Question: "Does God know our thoughts?"
Answer: Thoughts are the most private parts of our human experience. No one else can know our thoughts unless we communicate them, so we tend to imagine that anything we think is safe, as long as it stays in our minds. But there is one Person who always knows what we are thinking; God knows everything about us, and He also knows our thoughts.
God knows our thoughts no matter who or where we are. Psalm 139 begins this way: “O LORD, you have searched me and known me! You know when I sit down and when I rise up; you discern my thoughts from afar” (verses 1–2). God searches the hearts and minds of people, seeking those whose hearts are turned toward Him (Jeremiah 12:3; 1 Chronicles 29:17; Acts 15:8). Two of the Ten Commandments deal with our thoughts. The first commandment is to have no other gods before the Lord (Exodus 20:3). That is a heart matter. The tenth commandment warns us not to covet what others have (Exodus 20:17). Coveting is also a sin of our thoughts. When Jesus walked the earth, He knew people’s thoughts and answered before they even verbalized their questions (Matthew 9:4; 12:25; Luke 9:47; 11:17). In this way, Jesus exhibited the divine trait of omniscience.
It can be intimidating to realize that God knows our thoughts. He knows the angry thoughts, lustful thoughts, vengeful ideas, secret greed, and hidden coveting. God also knows about those secret longings, hopeful desires, and private dreams. And He understands. First John 3:20 assures us that “if our hearts condemn us, we know that God is greater than our hearts, and he knows everything.” Sometimes we are harder on ourselves than God is. He knows we are frail humans made from dirt and born with a sin nature (Psalm 103:14).
If we have given our lives to Christ, then we should find comfort in remembering that our loving Father knows us better than we know ourselves. God knows our desire to please Him (Psalm 37:23), even though we stumble at it. Within that loving relationship, we have confidence to cry, “Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting” (Psalm 139:23–24). We don’t have to be afraid of being vulnerable to our Creator. And there’s no sense in trying to hide things from Him. Whatever the issue, He already knows about it and wants us to feel safe enough to confess our thoughts to Him (Psalm 50:15; 91:15; 1 John 5:14–15). God knows our thoughts, and He helps us to know ourselves better when we talk them over with Him.