The “Brave New World” of the 21st Century requires a “Brave New Discipleship” strategy.

Be Your Own Brain Surgeon

Posted on: October 20, 2015

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YOU HAVE THE ABILITY TO ALTER YOUR BRAIN, FOR BETTER OR WORSE

Years ago, I read the quote, “Every moment of every day, something in your soul is being fed and something is being starved.” It struck me as immediately and undeniably true. Even back then, we instinctively understood that our thoughts and choices formed our destiny.

But now, as I said last week, modern science is catching up to the Bible, and is discovering that our brain physically changes, based on what it thinks about. As we think thoughts, the brain rewires itself, creates new pathways, and forms new circuits, actually altering the physiology of the brain.

The result is that the brain reforms itself according to our thought patterns. This is good news and it is bad news. The bad news is that the brain is physically altered when we have negative and harmful thought patterns, making it even better able to think negative and harmful things in the future. But the good news is that the brain is also physically altered when we have positive and helpful thought patterns making the brain even better able to think positive and helpful things in the future.

And the next good thing is that we can control this. We can choose. We can decide to stop thinking negative and harmful things and can start to think positive and helpful things and in doing so, be transformed by the renewing of our minds (Romans 12:2).

This works with memories, as well. Neurons that don’t get reinforced (through the rehearsing of negative memories) will start deteriorating, and the emotion attached to the trauma will begin deteriorating. We can replace the memories with mental rehearsal of positive truth instead. Eventually harmful memories and the emotions that are attached to them can lose their power. Physically, the brain is changed to the point that the old thought patterns are not even there any more. (See How to Switch On Your Brain, Dr. Caroline Leaf, pp. 64, 67)

This helps us even more to see the relevance of Philippians 4:8:

Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things.

And Colossian 3:16:

Let the Word of Christ richly dwell within you…

If we are consistent in allowing God’s truth to go through our minds over and over again, the brain rewires itself to support the positive truth and erode negative truth so that the brain increases its capacity to think the positive and true things. We start changing in the direction of the positive truth we are meditating on. When we fully understand this, believe it and embrace it, it discourages us from ever nurturing negative thoughts again.

And it is not just the memorization and meditation of Scripture passages that are helpful. But also, in Psalm 119, we see that David meditated, pondered, regarded, delighted in God’s word, precepts, ways, statutes, testimonies, wonders, and commandments. So, we have biblical freedom to go beyond just the review of memorized Scripture.

Along with the Scripture verses I review every day, I have a series of affirmations – summarizations of applications of truth from Scripture that are vital to the cultivation of my inner life – that I also review every day, even though they are not actual Scripture verses. They are just a series of simple statements, based on biblical truth, of what I want to be true of my life. They might not be vital to someone else, but they are vital to me. Another person would have his/her own set of affirmations.

I also have biblical concepts that I spend time focusing on every day… things such as grace, faith, forgiveness, gratitude, generosity, trust, obedience, etc., etc. The key is to find truth in Scripture that speaks specifically to our areas of growth-need & desire, and create exercises that take that truth through our minds over and over until those truths begin to shape our attitudes, values and behavior.

As we do, our brain physically changes to accommodate those thoughts and to strengthen those thoughts even more fully in the future. We can be our own brain surgeon.  

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