Text: 2 Tim 1:7
Summary: God gave us a spirit not of fear but of divine power, divine love and a divinely balanced (or sound) mind. Repent for having a futile, darkened, depraved, debased mind and ask for God to produce in you a fruitful, enlightened mind. Repent for having a carnal mind leading to immaturity and ask God to produce in you a spiritual mind leading to maturity. Repent for having a mind that is easily shaken and troubled and ask for God to produce in you a steadfast mind at total peace regardless of circumstances.
2 Timothy 1
7 For God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.
Father, we seek your face on behalf of what we’re seeing in our world and specifically with regards to America. Like Isaiah the prophet, while you called him to be a prophet to confess the sins of the land, he said he lived among a people of unclean lips, but he also could identify in himself unclean lips. So Lord, as we repent on behalf of America, we also repent personally. The sins of America that we see are not entirely external, there are some sins that we can locate in ourselves, so we repent, Lord, for ourselves and also on behalf of America. Forgive us, have mercy. I pray that you would send your Spirit. Give clarity as to what you want to say today. Thank you, Lord. In Jesus Name, Amen
Let me just share a little bit of my journey through Scripture this week. I started in Luke 21.
14 Settle it therefore in your minds not to meditate beforehand how to answer, 15 for I will give you a mouth and wisdom, which none of your adversaries will be able to withstand or contradict.
This is in the context of end times persecution. Jesus tells us in advance to settle it in your minds. And actually, the word is heart. Settle it in your heart that you’re not going to meditate beforehand what you’re going to say as you are being thrown into synagogues before rulers and authorities and have an opportunity to declare your testimony. Don’t try so hard to figure out what you’re going to say in advance. This tells me it’s a spiritual thing. When we testify, especially in the end times, this is not a mental exercise. This is not coming up with your sermon notes of what you’re going to say. You can’t have it prepared in advance. It is a purely spiritual thing waiting upon the Lord and the Spirit. The Holy Spirit will tell you exactly the words you need to say.
I think we will be coming back to these sections of Scripture frequently in the years and in the decades to come. As we are approaching the end of the age, whether Trump wins or whether Biden wins, regardless of who God’s choice is, it’s going to be a rough ride. I was struck by the charge that Jesus gives us in Luke 21. When things are difficult, He says in v.19, by your endurance you will gain your lives.
25 “And there will be signs in sun and moon and stars, and on the earth distress of nations in perplexity because of the roaring of the sea and the waves, 26 people fainting with fear and with foreboding of what is coming on the world. For the powers of the heavens will be shaken. 27 And then they will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory. 28 Now when these things begin to take place, straighten up and raise your heads, because your redemption is drawing near.”
34 “But watch yourselves lest your hearts be weighed down with dissipation and drunkenness and cares of this life, and that day come upon you suddenly like a trap. 35 For it will come upon all who dwell on the face of the whole earth. 36 But stay awake at all times, praying that you may have strength to escape all these things that are going to take place, and to stand before the Son of Man.”
I’m not sure if there’s a rapture but what is clear is whoever the believers are right before Jesus returns, there is a call for endurance. There is a call for strength to escape. There’s a call for strength to stand with heads raised up high because our redemption is drawing near. I want to ask, what does it take for you to be discouraged? What does it take for your mind to be downcast? What does it take for you to be so confused and uneasy? Because if it is small things now, then what’s coming is going to be so great, the chances are you will not endure, chances are you will not have the strength to escape, chances are when the Body of Christ should be standing with our heads raised high, we’re going to be cowering in fear.
What does it take for us to build up ourselves, our faith, minds, and hearts, so that whatever we face, even if it’s the end times that are upon us, the persecution and the heavens shaking and the seas roaring, we’re going to be able to endure, able to escape, able to raise up our heads with confidence? A verse that the Lord gave me as I was asking Him these questions is 2 Timothy 1:7.
2 Timothy 1
7 for God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.
How are we going to be able to stand and withstand all the attacks of the enemy and the judgment of God that comes upon the nations when our spirit does not have power, love, or self-control? Out of the three words, power, love, and self-control, two are clear. This is not human power but a divine power. This is not human love but agape love, which is divine love. And so it’s a little bit odd that you go from divine power and divine love to then human self-control. Does that even make sense grammatically? Is it God who does two things, power and love, and then we do one thing, we exercise self-control and have self-discipline? Does that even make sense?
