“And this is the message I proclaim—that the day is coming when God, through Christ Jesus, will judge everyone’s secret life.”
Romans 2:16 NLT
We all have what Paul referred to as a “secret life”. We have become well accustomed to the knowledge that our thoughts are private. Sometimes, jokingly or otherwise, we will look at a person during a conversation and say that we know what they’re thinking, but that cannot really be the case. Our thoughts are hidden from those around us. They form for most a safe space where we can be alone with our thoughts, feeling safe in the knowledge that no-one knows, or so we think, what is going on in our minds.
But what does go on in our minds? We have practical thoughts, planning out the day ahead. We have feelings or thoughts of pleasure or pain. In our minds we feel anxiety or security, depending on our circumstances. In our minds we develop our characters and our motives in life. External influences can promote all sorts of thoughts, too complex to list. Our minds flit from one thought to another and back again in a seemingly unending circuitous and exhausting world, reaching far beyond our physical presence. That “secret life” embedded within us can go on to produce good or bad actions and behaviour. Our minds can become scrambled and sick. What an incredibly complex part of our soul or spirit lives between our ears. Our brains are very complex organisms but, like the central processing unit within a computer, external observations may see electrical impulses but not what they mean.
But there is Someone who can see what is going on within our minds, who can see our “secret life“. That Person is our wonderful Heavenly Creator God. Our thoughts and emotions also belong in another world, a spiritual world which God created and has access to. Is it a bit radical or misguided to think that? Is the promotion of a parallel spiritual universe just a fiction? But how else can we explain where God lives and a verse like Jeremiah 17:10? We read, “But I, the Lord, search all hearts and examine secret motives. I give all people their due rewards, according to what their actions deserve.”
A much quoted verse in Hebrews 4:12. “For the word of God is alive and powerful. It is sharper than the sharpest two-edged sword, cutting between soul and spirit, between joint and marrow. It exposes our innermost thoughts and desires”. The writer of the letter to the Hebrews connects what God says, and has said, with an analogy using our physical bodies. In God’s Word we have a contact point between the spiritual world governing our thoughts, and the physical world where we can use our other organs, such as our eyes, to find out how our spiritual world should behave and think.
But for everyone there will come a time when our inner thoughts will be judged. Jesus, the Son of God, knew about people’s thoughts. We read in Matthew 9:4, “Jesus knew what they were thinking, so he asked them, “Why do you have such evil thoughts in your hearts?”” He also warned that one day everything will be exposed. We read in Luke 12:3-4, “The time is coming when everything that is covered up will be revealed, and all that is secret will be made known to all. Whatever you have said in the dark will be heard in the light, and what you have whispered behind closed doors will be shouted from the housetops for all to hear!” Jesus did some straight talking to the Pharisees, as we read in Matthew 12:34, 36, “You brood of snakes! How could evil men like you speak what is good and right? For whatever is in your heart determines what you say. And I tell you this, you must give an account on judgment day for every idle word you speak”. What we are thinking determines what we say, and one day all those thoughts and words will be judged.
When will that time be? We read about the final Judgement Day in Revelation 20. It will be a terrible time for all those whose names are not recorded in the Lamb’s Book of Life. But we pilgrims know how to ensure that we are saved from a judgement with such a dreadful outcome. And so we pray with the Psalmist his prayer recorded in Psalm 139:23-24, “Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. Point out anything in me that offends you, and lead me along the path of everlasting life“. That path starts at the Cross, and continues with the transforming of our thought processes through the Holy Spirit. We read in Ephesians 4:23, “Instead, let the Spirit renew your thoughts and attitudes“. What a wonderful Heavenly Father we worship! Through His Son we have so much to look forward to, as He helps us day by day in our walk to eternal life with Him.
Father God. We thank You for Your Spirit, so freely available to us. We pray today for a fresh infilling with Your Spirit, to help us move onwards in our daily journey through this physical life. In Jesus’ name. Amen.