I was listening to a guitar teacher explain how skill gets wired into our brain. He explained we establish connections between parts of our brain as we repeat a process or movement. He described it as building a tree of knowledge in our brains.
Some accomplished guitarists testify to a daily disciplined, focused, regimen of practices…some, since their early childhood… to develop the skills they possess, today. Some of the activity can be dry… does not sound like playing music… and can cause muscles to hurt.
Just when I think I’m getting it… as I continue to play, I’m shown a little further I could go on the guitar. I’ve gotten a taste of this principle to appreciate the time, focus, and effort talented musicians have put into honing their skill for most of their life—I didn’t start that early and dabbled a lot.
Being in the game… the heat of battle… causes the most growth. You have to “work on it” when playing for someone—it becomes real with a purpose. If you’re playing with a group, you adjust to the other musicians and how the listeners are reacting to your playing.
The “outsider air-guitar player” may ask… what’s the use, if you have to continue to work at it? They may look hip with all their “show moves”… but, they don’t understand the satisfaction, or joy, of experiencing what’s possible to do—that riff or melody you’ve learned to play… where you started at… what your developing into… that your musical ear continues to improve. What you play, someone enjoys… they tell you so… your effort is rewarded.
It’s the love for guitar music that no longer makes it dreaded work… but a choice of desired pursuit. When I think I’ve “had it”… after awhile… I pick up the guitar, again. I’ve never been able to leave it in the corner, or hanging on the wall, for very long.
By definition, the first time you pluck some notes or strum a chord you’re “playing guitar”… but, there’s a long road between this and playing with virtuoso skill like a Chet Atkins… Tommy Emmanuel… Andrés Segovia. It’s a road I don’t fully understand because I haven’t put in the time and work—then, there’s the reality of provision… pay-off… what matters in the end… what you’ll walk away from the table with.
This is part of the guitar world for those that love to play… however, it’s not the holy grail to life, itself. I think some of the principles can apply to the most important pursuit of anybody’s life… the Life of Jesus Christ to save us from the eternal damnation of the Lake of Fire. That’s what this is about. My relationship with Jesus Christ, and as we’ll see… my bond to, is what I want to be truly virtuous at… a “virtuoso” in… at the end of the road.
The study or field of Neuroplasticity seems agree with the described musical skill development. It may be just theory… but, I want to see if God’s Word actually sets the precedent. If it does, I can give consideration of the concept as it relates to helping me understand His Word more.
Neuroplasticity, capacity of neurons and neural networks in the brain to change their connections and behavior in response to new information, sensory stimulation, development, damage, or dysfunction.
Said another way, repetitive action establishes a path, or road, for a skill, or behavior, to become easier over time if one stays with it. It becomes wired into the brain.
The brain is sensitive and still a big mystery… however, it can be altered… the mind can be changed. To be able to change our mind… make a choice… is this not the definition of repentance? We have a conscience, unlike animals, that allows us to choose right or wrong… good or bad with associated consequences.
The Bible says… what we repetitively expose ourselves to, affects our beliefs, which influences our behaviors—this all sets up what our mind thinks. The terms… renewed or conformed… becoming a slave to… are used to describe it.
How do we become renewed—a slave to righteousness… the Light… to Jesus Christ?
Once we’ve accepted Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior for our life, are we not admonished to be in habit of… giving testimony to the Truth of His Salvation… sharing the Gospel of the Kingdom of God… praying to the Father God in Jesus Christ’s name… studying God’s Word… saying no to sin… confessing our need for the only High Priest, Jesus Christ, to wash, and keep, us clean when we do sin… fellowshipping with, and encouraging, other Saints… praising and worshipping the Lord—to not grieve the Holy Spirit by our actions and words? We’re to reject what the world offers… man’s doctrines and ways… to save us.
Romans 12 I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.2 And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.
Ephesians 4 22 That ye put off concerning the former conversation the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts; 23 And be renewed in the spirit of your mind; 24 And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness. 25 Wherefore putting away lying, speak every man truth with his neighbour: for we are members one of another.26 Be ye angry, and sin not: let not the sun go down upon your wrath:27 Neither give place to the devil.28 Let him that stole steal no more: but rather let him labour, working with his hands the thing which is good, that he may have to give to him that needeth.29 Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers.30 And grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption.31 Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice:32 And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you.