I think the better translation is God did not give us the spirit of fear, but of divine power, divine Love, and a sound mind that is divinely produced. A mind that is divinely balanced. That’s the idea. In the King James version, the translation is sound mind and I think that is the correct translation. If you take that verse to mean self-control or self-discipline, then we think God gives us divine power and divine love and then we work out of our flesh by being super-disciplined. So we wake up super early in the morning, we put in our devotion, we have our several prayer times throughout the day, we make sure that we are disciplined and self-controlled.
And we are determined in our flesh that we’re not going to watch this, but this is safe. We’re going to look at this and not at that. Is that the intent of this verse? Is this the reason why God gives us divine power and divine love so that in the end we end up exerting our flesh? To me, that is not the correct way to interpret this verse. It is divine power and divine love that God gives. And I think most importantly, especially in these times, we need a divinely balanced, or a sound mind, that only the Lord can give. This is not a middle of the road kind of statement. We’re not saying, I’m neither Democrat nor Republican, I’m Independent, I’m in the middle of the road. That’s not the idea of that verse. It is a divinely balanced person.
We need balance to lead as Christ did as Head of the Church. You also need to have the servant heart of God, Jesus kneeling before His disciples and washing their feet. It’s not heavy-handed leadership. It’s not passive servanthood. It’s combining both. It is a divinely balanced mind, the mind of Christ, someone who takes things that are seemingly opposite and brings them together in a way that only the Lord can do. It’s a spiritual parent, a father, a mother who raises up kids in the discipline and instruction of the Lord. There are boundaries, there are rules, there are regulations. At the same time, you do it in such a way that you do not exasperate the children. It is something that only the Lord can teach you how to balance two things that seem opposite.
I don’t know about you but I am feeling the mental fatigue of 2020 and what we’re seeing in current events. There is a fatigue that sets in, there’s a weariness that can set in. With that weariness is a drooping of our hands, a weakening of our knees, a prayerlessness, and a lack of motivation for spiritual things. And all of this we just have to understand is satanic attack in 2020 to weaken the Body of Christ so that we don’t realize the spirit that God has awakened in us. God has awakened our spirit that is in us and He has given us the Holy Spirit in addition to our spirit that needs to be awakened. And this spirit is not one of fear, but of divine power, divine love, and a sound mind.
17 Now this I say and testify in the Lord, that you must no longer walk as the Gentiles do, in the futility of their minds. 18 They are darkened in their understanding, alienated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them, due to their hardness of heart. 19 They have become callous and have given themselves up to sensuality, greedy to practice every kind of impurity. 20 But that is not the way you learned Christ!— 21 assuming that you have heard about him and were taught in him, as the truth is in Jesus, 22 to put off your old self, which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires, 23 and to be renewed in the spirit of your minds, 24 and to put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness.
We know what we once were before we knew Christ. We had a futile mind, a mind that was darkened in understanding, a mind that was alienated from God, and another way to put it, we were ignorant, we were hardened of heart. That is what we once were before we met Christ. And now He’s telling us to put that off, put off that old self, put on the new self. If you notice the critical phrase in between is v.23, it says to be renewed in the spirit of your mind.
What kind of spirit has the Lord given our mind? It is a mind that is sound. It is a mind that is divinely balanced. If you are fatigued in your mind, you might think the solution is to get more rest. I just need to take a vacation. But after you take a vacation, are you divinely balanced? No, you can’t do this. You can’t orchestrate a mind that moves from fatigue to being rested. This is something that only the Lord can do. Because even as you’re resting, if you’re the kind of person that your mind is always spinning, I will guarantee that even while you’re resting, you can’t fully rest. Your mind is still spinning.
You take a week-long vacation, but you’re still tired because, in the back of your mind, you’re still thinking about things at work, you’re still thinking about things you have to do and you cannot fully rest. Even as you’re sleeping, your mind is spinning. Even sleep should be a time of rest but the dreams are so active and busy that when you wake up, you’re still not refreshed. There’s an inability for people to find rest in the Lord because there is an imbalance in our minds. Only the Lord can balance us.
We know that Satan wants to put labels on us. He wants to put labels like depression, schizophrenia, bipolar, and mental illness, but I want to say, all of us are on the spectrum. Until our mind is fully sound, until the Lord fully balances our mind, we are on the spectrum. There are illnesses, there are defects, there are deficiencies. There are deformities in our minds that only the Lord can balance, heal, and restore. Romans 12 also reiterates this.
1 I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. 2 Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.
So we move from a futile mind, a mind of vanity, a mind of emptiness, a mind of purposelessness, an ineffective mind, an unstable mind, a frail mind. These are all the nuances of the word futile. And we were darkened, we were blind, and now we have been renewed. We’ve been divinely balanced.
