Being of Sound Mind


     As Christians, we have been called to be a powerful transforming force in the earth.  In Revelation 3:21, the Lord says that all those who overcome will be granted to sit with Him on His throne. This is a throne of authority that comes from His Blood, His Testimony, and His Victory on the cross – delegated to each individual who has been proven to be faithful and able to administer His authority in this world and in the realm to come. 

     Christians have a delegated authority while here as the ‘sent ones’ and the Lord is also speaking of the future where we operate in even greater authority than has been seen on earth.  I believe this because the Lord continues with, ‘as [in like manner] I also overcame and sat down with My Father in His throne’.  Because of His successful and finished work of redemption Jesus Christ gained even more authority as He took back what the devil gained from Adam.  He has delegated that to us. (See Matt. 28:18-20)

     The apostle Paul gives us a clue as to how the Lord ‘also overcame’ to ultimately possess a new level of authority as ‘Kind of kings, and Lord of lords’ over all things above, in, and under the earth.   A key to victory is often found while pressing through the wilderness experiences.   After Paul tells Timothy to stir up or rekindle the gift of God within, he give him the reason in 2 Timothy 1:7 -

For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.

     A sound mind establishes Godly love that releases supernatural power. I do not believe a Christian will have supernatural power without supernatural love.  This supernatural love comes by having a sound mind.  To properly address the gift of God given to us is to stand up, dust ourselves off, and be faithful, ready to overcome any obstacle to our gift (our supernaturally mandated ability and purpose) that is being faithfully used in service to our King.

     In our world today we are now being pressed from all sides.  Victories of moral and spiritual matters appear to be losing ground. People all around us are heavy-hearted and many are fearful.  The media almost seem bent on casting doubt, despair, confusion and fear on the general population.  Cultures are being divided and economic and societal class differences are being cast with a perverted slant for malicious intent.  As Christians and heirs with Christ, how do we reconcile this fear against His spirit of power, love, and a sound mind?  That’s the rub, isn’t it?  Let me share what I’ve learned and perhaps it may help you.

     First, to have true God-Power we must receive and flow in Holy Spirit’s ‘dunamis’ power or miraculous, forceful power.  Through humble submission we are made strong.  Next, to love God’s way, ‘agape’ love, is to love unhindered and unwavering, supernaturally because of Holy Spirit’s presence and power in our lives.

     The power piece of this verse is the reference to a ‘sound mind’ because scripture tells us that our thoughts are the battleground and unless we think God’s way we are already living a defeated life. 

     In 2 Timothy 1:7 above, the original Greek word we translate as ‘sound mind’ in English is sophronismos (so-fron-is-mos) and it means ‘discipline of self-control’.  It takes some effort and time to establish self-control.  Control of most kinds involves an initial assessment and then a doing to the point of mastering.  Simple things are mastered quickly; the human self sometimes takes a bit more effort.  In times of crisis we have an even greater challenge to master ourselves and our surroundings.

     Words are developed over time by adding to a root word and adding elements.  To give you an example, the English root word ‘ambul’ means ‘walking or moving around’ and is where we get ‘ambulance’ which means ‘a vehicle to move patients’.  For our purpose here, to properly understand the picture Paul had in mind regarding a sound mind we must understand the roots of its meaning. 

     There are three other greek words that are the incremental root words for the sophronismos or self-control that Paul speaks of. Sozo > Sophron > Sophronizo > Sophronismos.

     Sozo means ‘to save, deliver or protect’.  Sozo is the root word for sophron which means ‘to be moderate as to opinion and passion’.  Sophron is the root word for sophronizo which means ‘to discipline or correct’. And sophronizo is the root of our word sophronismos which again means ‘discipline or self-control’.   So when we see a need to ‘save, deliver or protect’ (sozo) we must maintain a healthy ‘moderation in our opinion and passions’ (sophron) while we ‘discipline or correct’ (sophronizo) so that we express a stable personal ‘discipline and self-control’ (sophronismos).  See the progression? 

     The progression of word development gives us some insight.   In our world of trial, fear, and dismay there are many things that can arrest our attention and provoke a desire to do something about the issues.  An example of this from scripture is when Moses was provoked to deliver his people from bondage and killed an Egyptian out of irrational haste.    If the Old Testament were written in Greek it could be suggested that Moses went from seeing the need ‘to save, deliver, protect’ (sozo) straight ‘to discipline or correct’ (sophronizo).   He bypassed the moderation ‘as to opinion and passion‘ (sophron). 

     Let me illustrate with a modern story.  Some who have grown up in America may remember ‘Mayberry RFD’ or ‘The Andy Griffith Show’.  In these shows, Barney Fife was a Deputy Sheriff who was quick to smell trouble but even quicker to over-react.  For public safety Sheriff Andy only allowed Barney one bullet at a time.   It is eagerness without proven experience that gets us into trouble and rather than being an asset to the solution, we can be more like the early lives of Moses and Barney – reacting rather than responding with a sound mind.  We must avoid the ‘Barney Response’ and strive for a cool headed sound mind.  In doing this we will be trusted with and empowered for more - in this world and in the next.

     Over time Barney became more stable and Moses developed a 1 Timothy 1:7 ‘sound mind’ while being in the wilderness for 40 years. This time in the wilderness (literal or figurative) is much of the source of overcoming that is mentioned in Revelation 3:21 mentioned above.  Overcoming of or old nature and living in the new is a godly-sound mind.   We learn some of our best lessons in those times alone with our thoughts.  We grow best when we ask ourselves important questions that only we and God can answer.  It is wise to embrace our wilderness moments because that is where we learn to hear the Lord’s still small voice more clearly.  The wilderness of testing is the foundation of growth that cannot happen any other way. Looking at it as more suited for another person or something we’d rather not be engaged in is not as beneficial as our being willing participants in the Master’s molding hands.  We are called to be dead to this world (see Col. 3:1-4).  After all, these are the preamble words of a last will and testament, ‘I [fill in your name] being of sound mind…’

     As mentioned earlier, we are called to be a powerful transforming force in the earth.  We must work through the process to develop a sound mind for ourselves – not just knowing of a problem but having the self-discipline and self-control to deliver a solution that serves the Kingdom.  We must deliver an outcome not driven by fear, dread, or dismay but of Power, Love and a Sound Mind.  We must get to the place that simply says, ‘Here I am Lord. What do you want me to do because without you I can do nothing but with you I can do all things!’ (Phil. 4:13)