Is this saying… what we think and do, is who we become (Ezekiel 33:11-19; 1 John 1:6-8; John 3:20-21; Mark 7:18-23)? As we continue to say no to sin… does this get reinforced… stronger… in our hearts and brains (see the study… Fill ‘er Up)? Is this how our mind is changed… renewed? Is this how repentance becomes genuine… lasting (John 14:20-24; 1 John 2:3-5; Revelation 2:25-27)? We build strong bonds, or connections, in our hearts and brains (minds) to the righteousness of Jesus Christ… His Holiness—His Life and Spirit… the Holy Spirit… Eternal Life is living in us.
Romans 6 3 Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death? 6 Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin. 12 Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, that ye should obey it in the lusts thereof. 13 Neither yield ye your members as instruments of unrighteousness unto sin: but yield yourselves unto God, as those that are alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness unto God.14 For sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace.15 What then? shall we sin, because we are not under the law, but under grace? God forbid.16 Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness?17 But God be thanked, that ye were the servants of sin, but ye have obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine which was delivered you.18 Being then made free from sin, ye became the servants of righteousness.19 I speak after the manner of men because of the infirmity of your flesh: for as ye have yielded your members servants to uncleanness and to iniquity unto iniquity; even so now yield your members servants to righteousness unto holiness. 22 But now being made free from sin, and become servants to God, ye have your fruit unto holiness, and the end everlasting life.23 For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Ephesians 4 2 With all lowliness and meekness, with longsuffering, forbearing one another in love; 3 Endeavouring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.4 There is one body, and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling;
How do we become conformed—a slave to destruction… the darkness of the world… sin… Satan?
John 8 34 Jesus answered them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Whosoever committeth sin is the servant of sin.
Is this why continuing to listen to lies, liars, and false prophets and teachers… practicing apostasy… delving into drugs and the occult… spitefully sinning rejecting rebuke or conviction from the Holy Spirit… blindly accepting what the masses are doing without consulting what God’s Word says… are very dangerous practices? These repetitions will establish habits… change our way of thinking. Eventually our brains, our minds, our beliefs, and our hearts are changed—we become enslaved to Satan, man, and the world.
1 John 4 5 They are of the world: therefore speak they of the world, and the world heareth them.6 We are of God: he that knoweth God heareth us; he that is not of God heareth not us. Hereby know we the spirit of truth, and the spirit of error.
1 John 5 20 And we know that the Son of God is come, and hath given us an understanding, that we may know him that is true, and we are in him that is true, even in his Son Jesus Christ. This is the true God, and eternal life.21 Little children, keep yourselves from idols. Amen.
Romans 1 21 Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened. 22 Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools,23 And changed the glory of the uncorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and fourfooted beasts, and creeping things.24 Wherefore God also gave them up to uncleanness through the lusts of their own hearts, to dishonour their own bodies between themselves:25 Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed for ever. Amen. 28 And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient;
Is this not how establishing neuropathways in the brain was described earlier—habits establish connections, or bridges, to ingrained beliefs and behaviors that we become bound to? If we have faith in Jesus Christ, a relationship with Him, could these idolatrous practices eventually destroy it?
Hebrews 3 11 So I sware in my wrath, They shall not enter into my rest.)12 Take heed, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief, in departing from the living God.13 But exhort one another daily, while it is called To day; lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin.
1 Timothy 4 Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils;2 Speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron;3 Forbidding to marry, and commanding to abstain from meats, which God hath created to be received with thanksgiving of them which believe and know the truth.
Then, there’s testimony of oxygen deprivation, such as habitual mask-wearing, that does irreparable damage to nerve cells in our brains destroying cognitive abilities… aside from damage done to other organs. Could this also affect our ability to think clearly… change our mind… to choose… at some point?