First, we should repent. Father, forgive me for my futile mind. Forgive me for my darkened mind, forgive me for my calloused heart. And instead, balance it again, restore it again, renew it again. Give me a mind that is enlightened. Give me a mind that is fruitful. That is our first repentance. Romans 1 also talks about a futile mind.
21 For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened.
And what does God do? He gives them over to their lusts. There are some in the Body of Christ who are still confused, like what is the Christian stance when it comes to the LGBTQ community? I don’t know how much clearer God can be. He tells us clearly, God has given them over to their futile mind, to their darkened understanding. And there are still people in the church who are futile in their thinking, darkened in their understanding. They think that God is okay with believers who are in this lifestyle of LGBTQ. And God says in v28, He gives them over to a debased or a depraved mind. Futile, depraved, debased. This is what we once were. But we need to be renewed, restored, balanced again in our mind so that our mind can be fruitful, and our mind can be enlightened.
1 Corinthians 2
1 And I, when I came to you, brothers, did not come proclaiming to you the testimony of God with lofty speech or wisdom. 2 For I decided to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ and him crucified. 3 And I was with you in weakness and in fear and much trembling, 4 and my speech and my message were not in plausible words of wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, 5 so that your faith might not rest in the wisdom of men but in the power of God. Wisdom from the Spirit 6 Yet among the mature we do impart wisdom, although it is not a wisdom of this age or of the rulers of this age, who are doomed to pass away. 7 But we impart a secret and hidden wisdom of God, which God decreed before the ages for our glory. 8 None of the rulers of this age understood this, for if they had, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory. 9 But, as it is written, “What no eye has seen, nor ear heard, nor the heart of man imagined, what God has prepared for those who love him”— 10 these things God has revealed to us through the Spirit. For the Spirit searches everything, even the depths of God. 11 For who knows a person’s thoughts except the spirit of that person, which is in him? So also no one comprehends the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God. 12 Now we have received not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might understand the things freely given us by God. 13 And we impart this in words not taught by human wisdom but taught by the Spirit, interpreting spiritual truths to those who are spiritual. 14 The natural person does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are folly to him, and he is not able to understand them because they are spiritually discerned. 15 The spiritual person judges all things, but is himself to be judged by no one. 16 “For who has understood the mind of the Lord so as to instruct him?” But we have the mind of Christ.
Not only do we need to repent of a futile, depraved, debased, and politically correct mind, we need to repent of a carnal, immature mind. Paul says he wishes that he could speak to the mature. He is describing what is also talked about in Hebrews 5. There are many in the Body of Christ who are still drinking milk. Their spirits are immature. And so he cannot even go into the deeper mysteries and the deeper things of God. He still has to preach the gospel which you heard at conversion.
Why do we keep preaching that same spiritual milk? We should be progressing from that to something more mature, although that is the foundation. That is the anchor. We can’t deviate from the gospel of the kingdom, but at the same time, brothers and sisters, we need to go beyond drinking the bottle. We must go to the deeper things of God that we need the Holy Spirit and a spirit of power, love, and a sound mind so that we can understand the deeper things, the wisdom of God that He wants to give.
And as we approach the end of the age, we need a spirit of divine power, a spirit of divine love, and a spirit of a sound mind, divinely balanced by the Lord. The Spirit of God searches even the depths of God and can bring out the depths and teach it to the Body of Christ.
1 Corinthians 2
11 For who knows a person’s thoughts except the spirit of that person, which is in him? So also no one comprehends the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God.
Do you even know your own thoughts? You don’t really know. You know the surface level thoughts. But there are deeper thoughts that you don’t know, that you can’t even access. You can’t go to a psychologist and tell them your thoughts and assume that that’s the deepest thing that’s going on. No, there’s a deeper thing. There are thoughts beneath the thoughts that only your spirit has access to. That’s what it says in v.11, for who knows a person’s thoughts, except the spirit of that person, lowercase s, which is in him.
So in the same way that the Holy Spirit knows the depths of God and shares and reveals the deeper things of God to the mature in the Body of Christ, because the rest of us, we can’t understand. If you’re immature, if you’re carnal, then the deeper things of God just go over your head. You don’t understand it. You just want spiritual milk. You want the gospel of the kingdom that you heard 20 years ago. You’re still drinking milk because that’s all you can understand.
Yet you think you know your thoughts. You think you have access to your thoughts. But unless the spirit in you is awakened, redeemed, and divinely balanced, you don’t actually know what’s going on beneath the surface. What I was asking the Lord this week is, bring out the deeper things, Lord, as you divinely balance and give me the gift of a sound mind. I know my surface level thoughts, but through my spirit, can you give me the deeper thoughts, which are the intentions, the motives, the deeper things that no man can see, that I can’t even see?
