Is Your Brain Wired for Worship?
“For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.” (2 Timothy 1:7).
The part of this Scripture I want to focus on today is that God has given us a sound mind. He is not a God who wants us to suffer in mind or body, so He has created us with the tools to repair ourselves. It is well-known that certain types of creatures can regenerate parts of their bodies when they are wounded: deer grow new antlers, lizards grow new legs and tails, starfish grow new arms, and worms can grow entire new bodies. While it is true that humans cannot grow new arms or legs (except by the miraculous power of the Holy Spirit), we can regenerate our minds. Let me explain what I mean.
Believers in Yeshua understand the concept of renewing our minds (Rom 12:2) but that seems like a fairly obscure process to most of us, and it is hard to explain to someone how they can go about renewing their minds so they can line up with YHVH’s perfect will. However, when we look at the deeper meaning of the Hebrew word for renewal in this verse (hitchadshut), we see that it actually means regeneration, which is the same word used to describe creatures that grow new body parts. Over the last 30 years, brain research has greatly increased our understanding of how the brain functions physically, but it has also helped scientists’ understanding of the forces outside the physical brain (referred to as quantum mechanics) that trigger the conscious thought processes within the brain.
From a spiritual and Biblical perspective, we would call these external forces the mind or soul, as the mind is what enables our thoughts to be world-centered, self-centered or God-centered. The mind/soul encompasses the intellect, free will, and emotions. From God’s word, we know that we have power over our mind, to be able to renew it to be more God-centered, or to take our thoughts captive to the obedience of Messiah Yeshua (2 Cor 10:5). New scientific findings indicate that when we are actively thinking in our minds, we are actually changing our DNA, switching genes on and off, and causing cells to function differently. These actions do not happen merely by physical functions of the brain – they must be enabled by the mind, or conscious thought processes (see Dr. Caroline Leaf’s “Switch on Your Brain” study for more details on this research: https://drleaf.com/store/switch-on-your-brain/).
Psychologists and therapists have known for many years that the way we think affects our mental, physical, and emotional health. You may be familiar with a famous teaching about the power of our thoughts: “The Power of Positive Thinking” by Dr. Norman Vincent Peale. James 1:21 tells us (paraphrased) that if we lay aside all sinfulness in our lives and embrace God’s implanted word, this will “…save our souls”. Once again, though, we have a concept for renewing our souls which is easy to discuss but hard to implement in our lives.
So how do we go about regenerating our minds to bring healing and wholeness to our bodies and souls? The Holy Spirit is our helper and healer and leads us into all of YHVH’s truth and wisdom. So how do we tap into the Holy Spirit’s healing and restoring power? We can only learn the Holy Spirit’s wisdom and truth and experience His healing power if we spend time with Him! It says in James 1:27 that true worship is keeping yourself unspotted by the world. In order to resist the wiles of the devil and the temptations of the world, we must separate ourselves from the world – Isa 52:11 and II Cor 6:17-18: “Therefore go out from their midst, and be separate from them, says the LORD [YHVH], and touch no unclean thing; then I will welcome you, and I will be a father to you…”.
We understand from these Scriptures and others that true worship means setting yourself apart from the world and spending time with the Holy Spirit, praying and meditating on YHVH’s word. You do not have to be in a corporate sanctuary to “do worship”, and you do not have to be alone in your closet. You can be worshipping everywhere you go. What we really need to do is to renew our minds so that we live in a constant state of worship, meaning that we keep YHVH’s presence with us wherever we are, listening to His guidance and constantly interacting with Him through internal dialogue. This will keep our minds stayed on Him, because we are trusting in Him (Isa 26:3). And when we keep our minds focused on Him, then we will be sending positive impulses into all the organs and cells of our body, healing us of all infirmities, anxieties and fears (2 Timothy 1:7).