High or Low Thoughts of God
There’s a great quotation I’ve come across a few times recently.
It goes like this:
What comes into our minds when we think about God is the most important thing about us.
Maybe you recognize this as being from A.W. Tozer’s timeless book on the attributes of God, The Knowledge of the Holy.
I love this thought because it orients us in the right direction. Our whole life is about being in relationship with God. That is the most important thing: knowing God, loving God, and serving him.
And what we think about the Lord—how we regard him—really shapes everything we do. For instance, if you are able to see God as your loving Father, you will strive to trust him. If you see God as the perfectly wise Lord, you will humbly submit to him.
But if God is a vague and distant being to you, or if you think of the Lord mainly as a stern judge, this will surely change how you relate to him.
“What comes into our minds when we think about God is the most important thing about us.” The following line from Tozer’s work explores the implications a little:
Worship is pure or base as the worshiper entertains high or low thoughts of God.
Do you have high thoughts of God? Big thoughts? Thankful and holy thoughts? Then you can expect that this will begin to transform your prayers to him, your worship, and your loyalty.
This is without question a Biblical idea. Whenever God shows himself to his people by his mighty deeds, or when God gives his promises, He expects a response. You cannot come into God’s presence, see his greatness and hear his Word, and still be unmoved. For now the question is: Do you fear him? Will you listen to him? Will you love him?
There’s a clear example of this transformation in the book of Isaiah. The prophet clearly has “high thoughts” of God. For sixty-six chapters, he presents a grand view of God as the Creator, Judge, and Redeemer. In Isaiah, God is the “High and Lofty One who inhabits eternity, whose name is Holy,” the Lord who dwells “in the high and holy place” (57:15).
Isaiah himself had a life-changing encounter with God. It happened when he had a vision of God in his temple in 6:2, surrounded by angels crying out,
Holy, holy, holy is the LORD of hosts!
God’s overwhelming glory moves Isaiah to total humility and a trembling fear. Yet encountering God also makes Isaiah eager to serve: “Here am I! Send me” (6:8). Even before he knows what God will command, he steps forward.
This is the readiness of true faith in God. This is the thankful impulse that lives in every believer: “I was dead and I was guilty, but I have been shown amazing grace in Christ, so let me serve God in gratitude!”
It’s one of the sure ways that you can tell if you’ve been moved by the glory of the Lord. Do you want to serve God? Is it your heart’s desire to follow Christ? It is when you, in all your weakness, still put up your hand and say, “Here I am! Send me!”
This is what God does: He transforms sinners! He transforms not just the life of Isaiah the prophet, but of you the student, and you the mother, the teacher, the grandparent, the neighbour, the husband.
The greatness and holiness and goodness and sovereignty of God changes our life. For He forgives renews us. He invites us to trust him, and He calls us to serve him.
Satan would love to get our eyes off God. Or if he can’t do that, he would love to give us low thoughts of the Lord, when we think of God as inadequate or harsh or disinterested.
So it’s crucial for our spiritual vitality to keep encountering the true glory of the Lord. This happens whenever we read Scripture with open eyes and see God as our Creator, our Saviour, and our Renewer. Have high thoughts of God, knowing that this holy God is behind you, above you, beside you, and within you.
Your life will never be the same.