Show it to me. Bring it to the surface, Lord. All the carnality, bring all the immaturity, bring all the hidden motives, bring all the hidden intentions, the attitudes of the heart, bring it out, Lord, so that I may repent. Not only do we repent of a debased, depraved, and futile mind, which we used to have before we met Christ, and maybe perhaps even fell back into so that we lacked discernment and thought God was okay with LGBTQ, that is just an extreme example of somebody who has become darkened in their understanding. There are churches that preach that God is okay with this. He is not. In judgment, He has given people over to this.
We call out sin for what it is. We uphold the values of God, we don’t sugarcoat it. We don’t dilute it, we know clearly what God thinks about LGBT as just one example. And if your mind is futile, then you are confused and you think, God is okay. God is okay. Before there was the feminist movement which says God is not about gender roles, that God wants women to rise up above men. And now it’s about sexual orientation and it’s just chaos. Now it’s like, whatever you feel.
Satan is taking us step by step toward darkness and if you don’t catch yourself, if you don’t repent, then you will be fully given over. It’s as if you never met Christ, you will be darkened all over again. You need to repent of the futility of your mind. This world is trying to make us futile in our thinking, so illogical, just confusing the Word of God, and saying it doesn’t say what it says. It’s so plain. Repent of the futility and depravity of your mind. The Lord in His judgment is trying to wake you up. He’s given you over to it so that you may wake up, repent and come back to Him.
We also repent of a carnal mind and our immaturity. We are still drinking milk, we demand the gospel of the kingdom, the good news of Jesus forgiving our sins, coming and dying on a cross and raising from the dead, but that is all that we want from God, to show me grace. While there’s no speaking of holiness, there’s no speaking of the deeper things, there’s no speaking of justice and righteousness and spiritual battle on our knees against the forces of evil, there’s no teaching about the deeper things of God. We just want the milk. We should repent of carnality. Our natural man only understands natural things. The spiritual things are over our heads. These are signs of immaturity. Repent of carnality and immaturity.
Lastly, this one goes back to Luke 21 in the end times. Repent of a mind that is easily shaken and easily troubled. 2 Thessalonians 2:1 says, concerning the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ in our being gathered together to Him. To me, this could be the rapture. As soon as Jesus comes, we are gathered together to Him. We are raptured right before He descends to the earth.
2 Thessalonians 2
1 We ask you, brothers, 2 not to be quickly shaken in mind or alarmed, either by a spirit or a spoken word, or a letter seeming to be from us, to the effect that the day of the Lord has come.
Shaken in mind is someone who is easily agitated. You read one thing on the news, you’re flying off the handle. You’re so angry, you’re so disturbed, you’re so agitated. It is somebody who is easily cast down, easily discouraged, easily wavering and toppling over, cast down. This is someone who is shaken in their mind. Also, it says you are easily alarmed or quickly alarmed. This is also disturbed and agitated, but it has the nuance of the emotions being in an uproar. On the inside it’s tumultuous. On the inside it’s noisy. There’s a lot going on. It’s like the sea during a storm. It’s not tranquil. Waves and waves. That’s the idea of somebody who in their mind is easily alarmed and easily shaken.
What causes this shaking of the mind and this easily being alarmed in the mind? First, it comes by a spirit. We’re not talking about our spirit, we’re not talking about the Holy Spirit, we’re talking about unclean spirits. An unclean spirit can come and torment you and disturb your mind. So that when Jesus comes, instead of being steadfast, instead of standing up with your head raised, instead of having fearlessness and courage because your day of redemption is near and you’ve escaped the tribulation. You’ve gone through all the difficulty, you’ve passed the trial and you’re standing up. Instead of doing that, you’re in a corner because the spirit has deceived you, and it has caused you to be so alarmed, disturbed, agitated, emotionally unstable.
And again, I want to ask you what does it take for you to be in this mental state? Does it take just one news article? Does it take just one email from your boss? Does it take something going wrong at work? Does it take your kids throwing a tantrum? What does it take for you to be in an uproar, mentally unstable, your mood ruined for the rest of the day? What does it take? I bet they’re small in comparison to the day of the Lord when Jesus returns.
Everything that we’re facing now is small. It could be a mountain and I’m not belittling what you’re facing today. But in comparison to what the whole world will face right before Jesus comes, whatever we’re facing today is small. And yet, because of immaturity and the futility of our mind, because our mind has not been renewed, restored, redeemed, and properly balanced, it takes so little to topple us, to ruin us, and to cause it to be downcast and emotionally disturbed.
