How many of you can join me in saying you have had a few too many of those Romans 7 moments: I do what I don’t want to do but I do it anyway, even though I know I must not do it (my paraphrase)! And how many of you have also wondered desperately where those thoughts inside your head come from? And perhaps you have also asked yourself how on earth could you think those thoughts, and wondered why you keep saying and doing what you know makes you feel sick in your mind and body?
Being in the mind/brain business, these challenges have held intense fascination for me and have been the object of much of my research. So, here is a very brief explanation of how I see this working from a scientific and scriptural standpoint. The understanding of this concept has helped my patients, as well myself and my family, over the years (for a deeper and fuller explanation, see my current books and watch out for my new books!).
As you well know, you are a triune being: you are spirit, you have a soul and live in a body. You are also created in His image and are therefore perfect, with the instilled knowledge of knowing right from wrong and the massive responsibility and gift of being able to choose (Ecclesiastes 7:29; Deuteronomy 30:19). So, it’s not who we are that is the problem; it’s who we have become through the choices we make.
As you know, when we are born again, our spirit is renewed and reconnected to God. But we still have to work at building our “listening skills” to the Holy Spirit through our intuition.
Your spirit is your “true you,” created perfect in God’s image. Your Spirit has the dimensions of intuition, conscience and communion. It’s in the intuition part of our spirit that we know. Our soul is our intellect, will and emotions – our mind – and is designed to be led by the spirit. It is with our soul that we understand what the mind knows. Our mind is what our brain does and the brain falls in the realm of the body. Our body does the will of the spirit and the soul. So the choices of our mind manifest in the physical nature of the brain as physical thoughts that impact the health of our body, mind and spirit. For a deeper understanding of spirit, soul and body, I recommend a book by Watchman Née called “The Spiritual Man”.
As mentioned above, the free will that God has given us plays a massive part in this “Romans 7 issue”…where we do what we know full well that we shouldn’t do. This ability to choose has implications (Deuteronomy 30:19). Thinking and choosing produces real physical structures in the brain that are made of proteins and chemicals. In other words, mind (soul) manifests in body (physical thoughts), which in turn impact the soul and the spirit…all three are linked and affect each other. So, if you choose wrong, it becomes a physical reality in your brain, and if you don’t get rid of these physical thoughts, you will live into them and operate from them. This is because everything we do and say is first a thought and comes from a thought. These are the “bad habits” that we think of as being part of who we are. And although biologically and mentally they may have become part of who we are through our choices, they are the toxically wired in part, not the “true you”!
The overriding design structure of the brain supports introspection and self-reflection – how could it not be so considering the great piece of advice in 2nd Corinthians 10:3-5 “…bring all thoughts into captivity to Christ Jesus”? This is an introspective skill arising out of self-reflection. We are supposed to check the results of our choices and the impact these choices and thoughts have on our physical body, mental health and spiritual development, because our design does not accommodate for bad choices. Bad choices, which become toxic thoughts, which become poor mental and physical health will cause weakened spirits with a deadened intuition unable to heed the voice of the Holy Spirit, as well as set up very negative cycle of “doing what we know we shouldn’t but we do anyway”. Remember, thoughts are real and occupy ‘mental real estate’! As you go through life, you are moment by moment – as a thinking being – thinking, choosing and building thoughts. You are designed to build good thoughts because you are “wired for love”. So when you make bad choices you are creating protein structures that oppose the natural laws of the brain and are therefore toxic, creating a vulnerability in your body for disease. Over the years we can literally wire in bad thought pathways (which are actually mini-universes), making them a toxic part of our biology, and it is from these learned, unnatural thought universes that we will operate…this is a bad habit, indeed!
But we are not victims of toxic cycles! Like Paul says in Romans 7: thank God for the work of the cross! Both science and scripture confirm we are able – and designed – to change our minds for the betterment of our spirits, souls and bodies. And, by perfect design, this too is our choice.
FATHER’S DAY – Sunday June 15th
Spoil your Earthly Father
Some Scriptures for Father’s Day
If you are a Dad, or if you ever had a Dad we hope these scriptures will encourage you.
Blessings (Dr. C. Leaf)
Watch EPISODE 13 of my TV series ‘Switch On Your Brain’ to learn how to ‘bring all thoughts into captivity!’ (TBN@11AM CST)
*** Will Myers