Jana Printz - Spirit of a Sound Mind - Saginaw, Oregon - 2003

I’m afraid I’ve been afraid a few times. We’re not afraid that the authorities are going to throw us in prison or anything like that, but who hasn’t been afraid? Are you afraid of coming to the end of life and being sorry for the choices you’ve made, or wishing you’d lived something different or being afraid of all those waves that we heard about? But God has not given us the spirit of fear but of power and love and a sound mind. We have nothing to be ashamed of and nothing to fear. 


I’ve been thinking about the resurrection, and it’s been kind of there. in the back of my mind, of how the resurrection connects to this verse. But really the resurrection defines what power is. Just like that hymn that we sing, “When I survey the wondrous cross.” Well, that defines what love really is, and what values really are and what matters at the end of life. And the resurrection defines what power really is, and defines what love is, and what a sound mind really is. That’s the definition. There’s so many powerful things in this world, there have been powerful people, and there have been powerful machines, and powerful countries, and powerful weapons. But when you think about the resurrection and how, just like the hard earth doesn’t have a chance against a little seed that dies, even concrete or asphalt doesn’t really have a chance, it’s the same thing. It’s like that stone that closed the grave, it didn’t stand a chance against the power of the resurrection. And because Jesus was willing to die, and because He lived a victorious and perfect life, there wasn’t any chance that He wouldn’t rise again. That’s the power of the resurrection. I know in whom I have believed, and I know that my redeemer lives and because of that I die that I might live. That defines power. No matter what Stalin could do to all those people and try to rule by fear, the power of the resurrection defines what strength really is.


So God has given us not the spirit of fear, but the spirit of power.  There’s a field in northern Kazakstan where the electricity was off except for about four hours a day – an hour and a half or two in the morning and two hours in the evening. There are lots of people that had refrigerators, but a refrigerator doesn’t do you much good when there is no electricity or power. So refrigerators became shelves and cupboards, but that’s not really what they are made for. They are made to have this power surging through them, and we can go through life without this power that God intended for us to have but it’s not what we’re made for. We can access this great power. He has given us not the spirit of fear but the spirit of power, and love and a sound mind. Sometimes we get confused and we think that dying equals loneliness. There is something about it that death to ourselves is loneliness, but it’s the seed that refuses to die that has to remain alone. The power of the resurrection defines what power really is. God has not given us the spirit of fear but the spirit of power. We die that we might live, and dying is like plugging into the power. He’s given us not the spirit of fear but the spirit of love, and I was thinking, well, does the resurrection define what love is, and maybe that is stretching it a bit, but I was thinking about that and of the apostles and the faithful ones before the resurrection, and their very best friend had died and so they would think that the very highest love is still able to be parted by death.


We’ve heard about human love and how it can be a very beautiful thing. People can love each other and serve each other for their whole life and when they make a vow, “I’ll love you till death do us part,” that’s a beautiful thing, but the resurrection defined what real love is. It is a love that will never be parted, won’t ever be sundered by death. That’s the greater love. Human love isn’t necessarily something that’s bad or something that we have to deny ourselves, or is another test for us, it can help us understand what divine love is. What it’s really like to love another person more than yourself. But the resurrection defines what love really is. It’s not parted, not ended by the grave. He’s given us not the spirit of fear but the spirit of love.


I was thinking of Paul… he’s the one who really wrote these words. When he went to the Corinthians, he said, “I didn’t come with enticing words of man’s wisdom so that your faith would be in the wisdom of men, but with the demonstration of the spirit and of power.” The power that could turn him right around in his tracks and send him out to preach the gospel of the one he was trying to persecute. The power that could give him faith to believe that God could forgive him for the persecution that he had done in the past. And so it was a demonstration of the spirit and of power, and he didn’t really need a whole lot of enticing words of man’s wisdom. He went to demonstrate love.


Sometimes we think that Paul’s writings are kind of hard and he corrected a lot of people but just think about how much he loved them. He said, “You’re our joy” and “Beloved, I’d give my soul for you.” If we didn’t have Paul’s writings, we wouldn’t have I Corinthians 13 about what charity really is, and we wouldn’t have that list of the fruits of the spirit, and so when he was sent, he was sent not with the spirit of fear but with the spirit of love, and the resurrection defines what love really is. It’s the eternal power, the eternal bond that even death can’t break. It just makes it stronger. 


We heard at the last convention that God wants to trust people and that the owner of the spiritual vineyard sent his son and he knew that some people were going to kill him, reject him, but he also trusted Mary and Joseph to take care of him, take care of that little baby Christ. And that Simeon and Anna would recognize him, and that there would be some disciples and some apostles that would follow him. He trusted them and he trusts us. Just thinking of God looking down, the owner of the vineyard looking down at the handful of spiritual fruit that was there at the cross, and he’d say, “It was worth it. I trusted them and they didn’t fail Me.” Like Jesus said, “You are the ones who have continued with Me in My temptations.” Even though they weren’t perfect, they were trustworthy, and he could trust them with the gospel to go on from there. 


The resurrection just defines what love really is, we’ve been given not the spirit of fear but the spirit of a sound mind. The resurrection defines what a sound mind really is. We heard at the very first convention I was at since coming home, that there’s been some baby workers starting out, and we say, “It’s so wonderful,” and it is, but there are other young people at convention, and young men and young women finding each other and we say, “Oh, that’s just normal and it’s good,” and it is. But from the standpoint of eternity, from the resurrection, isn’t it normal to spend your life in the work? Sometimes we can get to thinking we are the abnormal ones, or that we’re abnormal for not following along with the morals of the world, and or that we’re abnormal for not seeking ourselves first, that we’re the ones who are odd. But the resurrection defines what a sound mind really is, and sin is a thing that will make your heart sick, and deviating from what Jesus really taught, is what’s abnormal. The resurrection defines what a sound mind is because that’s how everybody is going to think some day. I mean we might be the ones who are unusual now, but someday, everyone will understand from the standpoint of the resurrection just what a sound mind really means.


We’ve been given not the spirit of fear but the spirit of a sound mind.  Paul had a sound mind. He learned to be content in whatever state he was in, and he learned not to ashamed of the gospel of Christ. He learned he could love with love like charity, and that’s what a sound mind really is, and we’ve been given not the spirit of fear but the spirit of a sound mind. And so I’m thankful that until the resurrection, they would have wondered what does Jesus' death mean now? What does the death of someone 2,000 years ago have to do with me, but then He rose again and they begin to understand that He was their redeemer. He saved me from death. There’s life after death, and there’s eternal life through death. He’s the redeemer and He lives.


I love the story that one of my companions told about some little children that planted beans. Their mother had them do this, and they would go out and check the garden every day to see if the beans were up.  Then one day they came running into the house and they said, “Mom, the beans are up! The beans are up!” So she went out to see and there was just one, one little bean that broke through the soil. They said it in plural, because the fact that one had found new life, one came up, gave them all confidence that the others would, too. And that’s how it is.  Christ rose and we can have complete confidence that we can die so that we can live, too. We can know the very power of the resurrection and the spirit of power and of love, and of a sound mind, and may that be so.