The pivotal human organ for both goals is the brain. And yet most pastorsâ€”as well as most of the people in the pewsâ€”havenâ€™t spent five minutes in the last year deliberately learning how the brain works.
What makes this so tragic is that the human brain is one of the most glorious elements of Godâ€™s creation.
The brain is the organ that distinguishes people from all other creatures and gives us the capacity to develop knowledge, righteousness and holiness (Eph. 4:22-24), to know the mind of God and obey him in faith (Rom. 12:2), and to actually reflect his image and his glory in a way that no other creature can (Gen. 1:27; 2Cor. 3:18).
The brain is also the cradle of our emotions (limbic system) and the seat of our reasoning, morality and self-control (neocortex). All of these capacities were created perfectly (Gen. 1:31), but were then twisted by mankindâ€™s fall into sin (Eph. 4:22; Rom. 7:14-20).
The good news is that through the gospel God is redeeming and renewing all things, including our minds (Eph. 4:23-24; Rom. 12:2).
He calls us to participate in this sanctifying process by taking full advantage of the channels of grace he provides for us: prayer, the study of his Word, weekly sermons and fellowship groups, meditation, and acts of loving obedience that retrain our appetites and minds to delight in righteousness rather than sin.
But there is another extremely helpful channel that most Christians utterly neglect: studying the actual physiology and dynamics of the human brain.
I encourage you to end this neglect today and to begin an ongoing journey of learning how amazing your brain really is. As you do so, you will discover how you can begin to harness its God-designed capacities to help you experience deeper faith, more emotional stability, better self-discipline, greater peace and joy, and richer relationships.
Iâ€™ve learned a great deal about the brain from Dr. Dan Siegelâ€™s online courses, as well as books like Dan Golemanâ€™s Emotional Intelligence, which is required reading for our Certified RW Instructors. Although this material is not presented from a biblical world view and must therefore be filtered through Scripture, Iâ€™ve benefited greatly from the â€œcommon grace insightsâ€ God has given to experts like these.
I encourage you to begin your own study to learn more about your amazing brain and to harness its power to enrich your relationships with God and the people around you.
– Ken Sande
- Why do you think so many Christians (and their pastors) give so little attention to studying the human brain, even though it is one of the most glorious and life-impacting elements of Godâ€™s creation?
- For a sample of the practical ways that understanding your brain can improve your relationships, read Seven Facts about Emotions, Hijacked and Four Ways to Defeat Hijacking.
- To learn more about how to use your mental capacities to develop better relationships, I invite you to enroll in RW360â€™s 101 Discovering RW Online Seminar and our 102 RW Personal Study Course.
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Â© 2015 Ken Sande
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