There seems to be no respite from the avalanche of information pouring over us every day. Regularly we hear news that causes consternation – not only from the information but because we are forced to question its veracity. Some “unbelievable” news turns out to be true, so we are left to wonder what is true and what is not regarding a lot of other information.
This situation brings to mind the Apostle Paul’s encouragement that we have access to a sound mind. The state of mind he is referring to is not something you and I have naturally. The Greek word rendered “sound mind” is from two root words meaning, “to save – the mind” – “the binding of men to a sound mind.” It is a mind under the control of God’s Holy Spirit (2 Timothy 1:7).
Having a sound mind requires thought processes based on the wisdom and clarity that God imparts through His Spirit. Timothy was told to stir up the Spirit in order to avoid timidity (a spirit of fear) in the face of the environment he and the Church found themselves in. The truth of God was under attack (2 Timothy 4:3-4).
There are many driving forces in our world today that also existed in Timothy’s day. This makes the encouragement Paul offered to Timothy especially valid for us. God encourages us to cultivate a healthy, renewed mind that can process right thinking based on God’s truth: “Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—His good, pleasing and perfect will” (Romans 12:2, NIV).
The disinformation and bias we are exposed to is Satan’s way of bringing about confusion and doubt that allows misunderstanding to develop. If we are not careful, the doubting of “truth” in the news, social media, and other sources can lead to doubting the truth of God. That is the logic behind Paul’s admonition to “Preach the word! Be ready in season and out of season. Convince, rebuke, exhort, with all longsuffering and teaching … be watchful in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry” (2 Timothy 4:2,5). There were members who were turning away from the truth to fables.
A sound mind is guided by the Holy Spirit to focus on things not available to the natural mind. The knowledge, wisdom, and understanding that should underpin our thinking comes from the spiritual dimension, not from the human devised realm (Ephesians 1:17-18).
This means that a sound mind will turn to the truth of God and leave the questionable “truth” of this world to one side. God’s truth is clear, understandable, and rock solid. When we run up against questionable truth from a worldly source, put it to one side and turn to the word of God for the peace of mind it provides.
Again, from the pen of Paul we read, “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God, and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. Finally, brethren, whatever is true … meditate on these things” (Philippians 4:6-8).
Paul recognizes that God’s Spirit yields obedience, right living, and moral judgment. From the inside out, the Holy Spirit reshapes and transforms not just how we think but who we are. Let us meditate – think – on these things and be of a sound mind.