The Bible study on ‘Culture Wars’ continued last night, looking particularly at key verses in Romans 12:1-2 TNIV. Here, we are urged to be transformed by the renewing of our minds.

The way we think is, scientists tell us, all down to neuron pathways in our brain. We form pathways of thinking by joining neurons together. When we are children, we have to learn to do so many things, which comes about through repeated thinking and practice. When we learn to play an instrument, it is a painstaking process involving conscious thought, but eventually ‘muscle memory’ is built up and the pathway is so worn that we no longer realise any thought is going on; we play ‘from memory’ and are hard pushed to explain what we are doing to an onlooker.

The world has a way of thinking that is alien to God’s way (see Is 55:8-9 TNIV, Prov 14:12 TNIV, Prov 12:15 TNIV.) It’s like walking down the pathway on the picture below:

It’s much easier to cross the field by using the path, but if that way is not God’s way, we can easily end up in trouble. God wants our minds to be renewed so that we form new pathways, alternative ways of living, neurons joined in new ways! This will mean crossing the field through rough terrain, but eventually, as we constantly meditate on God’s word (see Philippians 4:8 TNIV for a summary of how we should be thinking and what God’s thoughts actually look like!), we will form new paths to walk on.

When a person suffers a stroke, certain areas of their brain are affected and they may lose the ability to do things they had previously learnt. However, old skills can be re-learnt. New patterns of thinking can also be formed in us so that we align our thinking with God’s rather than allowing the world to squeeze us into its mould (or force us to walk on its highways!) If a path is neglected, the grass or weeds will grow back and eventually the path will no longer be visible. We have to constantly tend the new way of thinking (ensuring those pathways are clear and maintained) rather than going back over the old ways and keeping those fresh. The old has to go; the new has to be nurtured!