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Understanding the Mind of God

Updated: Oct 15, 2022

Have you ever wondered how God feels about you in the midst of a bad choice or dark place? Or how he wants you to handle those decisions or circumstances that led you to that darkness in the first place?

What I have come to learn is that, far from being the distant, remote God who was standing back ready to smite me for my offenses, my Creator meets me in the middle of those ugly choices with grace and mercy, ready to help me grow through them.

I remember one such time quite vividly. I was anxiously waiting for God to enter my thoughts and my heart to chastise me for a particularly poor choice I’d made. You know, the kind of choice that fills you with deep shame and self-loathing. All morning long I avoided him, instead choosing to rebuke myself for my stupidity. Shame and self-directed anger raged like a consuming wildfire in my heart.

Finally, after I had whipped myself up into an emotional pique, I cried out loud to the Lord, “Fine! I’m ready. Let’s get this over with. Just tell me all I did wrong.” Then I held my breath and waited for his powerful rebuke.

Only God didn’t greet me with the displeasure and retribution I felt I so readily deserved. Instead, he met me with such a rich love, so ripe with compassionate kindness that it broke my heart far more than his anger ever could.

That day he made it clear to me that he was with me, heart and soul, no matter my choices. No matter what. That there was no hole I could dig myself into. No set of circumstances I could find myself in, that he wouldn’t be right there in the trenches with me, loving and helping me to grow from and through it all.

And that knowledge changed me. Profoundly. It made me want to live in such a way that honored his tender loving-kindness for me.

Romans 5:6-8 tells us that, When the time was right, the Anointed One died for all of us who were far from God, powerless, and weak. Now it is rare to find someone willing to die for an upright person, although it’s possible that someone may give up his life for one who is truly good. But think about this: while we were wasting our lives in sin, God revealed His powerful love to us in a tangible display—the Anointed One died for us.

In that moment, and many moments moving forward, truth gently reminded me of what I knew but can sometimes forget: that I can’t earn God’s love; that is something only Jesus on the cross could earn for me. I can’t win my freedom; that’s a price only Jesus can pay for me.

Yes, sometimes the consequences of my choices remain. But in my spirit, I can experience freedom and healing always. I am empowered to move forward differently with the strength of the Almighty by my side.

And when others’ choices wound me? I remember God’s promise that nothing I go through is wasted in his hands. He works out all things for the good of those who love him (Romans 8:28) without exception.

I now understand how God's view of me when I struggle is such an important step toward healing, growth, and ultimately toward peace. And it is crystalized in a single word: “ennoia,” a word that appears in the New Testament twice. In its simplest terms, ennoia means thoughts or attitude. In a broader context, it means devotion, concept or having a notion.

God’s thought process (ennoia) is so different than yours and mine. His thoughts about my weaknesses and struggles aren’t one of judgement and anger, but of a heart that hurts with me. That wants to offer comfort, rest, and ultimately transformation leading to more meaningful, engaged living.

I realized that although my conceptual thought process of God was flawed, and rooted in a lot of guilt and condemnation, it could be replaced by his good and precious gift. The gift of Jesus dying on the cross—the t