It Was Not What They Thought
Solomon said, “There is a way which seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death” (Prov. 14:12). Many live their lives oblivious to the result. Paul said, “What fruit had ye then in those things whereof ye are not ashamed? For the end of those things is death” (Rom. 6:21). Yet, some are living their lives thinking something completely different from what God intends. The prophet Jeremiah said, “O Lord, I know that the way of man is not in himself: it is not in man that walketh to direct his steps” (Jer. 10:23). The choice before all is either to walk by faith or to walk by sight (2 Cor. 5:7). The danger for countless millions is that they think one thing, but later come to find out that it was not what they thought. Let me offer a few biblical illustrations.
Naaman thought, but it was not what he thought. In Second Kings 5, he wanted to be cured of his leprosy. He traveled from Syria to Israel to the doorstep of the prophet Elisha. Yet, when one of Elisha’s messengers sent simple instructions to immerse in the Jordan River seven times to be cured, he “was wroth.” He angrily went away “and said, ‘Behold, I thought…’” (2 Kings 5:11). Sure, he thought Elisha would come out instead of sending a messenger. He thought Elisha would stand and flamboyantly “call on the name of the Lord his God.” He thought Elisha would extravagantly strike or wave “his hand over the place,” and then he would be cured. He thought, but it was not what he thought!
Simon thought, but it was not what he thought. The former sorcerer/fraud was truly converted by the preaching of Philip along with the other Samaritans, because he “himself believed also: and when he was baptized….” No doubt, he “wondered, beholding the miracles and signs which were done” (Acts 8:13). Yet, when Peter and John came to lay hands on these new Christians to receive the Holy Ghost, Simon, seeing this taking place, offered them money to purchase this same ability. He thought that he could purchase the gift of God with money, but it was not what he thought. He thought he was beginning his life as a new creation in the right way, but it was not what he thought. In other words, once again, he thought, but it was not what he thought.
By means of application today, many think that the church of Christ is a denomination, but it is not what they thought. Christ built just one church (Matt. 16:18), beautifully arranged and adorned in the fashion that He desired, detailed in the New Testament by a divine pattern of organization, manner of worship, terms of entrance, and such like. Many think that they can spiritually live divisively, but it is not what they thought. Many have preconceived ideas about how we should do things religiously, or how God should do things spiritually. Many think, but it was not what they thought! Therefore, may we all learn to trust God and do things precisely as He has requested. Only then will we avoid thinking the wrong way! Only then will I avoid the vivid scenario to come in the Judgment Day of waking up in hell, only to realize, “I thought, but it was not what I thought!”