Luke 8:35 – The people went out to see what had happened; and they came to Jesus, and found the man from who the demons had gone out, sitting down at the feet of Jesus, clothed and in his right mind; and they became frightened.
The word used in this verse for “right mind” is sōphroneō. Interestingly, it’s not an adjective describing the man’s condition, but it’s the verb form of this word. It comes from two other Greek words, sozo, “to save,” and phren, “the mind.”
What had happened to the man? Before meeting Jesus, he was possessed by many demons, so many, in fact, that they were named “Legion.” In that day, the word legion literally referred to a Roman legion (4,000 to 6,000 soldiers), so his name reveals this man was tormented by many demons. He wore no clothes, and could not be contained by chains or shackles, but lived in the desert tombs. If we met him today, we would say he was crazy.
Because his mind was controlled by the demons possessing his body, he was not thinking soundly. He did things no person in their right mind would do.
The Bible has a lot to say about the mind; as believers, we are commanded to be in our right minds. This word appears in scripture in various forms, as a verb, a noun, an adjective, and an adverb. If we substitute our English word “sensible,” we could say that God commands us to be sensible (verb), act sensibly (adverb). We are to put on sensibleness (noun), and our character should be sensible (adjective).
This Greek word is translated into English in several ways, which gives us an idea of its meaning: sober, sound judgment, sober spirit, sound mind, discreetly, and prudent. It means to be sane, to be self-disciplined, to show self-restraint in passions and desires.
All of us could give examples of seeing the actions or hearing the opinions of people we believe are not in their right mind. Has anyone ever said to you, “You’re out of your mind!” Sadly, this is often the opinion of a culture that is antagonistic to Christianity. To believe in a God we cannot see and put faith in something (and Someone) we cannot explain seems crazy to the watching world.
The Bible gives us many examples of what our life should look like if we are thinking with a sound mind. But how do we get this sound mind, and what is the result? Here are four observations.
Sound thinking is impossible without the mind of Christ.
1 Corinthians 2:12-16 – Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, so that we may know the things freely given to us by God, which things we also speak, not in words taught by human wisdom, but in those taught by the Spirit, combining spiritual thoughts with spiritual words. But a natural man does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually appraised. But he who is spiritual appraises all things, yet he himself is appraised by no one. For who has known the mind of the Lord, that he will instruct Him? But we have the mind of Christ.
Until a person comes to Christ, it is impossible for them to reason or think correctly about spiritual things. What seems perfectly obvious to the mature believer is simply foolishness to the one who refuses to surrender their mind and heart to God. Look at the demoniac in Luke 8; his mind was controlled by a spiritual entity that opposed God. Not every unbeliever is possessed by a demon, but scripture is clear that until the Spirit of God takes up residence in us at salvation, we are all influenced and led by the spirit of Satan.
Ephesians 2:1-3 – And you were dead in your trespasses and sins, in which you formerly walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, of the spirit that is now working in the sons of disobedience. Among them we too all formerly lived in the lusts of the flesh, indulging the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, even as the rest.
The “prince of the power of the air” is Satan; this world is his domain, and he has influence over humans. This doesn’t mean that every unbeliever is a “Satan-worshipper” offering up sacrifices and chanting over pentagrams. He’s too wily, too smart for that. Instead, he keeps our heart and eyes focused on the physical desires of this world, blind to spiritual truth, and unable to discern what is good and right according to God. In fact, it’s impossible to understand without the mind of Christ.
Sound thinking is the result of a renewed mind.
Romans 12:2-3 – And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect. For through the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think more highly of himself than he ought to think; but to think so as to have sound judgment, as God has allotted to each a measure of faith.
Our spiritual transformation comes from a mind that has been renewed by the gospel of Jesus Christ, and the Word of God. The Vines Dictionary describes this as the adjustment of the moral and spiritual vision and thinking to the mind of God, which is designed to have a transforming effect upon the life. As we respond to the Holy Spirit’s conviction and direction, we begin to think differently. Our thoughts are no longer conformed to the world, but we are now able to discern (prove) what is good, perfect and acceptable according to God. This also produces a humility in us; we recognize that we are dependent on God to transform our thinking.
As a side note, even though we have the mind of Christ, making decisions in our right mind is not automatic, even as a believer. Because the physical flesh is so influential to the mind, it is a life-long process to renew our minds.
Sound thinking overcomes fear.
2 Timothy 1:7 – For God hath not given us the spirit of fear, but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind. (KJV)
Sound thinking comes from God, not the world, our enemy, or other people. If we are fearful, it is because we are not thinking with a sound mind. The context of this fear is a timid, cowardly attitude in the face of suffering or persecution. We fear because we are not focused on what is true; we are not thinking soundly. Sound thinking finds its source in the love and power of God. If God is for us, who can be against us? (Romans 8:31)
Sound thinking leads us to desire more of Jesus.
Luke 8:38-39 – But the man from whom the demons had gone out was begging Him that he might accompany Him; but He sent him away, saying, “Return to your house and describe what great things God has done for you.” So he went away, proclaiming throughout the whole city what great things Jesus had done for him.
Before Jesus, this man was tormented. The unclean spirits that controlled and influenced his thoughts only brought pain, loneliness, and fear. But Jesus freed his mind to understand the truth, and the result was that he begged Jesus to let him go with Him. He wanted to be with the One who had given him life.
The mind outside of Christ thinks it is free, but the reality is, He is the only One who can free us. And when He does, we want more of Him. We desire to think about Him, be with Him, and talk about Him. If Jesus occupies much of our thoughts, we can be confident we are in our right mind. The result is a responsibility and a passion to tell others the great things He has done for us.
Are you in your right mind?
Do you see things from God’s perspective?
Do your thoughts line up with scripture?
Are you able to discern the truth according to God’s word?
Are you fearful and timid? Anxious about the future?
Does Jesus occupy your thoughts?
Do you long to spend time with Him?
Are your character and behavior such that reveals sound thinking?
Ask God to give you a sound mind. Saturate your thinking in His Word. Obey what the Spirit of God tells you, as He convicts you of wrong thoughts and shows you the truth.
Then you will fulfill God’s plan for your life, as you live sensibly, righteously and godly in the present age (Titus 2:12).