Neuroscientists say our brains are flexible organs that harden over time. When one of our 100 billion neurons sends an electrochemical charge to another neuron, it opens a new path in the brain. If the neuron repeats this signal enough times, the path widens into a road and then a runway. The more we think about something, the more that thought becomes embedded in our brains. It might be easy to change our minds when experiencing a new thought. It’s more difficult when that thought has built a highway in our heads.
Knowing how our brains work appears to provide both a warning and an opportunity. God warns us not to go down the path “of the wicked, or stand around with sinners, or join in with mockers” (Psalm 1:1). This way turns our minds into “worthless chaff, scattered by the wind,” and “leads to destruction” (Psalm 1:4,6). What we think can determine what we are.
Paul instructs, “Don’t let yourself think about ways to indulge your evil desires” (Romans 13:14). And “Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think” (Romans 12:2).
This is our opportunity. If repeated thoughts form deep grooves in our minds, then meditation on Scripture burrows God’s wisdom into our very soul. Ever noticed how some people suffering dementia can still sing old hymns or recite the Lord’s Prayer? They may not remember their own name, but they still remember those faith-sustaining words.
I know of a woman who daily visits her husband in the nursing home. For many years they enjoyed dancing together, and it’s the one thing he still knows how to do. He can no longer communicate, but he can dance. What will be the last thing to go for us? Let’s save our last dance for the Lord.
NLT 365-day reading plan passage for today: Matthew 2:13-23
Read Psalm 119:33-56 to learn the lasting reward of meditating on God’s Word.
What’s a song or Scripture you want to remember when other memories have faded? Sing or recite it. How can you focus on thoughts that are lovely and admirable today?