What Does It Mean To Have a 'Sound Mind'?
For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.
-2 Timothy 1:7
In moments of stress, pressure, or fear or when you're so exhausted you can't think straight, have you ever been tempted to say, "Dear God, what is wrong with me? I feel like I'm losing my mind"?
If you've ever felt this way before or if you're tempted to think like this right now, let me assure you: You're not going crazy! God's Word declares that you have been given a sound mind that works even in the craziest and most difficult situations!
Let me give you an example from the Bible. When Paul wrote the book of Second Timothy, it was a very difficult time for the Early Church. Due to Nero's insanity, he was persecuting believers everywhere - and his methods of persecution were gruesome and cruel. At that time, Timothy was the pastor of the church of Ephesus. He knew that Nero's secret police would take special pleasure in killing him in some barbaric way if they ever got their hands on him.
As Timothy considered the threat against his life, a spirit of fear tried to grab hold of him. That's why Paul told Timothy in Second Timothy 1:7, "For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind."
I want to especially point your focus to the words "sound mind." This phrase is taken from the Greek word sophroneo, which is a compound word combining sodzo and phroneo. The Greek word sodzo means to be saved or delivered. It suggests something that is delivered, rescued, revived, salvaged, and protected and is now safe and secure. One expositor suggests that the word sodzo could actually depict a person who was on the verge of death but then was revived and resuscitated because new life was breathed into him.
The second part of the phrase "sound mind" comes from the Greek word phroneo, which carries the idea of a person's intelligence or total frame of thinking - including his rationale, logic, and emotions. The word phroneo refers to every part of the human mind, including all the processes that are engaged in making the mind function and come to conclusions.
When the words sodzo and phroneo are compounded into one word, they form the word sophroneo, which pictures a mind that has been delivered, rescued, revived, salvaged, and protected and is now safe and secure. Thus, even if your mind is tempted to succumb to fear, as was the case with Timothy, you can allow God's Word and the Holy Spirit to work in you to deliver, rescue, revive, and salvage your mind. This means your rationale, logic, and emotions can be shielded from the illogically absurd, ridiculous, unfounded, and crazy thoughts that have tried to grip your mind in the past. All you have to do is grab hold of God's Word and His Spirit.
The word sophroneo in Second Timothy 1:7 could be translated:
"God has not given you a spirit of fear, but of power and of love - He has given you a mind that has been delivered, rescued, revived, salvaged, protected, and brought into a place of safety and security so that it is no longer affected by illogical, unfounded, and absurd thoughts."
You see, when your mind is guarded by the Word of God, you think differently. When the Word of God is allowed to work in your mind, it safeguards your emotions; it defends your mind from demonic assault; and it shields you from arrows the enemy may try to shoot in your direction in order to arouse a spirit of fear inside you.
Why is it important for you to understand this? Because when you begin to live a life of faith - when you reach out to do the impossible - the enemy will try to assault you mentally and emotionally in an attempt to stop your progress. For instance, he may speak to your mind, saying things like, You can't do this! This doesn't make sense! Are you crazy?
So what do you do when the devil tries to convince you that you're losing your mind? What do you do if you're confused due to stressful situations and so tempted to fear that you can't think straight? Go get alone with the Lord and give Him your concerns. As you focus on Jesus and release all those burdens, you'll find that your mind is working fine! Second Timothy 1:7 promises you a sound mind; therefore, you have the right and privilege to tell the devil to shut up and then to declare by faith that your mind is sound, safe, and secure!