Getting and Giving the Thoughts of God
Since the maker is greater than what it makes, the human brain is superior to the thoughts it produces. And it follows that the God who made our brain is far greater than it is, and his thoughts are more lofty than ours.
WORDS are the bullets used in the war for men’s minds, and they are fired from every weapon in the arsenals of propaganda. They incessantly drum on our ears and seek to fill our minds with the thoughts and promises of men. In tireless waves they come to brainwash everyone into conformity, dissolving and rinsing from the mind any thoughts that contradict their message. If they can deluge the mind continually other thoughts will have no room, will be crowded out. That is the strategy of the sustained fire of these verbal bullets, the purpose of their churning in like the ocean surf. And different groups fire at our minds with different doctrines, deluge us with varying propagandas.
But whose thoughts are right? Whose contain the highest wisdom? Whose words will prove to be true? Whose promises will be fulfilled? Do you know any man who is completely free of all wickedness, who is wholly righteous? Jesus said: “Nobody is good, except one, God.” Paul quoted: “There is not a righteous man, not even one.” Hence the Bible counsels: “Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts; and let him return unto Jehovah.” Why to Jehovah God? Listen: “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith Jehovah. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts. For as the rain cometh down and the snow from heaven, and returneth not thither, but watereth the earth, and maketh it bring forth and bud, and giveth seed to the sower and bread to the eater; so shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it.”—Mark 10:18; Rom. 3:10, NW; Isa. 55:7-11, AS.
When God created man he gave man a brain capable of thought. Some of the thoughts of man are beautiful and wise and reflect the marvels of the brain able to conceive them. But Jehovah made this brain. It is the product of his thinking, only a minute reflection of his limitless wisdom. Man’s loftiest thoughts must always be light-years below God’s thoughts, just as the earth is below the incomprehensible heights of the heavens. Only a vain fool would try to compete with God’s thinking. A grasshopper would have more chance of outwitting a man. Jehovah’s thoughts are infallible. His word is always true, finding fulfillment, never returning to him void. Its expressed purpose is always accomplished, just as the falling rain and snow fulfill their mission to water the earth to make it produce food for man and beast.
Each passing year piles higher the rubbish heap of man’s broken promises and erroneous thoughts, but “the word spoken by Jehovah endures forever.” By getting the thoughts of God we can get wisdom that is higher and more reliable than man’s. Jehovah’s words will guide us in the right way and we can hold on to them with confidence: “The words of the wise are like goads; and collections which are given by one teacher are like nails driven with a sledge.” In ancient times goads, long sticks with iron points, were used to keep oxen moving in the right direction. Wise words from God will keep us moving in the right way, and if we stray into wicked ways they will prick our conscience and cause us to change our course. Like nails sledged into a board, these wise words given by the one true God, Jehovah, will hold fast and support us, steady and stabilize us. Jesus said he did not speak his own thoughts but those of God, and that any who heard and obeyed those sayings were like a discreet man who built his house on a rock foundation. Men who refused to do this were building on sand and when the storm came their houses would collapse. Any who build their hope on the promises of men are building on sand.—1 Pet. 1:25, NW; Eccl. 12:11, AT.
GETTING THE THOUGHTS OF GOD
Jehovah’s created works declare his glory and power and reflect his wisdom, but they do not convey to us his specific thoughts or precepts. These we must get from his words recorded in the Bible. Will you receive those words, listen to them, try to understand them? “My son, if thou wilt receive my words, and lay up my commandments with thee; so as to incline thine ear unto wisdom, and apply my heart to understanding; yea, if thou cry after discernment, and lift up thy voice for understanding; if thou seek her as silver, and search for her as for hid treasures: then shalt thou understand the fear of Jehovah, and find the knowledge of God. For Jehovah giveth wisdom; out of his mouth cometh knowledge and understanding: he layeth up sound wisdom for the upright; he is a shield to them that walk in integrity.” So we must seek and search out his thoughts by studying the Bible, for it is in that book that he has laid up sound wisdom for us. To know and understand his thoughts will shield our mind from the brainwashing propagandas of worldly men.—Prov. 2:1-7, AS.
As a man thinks, so is he. Changed thinking changes the man, but no apparent change is genuine if the thinking remains the same. To serve Jehovah one must oust the thoughts of men that contradict the thoughts of God. Any conversion short of this is only surface sham. “Put away the old personality which conforms to your former course of conduct,” Paul said, adding: “Be made new in the force actuating your mind.” It is an accurate knowledge of God’s thoughts that makes us over: “Strip off the old personality with its practices, and clothe yourselves with the new personality which through accurate knowledge is being renewed.” We are no longer shaped by worldly thinking and propaganda: “Quit being fashioned after this system of things, but be transformed by making your mind over, that you may prove to yourselves the good and acceptable and complete will of God.”—Eph. 4:22, 23; Col. 3:9, 10; Rom. 12:2, NW.
