God Cares What You Think About Him

God Wants to be Understood

Avoiding misunderstandings is a good goal for everyone, of course, no matter what the relationship may be. Even God wants to avoid misunderstandings. He spoke to the Israelites as Moses brought them to the borders of the land they were to inhabit:

I dreaded the taunt of the enemy,
    lest the adversary misunderstand
and say, “Our hand has triumphed;
    the Lord has not done all this.” (Deuteronomy 32:26-27.)

“Let there be no misunderstandings,” God seems to emphasize. Is there another faith in history that has a god who cares what people think? The ones I’ve read about have gods who pursue their own desires and care not one bit whether people understand their purposes and actions. Yet the one true God is gracious, desiring that the enemies of God’s people will understand him.

God wants you to understand him, too. It is part of the good news – part of the gospel of grace and peace and reconciliation God offers you.

In the same way, the gospel is bearing fruit and growing throughout the whole world — just as it has been doing among you since the day you heard it and truly understood God’s grace. (Colossians 1:6.)

The gospel bears fruit throughout the world, and part of that fruit is understanding God.

Understanding the Gospel, Understanding God

God not only desires that you understand him. He wants to be your teacher.

This is what the Lord says —
    your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel:
“I am the Lord your God,
    who teaches you what is best for you,
    who directs you in the way you should go.” (Isaiah 48:17.)

This is the promise Jesus gave his friends, and it’s God’s ministry within you now.

But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you. (John 14:26.)

This is yet more grace, that God will be the one to teach you about himself. It’s because God wants there to be no misunderstandings between you and him.

Understand?

***

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15 Responses to God Cares What You Think About Him

  1. When I have disagreements with other Christians about what Scripture means, I think of John 14:26 and pray that the Holy Spirit would teach us both.

    • Tim says:

      I think of Philippians 3:15 at those times, Ellen: “All of us, then, who are mature should take such a view of things. And if on some point you think differently, that too God will make clear to you.” The thing is, I often don’t know if I’m the one with a mature view or the one who needs to have things cleared up for me. That’s where the promise of John 14:26 is so reassuring.

      • Thanks for that, Tim! I read through the Bible last year, and started with a different reading plan, which I’ve abandoned as too ambitious. Lately I’ve been thinking that perhaps I should slowly read through the New Testament. Any good companion material you would recommend?

        • Tim says:

          I use a study Bible and read from Genesis to Revelation with the study notes and essays. The first time I did this it was with the NIV Study Bible. If you’re thinking NT, just start with Matthew 1 and read the text and the notes. It’s like reading the Bible with a commentary alongside.

        • Thanks, Tim! I think I’ll dust off the very first Bible I ever bought myself: an NIV Study Bible.

  2. Laura Droege says:

    Contrasting the Christian God with other gods is revealing, particularly for me, as I grew up with God always being good, sovereign, etc. It’s easy to take “God=good=has my best interests at heart=willing to show me when I’m wrong” for granted. When I read Greek or Roman mythology, though, I see “gods” who are selfish, deceptive, and more like immortal-but-depraved humans than anything else! Eye opening. God wants to teach me?! Wow!

  3. Jeannie says:

    I really appreciate your writing about this aspect of God’s character, Tim, because it shows us that God longs for true relationship with us. I know you are of a Reformed bent in your theology (whether large or small R) and as someone who attended that type of church for a number of years I have to admit I still struggle with the concept of God that is sometimes presented there. While I believe, and base my faith on, the idea that God has already done everything needed for my salvation etc., that concept can also make it seem as if God is the only one in this relationship and He’ll go right on “doing His God thing” regardless of what I do or think. (I don’t mean that irreverently; I’m just trying to describe the tone that some of this theology can take at times.) So I appreciate the passages of Scripture like the ones you cite here, that show God making himself vulnerable, allowing our presence/absence to touch His heart, caring that we know and understand Him as He truly is.

    • Tim says:

      When Jesus was with family and friends, he was showing the ultimate vulnerability. He told James and John that if he wanted to he could call down an army of angels to wipe out the people who had rejected him, but instead he allowed the hurt to happen.

  4. Pastor Bob says:

    You should see the fire flowing from one man who is upset that “so called Christians” support Women in the Ministry. Clearly grace, patience, and other positive aspects of godly discussion are missing. Misunderstanding would be an improvement!

    Clearly understanding, discerning and interpreting the Word of God are essential qualities we all need. God in His wisdom has given us tools within His word, and wise guides to help us.

    Blessings to all!

  5. Tim says:

    What are you talking about?

    • I was just illustrating how easy it is to misunderstand something. And I was reminded of this Alan Greenspan quote – amongst others (I had a thing for quotes) – which I had on my wall as an adolescent: “I know you think you understand what you thought I said but I’m not sure you realize that what you heard is not what I meant”. Best thing is just to ignore me and carry on, I think.

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