Some Familiar Learned Behaviors
– Not just physical actions, like smoking, or nose-picking,but language patterns, thought patterns, attitudes, emotions, self-limiting beliefs… Morelearned behaviors? How about: When behaving in an angry manner causes others to letme have my way (see temper tantrums); when I mope or complain or exaggerate myailments and others give me sympathy; when I act lazy and it gets me out of doing thingsothers want me to do; when I go out drinking and “get lucky” (lol). In any case theimmediate result seems reinforcing, while the destructive personal consequences of thatunwanted behavior may be way off in the future, out of sight, out of mind.
MINDFULNESS is the Key
– We can teach our brains the habit patterns we desire. What thebrain finds reinforcing will depend on the comparative values that YOU provide to it.
Negative Values or Positive Values
– You are ultimately the one who decides what value youassign to any particular behavior.
You get to CHOOSE
– Whether you intend to or not, YOU are choosing the values that your brain uses when determining what’s reinforcing. You’re making up your OWN mind aboutwhat matters most. You ARE in control of your own mind. If you honor that power and applyit with intention and with purpose, then you truly ARE in control of who you CHOOSE to be,and how you CHOOSE to behave.
NOW…follower of Christ…against THAT background of purely scientific understanding of howbehavioral patterns develop in our lives, how important is THIS Scripture:
“Today I have given you the choice between life and death, between blessings and curses.Now I call on heaven and earth to witness the choice you make. Oh, that you would chooselife, so that you and your descendants might live!”(Deuteronomy 30:19, NLT)
It begs the question from all of us:
“What are you thinking?”
Ever have one (or several hundred) of those moments in life when you ask yourself, “Whatwas I thinking?” Ever look at your kids when they did something particularly foolish for theumpteenth time and say, “Son, what were you thinking?”I think about that all the time in the context of that Scripture from Deuteronomy. I have thisvivid image of God looking at me after I’ve done something for the hundredth time that IDIDN’T MEAN, INTEND, or WANT to DO and Him saying, “Son, what were you thinking?” It’s inthis very light that the Apostle Paul writes, recorded for us in his letter in Romans:
Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, whichis good and pleasing and perfect. (Romans 12:2, NLT)