“Mental rehearsal”… have you heard the term? According to neuroscientists, it is the repeated focus on a thought, a feeling, or a desire.
The latest buzz among neuroscientists is that this can cause lasting changes to structures in your brain and body!
Fascinating! This finding seems so interesting for two major reasons. Firstly, the new and exciting news is that dwelling on a thought, emotion, or desire–mentally rehearsing them–we change the structure of our brains and influence our bodies.
Secondly, is it not remarkable that God described the power of this concept all those years ago and that neuroscience is just now catching up with God’s Word?
This scripture for example:
“My son, attend to my words; incline thine ear unto my sayings. Let them not depart from thine eyes; keep them in the midst of thine heart. For they are life unto those that find them, and health to all their flesh (the result of mental rehearsal).” Proverbs 4:20-22 (KJV)
According to this scripture, faithful rehearsal of God’s Word creates changes to the brain, nervous system, and body that lead to abundant life and better health. Or to say it another way, your choice to focus on God’s Word is just what neuroscientists suggest.
What about this scripture?
“And the Lord said, Behold… nothing will be restrained from them, which they have imagined to do.” Genesis 11:6 (KJV)
Does this scripture suggest that unrestrained imagining–rehearsing something over and over–transforms it into reality?
It would seem so. God, fully aware of the power of mental rehearsal exhorts us to “cast down imaginations, and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, and to bring into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ. (2 Corinthians 10:5)
God also suggests what to rehearse: “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 (mentally rehearse) these things.” Philippians 4:8 (KJV)
Finally, discussing mental rehearsal, presenting the following scripture pushes the envelope but certainly provides food for thought.
“But I say to you that whoever looks at a woman to lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart.” Matthew 5:28 (NKJV)
Do you agree that a man who has struggled with lust and overcome it would avoid lust-evoking situations? Instead, refusing to mentally rehearse adulterous thoughts, he would have wholesome strategies to deal successfully with temptation and create a better life for himself and his family.
Understanding the power of this is no little thing. It makes us potential co-creators with God and holds each of us responsible for what we think, feel, and want.
In sum, awareness of the power of mental rehearsal gives us choice. Through mental rehearsal, with God’s help, we can change the structure of our brains and nervous systems and begin to line up with his Word and his promises, spirit, soul, and body.
It is even possible that the healthy thinking and mental rehearsal, first suggested in the Bible and now by neuroscientists, may become part of treatment for all kinds of physical and mental problems.
If then science is indeed confirming Holy Scripture, what are we, as believers, to do?
I believe our heavenly Father is calling us to use our power wisely as he speaks to us through the following scripture.
“Wherefore he saith, Awake thou that sleepest, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall give thee light. Ephesians 5:14 (KJV)