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'Fixing' your mind.

My mom was born in Missour-ah, as she said.

I'm not sure she knew there was an 'i' on the end.

While I have quoted her before, today I want to drill

down on one word she used regularly. Fixing.

As in, 'I'm fixing to go downtown and do a little shopping.'

Interpretation: I am getting ready to, or I will soon be ...

And then there is fixing as we use the word today. Being a logophile1 the word fix is quite rich and varied. Who knew?

From Merriam Webster, we get the following definitions for fix:

-to make firm, stable, or stationary

-to set or place definitely : ESTABLISH

-to set in order : ADJUST

-to direct one's attention or efforts : FOCUS

and then of course, there is spay or neuter!

All that from one little word.

Here's the point: we all ought be fixing our minds on the right things, certain of the true and right things.

Consider this - One evening a Cherokee grandfather was teaching his young grandson about the internal battle that each person faces. “There are two wolves struggling inside each of us,” the old man said. “One wolf is vengefulness, anger, resentment, self­-pity, fear ... The other wolf is compassion, faithfulness, hope, truth, love...”

The grandson sat, thinking, then asked: “Which wolf wins, Grandfather?” The grandfather replied, “The one you feed.”2

Paul identifies those two wolves in Romans chapter 8: the things of the flesh

and the things of the Spirit.

The apostle Paul laid himself bare in Romans chapter 7, explaining his struggle with sin, and his lack of self control (though he stops short of naming the monkey on his back). And then he speaks to believers, possibly making a mental note to himself as well, “There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus."3

”Phew ...we can exhale! Believers are not condemned because Jesus paid the debt for our sin and guilt. God's goodness and mercy on this count cannot be overstated here. Having established that, Paul clearly lays out the choices of our free will, well represented by the notion of the good wolf­­ Spirit, and the bad wolf­­ Flesh. One wolf is always going to win, and conversely, the other one will lose. We can choose to walk in the Spirit, or in the flesh.

The Greek word Paul uses for ‘flesh’ sarx refers to the baser side of man’s nature, not his physical body or skin--a life dominated by the dictates and desires of sinful human nature instead of a life fixed on that which honors God out of our love for him. In an earlier writing Paul described the acts of the flesh--“sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions, and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. ”4

Were you surprised to see jealousy, selfish ambition, discord and envy on that list? Hmmm... Sin is sin in the heart and mind of God.

The contrast is glaring as he describes the character of the man or woman who seeks to live by the Spirit, (or, in the view of the Cherokee, feed the wolf named Spirit): “the fruit of the Spirit, is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self­ control.5

So how does one feed the flesh? Give into temptation, indulge your every whim, do whatever it takes to get what you want, make excuses for yourself again and again. Feed your mind with what the world values. Ponder that a moment.

“But if I want to feed the Spirit, what then? What should I do?” Read the Word and let the Word read you. A synonym for FIX, the verb, is SET. So if you and I want to honor God, we will reorient our thinking to set our thoughts on him, his will for us, and even his best for us.

The other day I was texting with a young man who I have known for a long time. After exchanging a few words, I thought to ask him, 'Is there some way I could pray for you?' Believe it or not, he answered, saying he needs God to help him quit smoking. So, of course, I am praying. But, stay with me here--how can he help himself ? It comes back to fixing and reorienting. This would apply to any besetting sin or regular temptation ... when the thought/desire comes, we have a choice what we do with it. 'Fan the flames, dwell on the thing...or something else?

I submit to you that our highest and best thoughts at that time come by doing what the writer of Hebrews suggests 'let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles...'6 While the thought may not be sin, it sure as a world might hinder and then lead us into the entangling sin.

IT IS A CHOICE: bad wolf or good wolf­­--life in the flesh or life in the Spirit . . . all depends on which one you feed--oh, and what you feed it! Listen: God, Help Me!

Fix well,


1 - logophile: a person who loves words

2 - Cherokee wisdom from “Harmonies of Liberty” (January 21, 2009 National Prayer Service sermon), The Rev. Dr. Sharon E. Watkins William Barclay

3 - Romans 8.1

4 - Galatians 5.19­-21

5 - Galatians 5.22­-24

6 - Hebrews 12.1-3

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