So repent. I’m going to lead us through some repentance of futility of the mind. The carnality of the mind, the immaturity of the mind, the instability of the mind. And after you repent, ask the Lord to divinely balance your mind, in a way that only He can. Like divine power, we understand. We understand that it takes divine power to heal somebody. We understand it takes divine power to cast out a demon. You don’t go to a demonically possessed person and read them a Bible study, you need power to confront that thing.
We understand phileo love because we have limitations of how much we can love, but if we want divine love, agape love, we know this requires power. When it comes to our mind, the soundness of your mind, you cannot reach it yourself, your psychologist cannot reach it for you. You need the spirit that is in you to be awakened and to instruct you in partnership with the Holy Spirit to show you what is the deeper thing that’s in you that you don’t even see. Allow God to bring it to the surface, to balance it. Okay. Let’s pray.
Father, forgive us for the futility of our mind, the depravity of our mind, the debased nature of our mind. We know that this is what described us before we met Christ, but through unclean spirits, through a spoken word, through the news media, through people who are lying to our face, we’ve fallen back into depravity. And we’re calling things that are bad good and up is down and down is up. Things are upside down because we’ve been deceived, our mind has become darkened. Forgive us, Lord.
Enlighten our mind. Give us a fruitful mind. Lord, don’t hand us over to a darkened mind. Remove the judgment upon us. Remove it, Lord, so that we can have a mind that has been renewed and restored. We also ask that you forgive us for a carnal mind, an immature mind. We’re still drinking the bottle, Lord. The deeper things of God are still a mystery. They’re still hidden from our eyes. We don’t understand so much about the kingdom of God and spiritual life. We’re still in our diapers, Lord. We’re still trying to grow up.
Father, help us to crucify our flesh with its passions and desires. Help us not to be fleshly in our thinking, in our emotions, in our responses. Unclean spirits, a spoken word, and the news, all these different ways that Satan is coming at us to deceive us and to leave us in our flesh, to leave us in our carnal emotions. Lord, we don’t want to be that way anymore. Forgive us, Lord. We want to have a spiritual mind. Give us a spiritual mind that can understand spiritual things. Give us a maturity of mind so that we can perceive and understand spiritual things. Give us the mind of Christ so that spiritual things can be spiritually discerned.
Help us to graduate from kindergarten to elementary school to junior high to high school to college. Give us a graduate degree in our minds when it comes to spiritual things. Give us understanding, the mind of Christ. As we approach the end of a difficult year, and we’re entering a new decade and this is going to be a rough one, Lord. We know it. We see it. The new normal is upon us. We don’t know if we’re going to be wearing masks for the rest of human history. We don’t know if COVID is going to have version 21 and version 22 or 23. We’re already getting threatened in California of lockdowns.
Father, this is the new normal. Lord, we don’t want to be alarmed. We don’t want to be disturbed, we don’t want to be agitated. Forgive us, Lord, that our mind is easily shaken, easily alarmed by small things. If we can get thrown off so easily now, how will we endure, how will we escape, how will we stand as Jesus, you descend on the clouds. We won’t make it, Lord, unless you balance our mind. Give us a sound mind. Gift us, Lord, the spirit of divine power, divine love, and a sound mind. Give us a steadfast mind, Lord.
Give us a mind of peace, of peace that transcends understanding. That the kingdoms of the earth may fight against one another, there may be wars and rumors of war, even the heavens and the sun and the moon and the stars may shake and fall to the ground. The seas and the oceans may roar. But Lord, help us to be the kind of people who will stand in confidence because you’ve given us a divinely balanced, soundness of mind.
Lord, reveal the deeper things, the thoughts underneath our thoughts, the things that drive us, the idolatries, the hidden things, hidden motives. Show it to us one by one that we may repent. During this partaking of the Lord’s Supper I pray that you would awaken our spirit, and in partnership with the Holy Spirit, you would bring to the surface the deeper thoughts, the hidden scripts, the things that we’re not even attuned to or aware of.
I pray that you bring them up to the surface, Lord, that we may repent. That you may redeem and heal and fix these things as only you can. Meet us, Lord Jesus, during the partaking of your Lord’s Supper. We plead your blood over our body, soul, spirit, specifically our mind. Cover and cleanse every cell of our mind, every cell of our heart. Give us the mind of Christ. Renew, restore redeem our mind. Give us the mind of Christ. Gives us the spirit of power, love, and a sound mind. Thank you, Lord. In Jesus Name, Amen.