You have to forgive me—I’m a bit of a word nerd. I like words—and I like to meditate on their meaning.
Here’s what I found when I looked up “turn”—what stands out to you?
1a : to cause to move around an axis or a center : make rotate or revolve <turn a wheel> <turn a crank> b (1) : to cause to move around so as to effect a desired end (as of locking, opening, or shutting) <turned the knob till the door opened> (2) : to affect or alter the functioning of (as a mechanical device) or the level of (as sound) by such movement <turn the oven to 400°> <turn the music to full volume> c : to execute or perform by rotating or revolving <turn handsprings> d : to twist out of line or shape : wrench <had turned his ankle>
2a (1) : to cause to change position by moving through an arc of a circle <turned her chair to the fire> (2) : to cause to move around a center so as to show another side of <turn the page> (3) : to cause (as a scale) to move so as to register weight b : to revolve mentally : think over : ponder
3a : to reverse the sides or surfaces of : invert <turn pancakes> <turn the shirt inside out>: as (1) : to dig or plow so as to bring the lower soil to the surface <turn the compost weekly> (2) : to make (as a garment) over by reversing the material and resewing <turn a collar> (3) : to invert feet up and face down (as a character, rule, or slug) in setting type b : to reverse or upset the order or disposition of <everything was turned topsy-turvy> c : to disturb or upset the mental balance of : derange, unsettle <a mind turned by grief> d : to set in another especially contrary direction
4a : to bend or change the course of : divert <a battle that turned the tide of history> b : to cause to retreat <used fire hoses to turn the mob> c : to alter the drift, tendency, or expected result of d : to bend a course around or about : round <turned the corner at full speed>
5a (1) : to direct or point (as the face) in a specified way or direction (2) : to present by a change in direction or position <turning his back to his guests> b : to bring to bear (as by aiming, pointing, or focusing) : train <turned the light into the dark doorway> <turned a questioning eye toward her> c : to direct (as the attention or mind) toward or away from something d : to direct the employment of : apply, devote <turned his skills to the service of humankind> e (1) : to cause to rebound or recoil <turns their argument against them> (2) : to make antagonistic : prejudice <turn a child against its mother> f (1) : to cause to go in a particular direction <turned our steps homeward> (2) : drive, send <turn cows to pasture> <turning hunters off his land> (3) : to convey or direct out of an inverted receptacle <turn the mixture into a baking dish>
6a (1) : to make acid or sour (2) : to change the color of (as foliage) b (1) : convert, transform <turn defeat into victory> (2) : translate, paraphrase c : to cause to become of a specified nature or appearance <turned him into a frog> <embarrassment turned her face red> d : to exchange for something else <turn coins into paper money> e : to cause to defect to another side
7a : to shape especially in a rounded form by applying a cutting tool while revolving in a lathe b : to give a rounded form to by any means <turn the heel of a sock> c : to shape or mold artistically, gracefully, or neatly <a well turned phrase>
9a : to keep (as money or goods) moving; specifically : to dispose of (a stock) to make room for another b : to gain in the course of business <turning a quick profit> c : to make use of <turned her education to advantage> d : to carry to completion : pull off <turned a double play> <turn a deal>
1a : to move around on an axis or through an arc of a circle : rotate b : to become giddy or dizzy : spin <heights always made his head turn> c (1) : to have as a decisive factor : hinge <the argument turns on a point of logic> <the outcome of the game turned on an interception> (2) : to have a center (as of interest) in something specified <the discussion turned on the overall worth of the project> (3) : to become focused on something specified <the conversation turned to baseball>
2a : to direct one’s course b (1) : to reverse a course or direction <the tide has turned> (2) : to have a reactive usually adverse effect c : to take a different course or direction <turned toward home> <the main road turns sharply to the right>
3a : to change position (as of one’s head) so as to face another way turned to stare> b : to face toward or away from someone or something <flowers turn toward the light> c : to change one’s attitude or reverse one’s course of action to one of opposition or hostility <felt the world had turned against him> d : to make a sudden violent assault especially without evident cause turning on their owners>
4a : to direct one’s attention to or away from someone or something b (1) : to change one’s religion (2) : to go over to another side or party : defect c : to have recourse : refer, resort <turned to a friend for help> <turned to his notes for the exact figures> d : to direct one’s efforts or activity : devote or apply oneself <turned to the study of the law> <turned to a life of crime>
5a : to become changed, altered, or transformed <the weather turned>: as (1) archaic : to become different (2) : to change color <the leaves have turned> (3) : to become sour, rancid, or tainted <the milk had turned> (4) : to be variable or inconstant (5) : to become mentally unbalanced : become deranged b (1) : to pass from one state to another : change <water had turned to ice> (2) : become, grow <his hair had turned gray> <the weather turned bad> <just turned twenty> (3) : to become someone or something specified by change from another state : change into <turn pro> <doctors turned authors> (4) : to change by the passage of time <days turned into weeks and months>
6: to become curved or bent (as from pressure); especially : to become blunted by bending <the edge of the knife had turned>
7: to operate a lathe
Several things stick out to me as I think about this idea of turning from sin and turning toward Jesus…
- The first is “to cause to move around an axis or a center.” It seems to me that turning toward Jesus dose exactly this—causes us to be centered, moving around his axis.
- The second part of that same definition stands out to me: “to cause to move around so as to effect a desired end.” Our desired end of turning toward Jesus? Becoming like Jesus.
- Another phrase that catches my eye: “to alter the drift, tendency, or expected result of.” Where might we drift if we do not turn and alter our expected result?
- Later on, this sticks out at me: “to direct one’s attention to or away from someone or something.” This is exactly what we must do when we turn away from sin and toward Jesus. We must actively direct our attention away from the one, and toward the other. We cannot be passive and expect to make this turn. We must direct our attention in one way or the other.
- Finally, this phrase catches my eye: “to become changed, altered, or transformed.” This, of course, is the fruit of turning toward Jesus—transformation. Our hearts, our minds, and our lives are altered!
What about you? What does the Holy Spirit point out to you today?