Along with the other restrictions… I mean, stone-hearted edicts…that are destroying lives, jobs, and businesses… are these all “half-sisters” to abortion, euthanasia, abuse of children, fornication, adultery, homosexuality, transgenderism… all sin? Are not all these abusive acts against, at the expense of, another human being for the personal pleasure or gain of the perpetrator (Luke 13:14-16; 12:5-7; Deuteronomy 25:4; 1 Timothy 5:17-18; Isaiah 5:20-23)? Is this truly loving our neighbor as our self when we “squeeze the life out of others” in attempt to add-on to ours?
At the end of 2019, I referenced a testimony from a young woman who became a slave to human trafficking in “What For?”. She described what her bondage looked like… all your decisions are theirs… you’re not a person… you’re owned… you’re a commodity… you’re their property—you’re groomed for their control of you… they weaken to destroy your ability to see what’s going on, who they really are… reality becomes unbelievable. She had given her mind over, conformed it, to her enemy posing as her ally claiming to… have her best interests in mind… to keep her safe—that’s what pimps do. In 2020, is this eerily familiar for us?
I’m a male created in God’s image. I have a nose and mouth on a face that’s part of my unique identity. I need to breathe in oxygen and expel carbon dioxide for my cells to exist and do their job so I can live.
I inherited corrupted flesh—I sin… fail… hit flat and wrong notes… get sick… am weak and flabby (becoming more each day… so are you… why would I trust either of us to save me or you). I “wobble” and will die… all, evidence my spirit of man is impoverished. I’m a mess and need a savior to save me from my corruption… to make me acceptable to God… to become rich in Spirit towards God.
The only One who has the ability, power, authority, and right to redeem and restore my spirit of man as God intended it before the fall in the Garden of Eden, is my Creator, the risen Jesus Christ, the only Begotten Son of God (Jeremiah 9:23-24; 1 Corinthians 1:29-31; Ephesians 1:2-7).
That’s the point… we’re made to feel ashamed of what it means to be a human being… that we’re a mess in need of true Salvation from Jesus Christ. We’re strong-armed to mask up… deny our identity… how dare we get sick trusting in the immune system God gave us… be the specific gender God created us as… and make mistakes. We’re deceived into looking to rid ourselves of our human traits thinking we’re our own god—to deny our spirit of man is destitute headed towards irrevocable bankruptcy.
Matthew 5 3 Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven 4 Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted.5 Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth.6 Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled [Revelation 3:17-19].
If we buy into the delusion that man has the power to make us rich in our spirit, we manipulate, fear, and worship him. Now… the rich in flesh, the power hungry, the elite, the spirit of antichrist, and Satan become a god to us because they possess this world. If we want this world, we’ll seek and bow to them. The problem is they can’t restore… heal… or redeem us satisfying the wrath of God reconciling us back to Him to raise us from the pit of the grave to Everlasting Life (John 3:35-36). Only Jesus Christ… the Way, the Truth, and the Life… can, not the unnaturally cheap contrived city of man.
The “city of man”… Babylon… dehumanizes destroying the identity of male and female created in the image of God. This makes it easier to “mask murder as salvation” in the name of “love” through the compliance of the many and the self-justification of wickedness (John 8:44; 10:9-11)—those that have conformed their mind to this will not cry out from the “pain of their poverty”. If we don’t experience and recognize the mess we’re in… we won’t reach out for the Savior, Jesus Christ.
Deuteronomy 28 28 The Lord shall smite thee with madness, and blindness, and astonishment of heart: [confusion of mind… NASB] 29 And thou shalt grope at noonday, as the blind gropeth in darkness, and thou shalt not prosper in thy ways: and thou shalt be only oppressed and spoiled evermore, and no man shall save thee.
Back to main road…
Who, or what, we trust (we give our attention to… worship) is what we serve (Matthew 6:23-25). Will it be God… or Satan through trusting the sinful flesh of the old man and a fallen world?
That which we consistently do, becomes easier to do and harder to change as we become more entrenched in it. I didn’t say… impossible to change while we still draw a breath. With God, all things are possible—He grants us repentance… but, we have to act on the conviction of our sins… the need to be corrected to grow in the grace and knowledge of Jesus Christ… from the Holy Spirit.
Again, is this not how establishing neuropathways in the brain was described earlier—pathways, or bonds, that can be changed, or forged, with focused effort?
