Your Brain, Neuroplasticity, and the Bible
The human brain is currently a topic of global focus because International Brain Awareness Week is March 11-15. We can all benefit from information about improving brain health and decreasing the risk of developing dementia later in life. This annual brain awareness initiative, however, focuses more on fundraising for brain studies. A research topic that may be of particular interest to Christians is what God has to say in scriptures about neuroplasticity of the brain.
What is Neuroplasticity?
The entire human body is a wonder but the brain is perhaps most remarkable of all. Neuroplasticity is the brain’s ability to form synaptic connections and to reorganize them, particularly in response to learning. Thanks to the brain’s neuroplasticity, stroke victims, for instance, have hope of recovery. Neuroplasticity is also what enables musicians to master the skill of playing instruments.
Where is Neuroplasticity in the Bible?
God tells us that we are equipped to change the way our brains operate after becoming Christians. It says in Romans 12:2, New King James Version (NKJV):
"And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God."
We can do this because our brains conform to patterns. When learning to catch a ball, the brain develops patterns for catching the ball. Each of our abilities is a result of patterns or combinations of patterns that have been developed in our brain.
This is good news for anyone with a habit they want to get rid of. Even changing diets can be extremely difficult, but God has given us the ability to do it because of the way our brains operate. When we practice something new long enough, our brain switches over and equips us to eventually carry on with new life habits without the old struggle.
Equipped with a Sound Mind
Through Jesus, we have everything needed for an abundant life, though it’s important to judge success according to God’s definition. Jesus modeled the proper attitude towards life when he washed the dirty feet of his disciples. Jesus says in John 10:10b:
"I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly."
In equipping us for the abundant life, Jesus teaches in 2 Timothy 1:7 that he has given us a spirit of a sound mind. Because of this promise, we can boldly share the gospel message and our testimony with words of truth and soberness.
Our Brains are Like Christ’s
The Bible says in 1 Corinthians 2:16:
“For ‘who has known the mind of the Lord that he may instruct Him?’ But we have the mind of Christ.”
Everyone with the use of their brains is blessed indeed, but Christians have the incredible benefit of having within ourselves the brain waves of Jesus! The comfort in this is that we aren’t making things up as we go along. We are indwelt by the Holy Spirit and our mind is literally Christ’s! What prevents us all from living perfectly as Jesus did is that we still have the flesh, including the brain of flesh that has been influenced by life’s experiences. We simply need to renew our minds with the Word. Neuroplasticity kicks in, allowing us to switch over to use our brains God’s way.