Note the admonition, “Prove to yourselves.” If you can prove to yourself from the Bible the thoughts of God you have adopted, no brainwashing will sweep them from your mind. It is not enough to know what you believe; know why you believe it. The U.S. News & World Report, February 24, 1956, published an interview with an army major on the subject, “Why Did Many GI Captives Cave In?” He said an amazing one third of all the American prisoners became either Communist sympathizers or collaborators during their stay in Communist prison camps. The reason he gave was that they had no thorough knowledge of democratic principles and lacked real loyalties and convictions based on deep understanding. When asked about those with religious convictions, he said if those convictions were deep and were a part of their daily life the men could resist successfully, but if their religion was a “foxhole religion” picked up on the battlefield during an intense emotional experience or crisis it did not sustain them over a long period of time. It was not really a part of them. It must be “an active, working, practical, meaningful moral code of their own, not just a set of abstract ideas, but a way of living among others.”
An article in the New York Times Magazine, May 9, 1954, discussed Communist brainwashing techniques and concluded: “There is only one form of immunization against the totalitarian attack on human convictions.” That one way was shown to be having deep convictions and thorough understanding of your belief. Otherwise, the article said, you “will become an easy and willing victim, howling with the wolves in the woods.” Jesus spoke of wolves in sheep’s clothing trying to rob men of their faith in God by lying propagandas, and Revelation 16:14 (NW) speaks of the lies of Satan and his organization by which men are herded into a fight with God: “They are, in fact, expressions inspired by demons and perform signs, and they go forth to the kings of the entire inhabited earth, to gather them together to the war of the great day of God the Almighty.” So to resist the brainwashing propagandas of Satan and his world system, we must thoroughly study God’s Word, get his thoughts, entrench them through knowledge and understanding, and apply them in our daily lives.
GIVING THE THOUGHTS OF GOD
One of God’s words or commands is to preach his thoughts to others. We must apply this in our lives. It will help entrench his thoughts deeper in our own minds while we impart them to others. And though getting these thoughts of God brought us much happiness and contentment of mind, we shall find that giving them to others brings even greater happiness, just as Paul quoted Jesus as saying: “There is more happiness in giving than there is in receiving.”—Acts 20:35, NW.
To preach effectively we must have a good knowledge of God’s thoughts and we must study to present them with force and conviction. Our words of preaching must enter minds already filled with words of worldly propagandas, with the thoughts of worldly men. Ours must be powerful and convincing to crowd out what is already there. Paul said: “The weapons of our warfare are not fleshly, but powerful by God for overturning strongly entrenched things. For we are overturning reasonings and every lofty thing raised up against the knowledge of God, and we are bringing every thought into captivity to make it obedient to the Christ.” Erroneous thoughts of men are entrenched in many minds. Often these thoughts are contrary to Jehovah’s Word. These falsehoods must be overturned before those minds can think the thoughts of God and conform their ideas to the teachings of Christ Jesus.—2 Cor. 10:4, 5, NW.
Though these thoughts are worth far more than silver or gold, it is difficult to give them away. By his flood of propaganda “the god of this system of things has blinded the minds of the unbelievers, that the illumination of the glorious good news about the Christ, who is the image of God, might not shine through.” Satan keeps millions in the dark by filling their mind so full of trivialities and falsehoods that no room remains for enlightening truths about Jehovah. Through his demonic mental assaults Satan thinks for these millions, implanting his thoughts in their mind and filling their heart with his ways, yet doing it so subtly that they think these thoughts are their own. We usually believe what we want to believe, and one thing we like to believe is that we do our own thinking. Hence it is not too hard for clever propagandists to make us think their thoughts are ours. They plant the thought and nourish it, but do it so subtly that we think it is our own.—2 Cor. 4:4, NW.
“We may not be overreached by Satan, for we are not ignorant of his designs.” We should know the clever tricks of his propagandists. They are many, but to mention just one, unsavory labels are stuck on anything that they oppose. If one is intellectual he is an egghead. If he likes good music he is a longhair. If he has good manners he is a sissy. If he reads good books he is a bookworm. If he takes his true worship seriously he is a fanatic. But if he breezes airily by the better things, not being overly serious, he is a regular fellow. But to be pushed around by such social pressure, to be shoved and maneuvered by a fear of labels, is to show a pathetic immaturity, an inability to think for ourselves, a lack of intelligent convictions. We should gain accurate knowledge for ourselves, “in order that we should no longer be babes, tossed about as by waves and carried hither and thither by every wind of teaching by means of the trickery of men, by means of craftiness in contriving error.”—2 Cor. 2:11; Eph. 4:14, NW.
Why be tricked by crafty men into adopting their thoughts, especially when those men have themselves been snared by Satan and pumped full of his poisonous subtleties and like ventriloquists’ dummies chatter them out under his unseen direction? Why allow yourself to be brainwashed by dupes oblivious to their own mental bondage? The brains of millions need a washing, but not with the political or religious propagandas of this system of things under Satan. Rather, everyone needs regular cleansings “with the bath of water by means of the word” of Jehovah God, to get his thoughts instead of man’s or Satan’s. Then all will rest content in the highest possible wisdom: “The wisdom from above is first of all chaste, then peaceable, reasonable, ready to obey, full of mercy and good fruits, not making partial distinctions, not hypocritical.”—Eph. 5:26; Jas. 3:17, NW.