As we learn how the brain processes information, it is interesting to see the connections between what the Bible teaches and the reality of the latest brain research. You will recall, we have what is called the “fast track” on the right side of our brain which deals with things like emotions, attitudes, behavior and relationships.
This is where our identity is formed and what makes us, us. The information that we are processing here is traveling faster than we can think about it. We are not conscious of what we are experiencing. It is “automatic.”
The other side of our brain, the left “slow track” is where we have conscious thought. Here is where we analyze things and make decisions, along with working out problems.
In Ephesians 4, Paul is speaking about this two track system.
“Let the Spirit renew thoughts and attitudes.”
In other words,
“Let the Holy Spirit renew your slow track processing and your fast track processing.”
What can we learn from the Holy Spirit?
Because, the most important parts of who we are, our identity and the resulting character and attitude we possess, are fast track, this means that studying a problem doesn’t mean we will automatically change our mind. Character and the behavior that results can’t be changed through study and analysis. Only the power of the Holy Spirit and working on the skills we are given is enough to change the automatic habits of how we respond to the world around us.
Another thing we learn is the disaster of going with our human nature rather than God’s nature. Paul says,
“Put on your new nature created to be like God…”
Our normal way of living in our human nature is to value results and to look at people as those who can help us achieve what we want or look at people who are “getting in the way” of achieving those results. This can result in manipulation and/or rejection.
But, when the Holy Spirit enters in and grows our new nature, when we grow to be more like God, we realize our relationships with others are more important than the problems we have with them. This changes the way we look at life and the people we connect with on a regular basis. Whether it is our business, the way we act in our families, the way we deal with our friends and neighbors, relationships have priority over results.
Relationships are more important than problems.
Paul is reminding us this is the way God lives. We put the way God processes life upon ourselves like fresh, new clothes. God is more interested in who we are as his beloved sons and daughters than He is interested in what we do or don’t do. When we live like God, we, too, view people as precious and don’t focus on what they can do or not do for us.
Can you imagine what life would be like if the value of your relationships with those you love, those you spend time with were the most important thing about being together, rather than the problems you might have? Can you imagine what it would be like to be able to actually see someone through God’s eyes rather than what they do or don’t do for you?
You can have this life. It’s just that you aren’t going to learn this in any school I am aware of. No system of thinking and analysis will bring this kind of life. It is going to take allowing the Holy Spirit to recreate you into the you who God has in mind. It is about joining together with others who are on this same journey with you. Jesus spoke of this when he said,
“For where two or three gather together as my followers, I am there among them.” (Matthew 18:20)
Turns out, the Apostle Paul knew about brain science!
When we process life the way God does, he is there right in the middle. Fast track and slow, we can look at each other through God’s eyes and grow in the Spirit.