Is this not how athletes, who hope to be winners, approach training… with focused discipline?
1 Corinthians 9 24 Know ye not that they that run in a race run all, but one receiveth the prize? Even so run; that ye may attain. 25 And every man that striveth in the games exerciseth self-control in all things. Now they do it to receive a corruptible crown; but we an incorruptible. 26 I therefore so run, as not uncertainly; so fight I, as not beating the air: 27 but I buffet my body, and bring it into bondage: lest by any means, after that I have preached to others, I myself should be rejected.
No… I’m not saying we’re saved by our works—Jesus Christ’s shed blood washes our sins clean. Without Him, as our only valid High Priest… according to the likeness of Melchizedek… to the power of an indestructible life… in Heaven seated at the right hand of the Father God, our sins can’t be forgiven—and, we don’t have the Holy Spirit in our hearts who gives us power to change our minds… to repent (Hebrews 7-9).
The God of Israel, through Jesus Christ, created our brains and minds. Does He abandon the working principles of them in the natural when dealing with the born-again… Spiritual new man… saved by Jesus Christ’s once-and-for-all atonement sacrifice?
Colossians 3 4 When Christ, who is our life, shall appear, then shall ye also appear with him in glory.5 Mortify therefore your members which are upon the earth; fornication, uncleanness, inordinate affection, evil concupiscence, and covetousness, which is idolatry:6 For which things sake the wrath of God cometh on the children of disobedience:
Romans 8 5 For they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit.6 For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace. 12 Therefore, brethren, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live after the flesh.13 For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die: but if ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live.14 For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God.
It seems that how we develop in Jesus Christ does require focused effort on our part—it doesn’t happen on automatic pilot… we have to consciously act. But, like aviation fuel is crucial for a plane to fly, it does take the power of the Holy Spirit to be successful in doing so.
Galatians 6 8 For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting.9 And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not.10 As we have therefore opportunity, let us do good unto all men, especially unto them who are of the household of faith.
Titus 2 11 For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men,12 Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world;13 Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ;14 Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works.
Ephesians 5 8 For ye were sometimes darkness, but now are ye light in the Lord: walk as children of light:9 (For the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness and righteousness and truth;)10 Proving what is acceptable unto the Lord.11 And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them. 15 See then that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise,16 Redeeming the time, because the days are evil.17 Wherefore be ye not unwise, but understanding what the will of the Lord is.18 And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit;19 Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord;20 Giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ;
The saved new man Saint is given the Holy Spirit—is not the Holy Spirit a Spirit of a… sound mind?
2 Timothy 1 7 For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.
Taking care of our mind… our heart… is sobering and serious to consider.
Proverbs 4 19 The way of the wicked is as darkness: they know not at what they stumble.20 My son, attend to my words; incline thine ear unto my sayings.21 Let them not depart from thine eyes; keep them in the midst of thine heart.22 For they are life unto those that find them, and health to all their flesh.23 Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life.24 Put away from thee a froward mouth, and perverse lips put far from thee.25 Let thine eyes look right on, and let thine eyelids look straight before thee.26 Ponder the path of thy feet, and let all thy ways be established.27 Turn not to the right hand nor to the left: remove thy foot from evil.
Colossians 3 If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God.2 Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth.3 For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God.
Philippians 4 7 And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. 8 Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.
Isaiah 26 2 Open ye the gates, that the righteous nation which keepeth the truth may enter in.3 Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee.4 Trust ye in the Lord for ever: for in the Lord Jehovah is everlasting strength:
I wouldn’t know who the God of Israel is if not granted His grace and mercy to find Jesus Christ… and, stay with following Him—that I continue, and strengthen, in bond to Him.
Revelation 22 10 And he saith unto me, Seal not the sayings of the prophecy of this book: for the time is at hand.11 He that is unjust, let him be unjust still: and he which is filthy, let him be filthy still: and he that is righteous, let him be righteous still: and he that is holy, let him be holy still.12 And, behold, I come quickly; and my reward is with me, to give every man according as his work shall be.
And… what makes it real with a purpose? That, which the Jew and Gentile Saints, the Church, hope for and share in… the promises to Abraham… the next generations. It did for Abraham, and it was called faith.