Thursday, June 25, 2009

Pulling Weeds--Fleshing it out over the Summer

II Timothy 1:7 "For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power of love and of sound mind." Nineteen relatively short and simple words and I suspect that if I eat them, they will change my life. Today I began to slice the two words which in Greek are actually one--sound mind. Some translations say self-discipline and others self-control. Actually, this exact Greek word is only used this one time in the entire Bible. Once. So this spirit which God has given us is apparently somewhat unique in that no other time is the same word used for any other purpose. Here's what I really like about this word. If you are into believing that God doesn't make mistakes and that every phrase of the Bible in it's original languages is specifically chosen and inspired by God, which I am in the habit of believing, then you'll like this too. The Greek word here is a noun. It's not a verb, adjective or adverb. It's a noun. Okay, grammar review--nouns are persons, places or things. Verbs denote action. Adjectives describe. Nouns can be acted upon, but they do not act themselves. Simply put, a noun just is. If a dog is a dog, then a dog is a dog. The dog cannot make itself a cat. If a car is a car, then a car is a car and it cannot make itself a boat. So, while there are other instances in the New Testament where variations of this same Greek word are used as verbs, adverbs and adjectives, this is the only time where it is used as a noun. What's the big deal? God has given us a spirit of sound mind. Period. He didn't give us a "sound mind spirit" which would be using an adjective to describe our a red spirit or a green spirit. The author could have said, God has given us a sober spirit using the adjective variation of the same greek word. But he did not. And he did not use an adverb saying that the spirit can behave soundly or soberly. He also did not say that the spirit is the verb. Dogs can sit, they can run, they can play, they can sleep--all actions. But the fact that they are a dog does not change. That's the thing about our spirit given to us by God at salvation--it is SOUND. That does not change. It's a noun. It's a thing. It's a fact--we have a sound mind. We have a sober mind. We have a self-disciplined mind. That fact is not in question according to God's Word. And man oh man, do I need to KNOW that. What we believe about ourselves, our minds, our spirits, our entire inner being will directly affect every single facet of our lives. I'm afraid some of us don't believe we have a sound mind. I'm afraid some of us have bought into the mentality that our foundations are poor and therefore we need to fix them when in fact, if we are in Christ, we are a new creation and our foundation is built on the rock of ages. If there are problems in our lives they are not foundational. According to God's word--the foundation is SOUND. So I'm getting into the garden of my soul this summer and I'm pulling some weeds. God started me here because for a moment or two I've begun to question whether the garden was any good at all. When you start to get overtaken by weeds you feel pretty quickly that you are the weed when in fact that is not true at all--we are fearfully and wonderfully made and at the moment we chose to become a follower of Christ we were also given a spirit of soundness. My stalks and leaves and even fruit may be choked out by any manner of weed, but I am still a creation of God chosen before the foundation of the world to be holy and blameless in His sight. And so are you, my friends. So are you. So don't pull yourself from the garden. Identify who you are and then let's get to the weeds. There's more here--but for today, let's look at the garden of our soul with the peace that comes from knowing that the soundness, the saneness, the quality of our spirit is not in question according to the Words of our great God. Amen.