deceive themselves as devout Christians. They do many works at and for the church. They devise good themes and work for them; strive to be pious. Yet, their thoughts do not produce an outcome that displays the power of God; God does not profit by them. Sure, they cause some profit with which they are satisfied. It is glory to them, their work and their people. And, this is exactly what Satan wanted that they work with his power to please God. Will God be really pleased? But, what can the power of God, i.e. understanding, really bring? It brings glory to God; convinces men of God; gives defeat to Satan as men do not walk by their thoughts. It is indeed a defeat to Satan when Christians receive understanding from the Lord for all they do; he reaps failure. God performs marvelous things by them for His glory. For they have done what He wished. “For I delight in loyalty rather than sacrifice, And in the knowledge of God rather than burnt offerings” (Hos. 6:6).
It is good to often test ourselves to see where our loyalty lies, since it is easy to get carried away by the cunningness of Satan. God does not want you to burden yourself with works to please Him. Rather He desires you first be loyal to Him. If you have grasped this, it becomes very difficult for Satan to put a snare around you. What did all those burnt offerings and sacrifices of Israel give to God? Nothing; it only profited them in that they devised their own glory and that of their people. They had thoughts for Him, but lacked the power to discern. Their loyalty was to the flesh and hence, did not fully trust in God. But we, brethren, ought not to be like them. We are not to be carried away with the idea of doing works like them lest we make it a doctrine for salvation. We must take note from what Paul elsewhere mentioned of Abraham receiving wages without working. Yet, did not Abraham do works? He did them by faith. What do I mean? He first became loyal to God that he obtained understanding for the works God desired from him. Some assume they are justified just by the things they do for the Lord on the first day of the week. In that case, they are boasting before God. It does not credit them His wages, which is righteousness.
See what the Spirit says of the mind of God. “And He made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth, having determined their appointed times and the boundaries of their habitation” (Acts 17:26). Many have entered the church, but without the knowledge of God. They include the people that preach, teach and serve. Their ignorance became a fuel to the purpose of Satan. There is a reason God created us through one man, appointed our times and the boundaries of our dwelling places. It is to know Him, seek Him and feel Him in our hearts by the understanding He gives. It is His desire that no matter where men live, irrespective of their surroundings, they glorify Him. And, He made every provision for it. Therefore, though through one man, Adam, He made all, through one man, Jesus Christ, He brings men of many nations near to Him. He set them apart from the world and its ruler that they trust in Him alone. This is the beginning of godly life. Anyone that obtains it will gladly deny leaning on his own understanding. He understands the danger of relying on his thoughts. He hates being disloyal to God. He detects the ways of Satan, the power of the flesh and the working nature of sin. God makes full use of his appointed time; He glorifies His name from his dwelling place.
Each of us must take to heart the advice the Spirit of God gave to our predecessors. “As we have said before, so I say again now, if any man is preaching to you a gospel contrary to what you received, he is to be accursed!” (Gal. 1:9). There is a gospel that is not in contradiction to God. It is realized only by leaning on God’s understanding; it will be for our well being. If there is any other, it brings curse upon us. What do we desire – to trust in the Lord or to lean on our own understanding? Trusting in the Lord means to castrate our thoughts that obstruct God to work in us. This is our loyalty to Him. It is the way for the understanding that is congruent for God.
There are many that have a gospel, which is of their understanding. But we are to seek the gospel, which is of God’s understanding. The gospel that came from above will not mingle with the gospel of the flesh. So, there will always be a conflict of interest. The gospel from above provides peace, joy, love and prosperity besides eternal life. The gospel of the flesh leads to boasting, deception, and the power of the flesh besides death. People born of it do not realize the power of God. They become aliens to understanding. This is the danger of possessing a gospel of the flesh. “For when they maintain this, it escapes their notice that by the word of God the heavens existed long ago and the earth was formed out of water and by water” (2 Pet. 3:5).
See the understanding we possess when we trust in the Lord! We see where the power lies. We fear pretending obedience to God and to act on our thoughts to please Him. We turn loyal to Him. We receive from the word that which demonstrates God’s will in us. He brings out from us that which is not in the power of the flesh. He does so by filling us with His thoughts. They can be concurred from the word. Therefore, we understand them. For the One who is with us to the end is not weak toward us. “His feet were like burnished bronze, when it has been made to glow in a furnace, and His voice was like the sound of many waters” (Rev. 1:15).