A truth you’ll hear a lot here at Southern Hills is that your old self is dead and now Christ lives in you. He is now in the process of renewing you. Sanctification is the biblical word for this. You are continually being made more like Christ when you read the Bible, when you seek to put Him first in your life, when you chose to love God and show love to other people. God is literally changing who you are to reflect His image. Paul says in Romans 12:2 “Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think…” It’s the renewing of our mind where Christ changes us and makes us anew.
I’ve been reading a neuroscientist, Dr. Caroline Leaf, and she talks about this renewing of your mind. She says, “Scientists are finally beginning to see the brain as having renewable characteristics; it is no longer viewed as a machine that is hardwired early in life, unable to adapt, and wearing out with age.”¹ In other words, your brain used to be thought of as concrete, unable to change. But now it is viewed, through new science, as have the characteristic of plasticity. Meaning it’s moldable; it can change. We, you and I, can change how we think.
Dr. Leaf also says:
Breakthrough neuroscientific research is confirming daily what we instinctively knew all along: What you are thinking every moment of every day becomes a physical reality in your brain and body, which affects your optimal mental and physical health. These thoughts collectively form your attitude, which is your state of mind, and it’s your attitude and not your DNA that determines much of the quality of your life.²
You may be thinking, “That’s a lot of scientific mumbo-jumbo. What does it all mean?”
Paul tells us in 2 Corinthians 10:5 to “take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ” (NIV). The thoughts we think every day get imprinted on our brains. They physically become who we are. But, if we take our thoughts captive and make them obedient to Christ, then we renew our minds. Our brains become wired to be like Christ. Then “we have the mind of Christ,” as Paul describes it in 1 Corinthians 2:16.
Don’t think of yourself as an old dog that can’t learn new tricks. Don’t think of yourself as someone who can’t learn how to be like Christ. Don’t think you are beyond changeable. God is sanctifying you through molding your mind and making it anew. It is freeing to know that Christ can change you. He can physically renew your mind to reflect His image.
Now wrap your mind around that!
(1) Leaf, Dr. Caroline (2013-09-01). Switch On Your Brain: The Key to Peak Happiness, Thinking, and Health (p. 22). Baker Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.
(2) Leaf, Dr. Caroline (2013-09-01). Switch On Your Brain: The Key to Peak Happiness, Thinking, and Health (pp. 13-14). Baker Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.