Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable, and perfect. Romans 12:2 (NIV)
As a veteran teacher, I have read my share of brain research. I know that students can literally train their brain to read better by repeatedly practicing the skills of strong readers. The students need teacher modeling of the skills, a gradual moving away from the teacher guided, skill-based activities to small group skills activities, and eventually, after much practice, their brains will begin to think in the pattern of “good” readers. They are then able to apply these skills without “thinking” about them, as strong readers do. They have literally trained their brain to think differently – and better.
Furthermore, there are countless new self-help book popping up based on the same brain research I use to help my struggling readers. The titles spout promises of changing your life by training your brain to think differently, and they all base these half promises on well documented brain research that delves so deeply into the human brain as to even include the chemical reactions our thinking can create in our own bodies.
I love how God’s word is always light years ahead of our newest science. God has been telling us this from the beginning. When we spend time with Him, in His Word, in prayer, with other like-minded Christians, we transform our minds.
In the Old Testament, He uses conversation/repetition (one of my favorite ways to train the brain in my classroom) to instruct parents on teaching their children:
Love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. These commandments that I give to your today are to be on your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Write them on the door frames of your houses and your gates. Deut, 6:5-9 (NIV)
Look at all that repetition! Over and over your should talk about His commandments (conversation is a STRONG brain training tool) – write them all over your house (as teachers, we are always making word walls for students to reference and remember), tie something on your hand to help you remember (haven’t we all done this?). And notice the emotion involved…love him with all of your heart. soul, and strength. Repetition and emotion – these are literally 2 of the strongest determiners of committing something to memory!
So, if we want to renew our minds, we must do it through spending time in His word, and in conversation with Him. That’s right – Bible study and prayer. When we are emotionally distressed, it will provide our brains with and even stronger path to change.
Of course, the One who created our amazing brains already knew all of this. That’s why it is so clear in His Word.Lord God, please help me to be in a state of constantly renewing my mind, my brain, to thinking the way You want me to think. Help me to spend time in Your Word instead of time watching TV, that often has the opposite effect. Please gently remind me to carve out time, lots of time, to talk to you through prayer. Please provide opportunities for me to talk about You and Your Word to my friends, coworkers, and most importantly, my child, And Lord, create in me a yearning to continue these things in order to renew my mind to be like the mind of Jesus, my Lord and Savior. In His holy name I pray. Amen.