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Toil Inntinn

For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline. 2 Timothy 1.7

Toil inntinn means "will of the mind". It is what enables us to master our feelings, so that our feelings - especially the negative/ dangerous ones - do not get the better of us. It's a tricky line to tread because one does not want to be dismissive of one's own feelings, let alone those of anyone else. However, nor would one wish to abandon anyone to the cruel mercy of feelings whose very nature is to elude control.

The apostle Paul insists that we are not slaves to the way we feel. But he is careful to avoid bland exhortations like "buck up", "pull yourself together" or "grin and bear it". Instead he reminds Timothy that, while we may not be able to control our circumstances nor our instinctive reaction to them, God gives us the ability to face up to - and rise above - such circumstances and reactions.

Not that this is easy. The reference to "self control" hints at effort. Again, the implication is that the source of that gift is beyond us. Beyond yet not out of reach. Jesus himself invites us to pray for what we need and promises to answer that prayer in just the right way and at just the right time. May that be the basis of our confidence that we shall enjoy all the power, love and self-discipline we need to meet whatever is thrown at us...



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