Training My Brain

Training My Brain

So Joseph went after his brothers and found them at Dothan. They saw him from afar, and before he came near to them they conspired against him to kill him. Genesis 37:17-18

When I first took opioids, I experienced an intense euphoria and naturally, I wanted more. But I couldn’t just go do the Vicodin store on the corner and buy more Vicodin. So, eventually, if I wanted more prescriptions, I had to engage in behavior that was deceitful at best. At this point, you’d think that there might be something in my brain that would stop me. I wasn’t yet addicted, and I understood that it was wrong to get more pills by lying about my pain. So, what happened?

Unfortunately, up to that point in my life, I’d lived for my appetite. I’d grown up believing in God, but when it came to my life choices, I just did whatever I wanted. It wasn’t that I’d done terrible things. And perhaps that was the problem. Up to that point, following me simply wasn’t that bad, and so, I just developed this pattern of behavior – If I want it, I’ll eat it. Once I met the euphoria of opioids, the outcome was almost predestined. I’m not saying I didn’t have a choice. I’m saying I’d already made my choice a thousand times leading up to that moment.

This seems to be similar to what happened in today’s passage. It didn’t involve drugs, but it did involve a pre-established mindset meeting an evil opportunity. You’ll remember that Joseph’s brothers despised him for being his father’s favorite. So when they saw Joseph coming to check on them while tending the livestock, their built-up resentments overthrew their minds. In impulsive hate, they quickly hatched a plan to kill Joseph. These weren’t murderers, but years of hatred corrupted their thinking so that when the opportunity presented itself, the outcome was almost predestined. They’d already made their choice a thousand times previously.

The question for us is this – What are we training our brains for right now? For instance – Men, if we continually allow ourselves to fantasize about illicit sexual relationships, what do you think we’ll do when presented with a real opportunity? Whether we like it or not, we’re constantly conditioning our brains for tomorrow. So, what are we doing with our brains today? Are we reading God’s word, praying, and seeking God’s will? If we daily do this, we will experience the life, joy, and peace for which we were created. On the other hand, if we’re daily looking at pornography, feeding ourselves a constant diet of illicit sexual fantasies, we’ll reap very different consequences. I’m not saying that every guy who struggles with porn will have a literal affair. I am saying that according to Jesus’ standards, an inappropriate sexual fantasy is the spiritual equivalent of an affair. I’m saying that whatever pattern we establish in our minds, even if we think it’s a secret, it will spill out into our lives somehow. We will eventually reap the rewards of whatever we train our brains to do – for good or for evil.

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