‘You can’t teach an old dog new tricks.’ This saying is meant to convey the limits of our ability to learn. Turns out, it’s a myth. Thanks to a branch of medical science, we now know that our amazing brains retain lifelong ‘neuro plasticity,’ simply meaning a suppleness to adapt, to grow, to build. So, new habits can be formed and old habits can be broken. When we begin a new practice, our brains recognize the introduction of a new activity and begin creating what scientists call ‘neural pathways,’ or helpful nerve connections from one part of the brain to another related part. This results in newfound ease with the habit we are trying to form (my apologies to any neuroscientist reading this layman’s version of such a highly-skilled craft.)

Where am I going with this? Thanks so much for asking. We occasionally hear people saying that we use only a very small percentage of our brain’s power. Maybe so. But here’s an exciting thought to pass by you. Jesus told his disciples whatever they asked the Father in Jesus’ name, that thing would be granted. He also told them they’d do greater things than he had done! Even more, he told them they’d receive power from on high (I’m getting there).

When that power swept that upper room at Pentecost, it brought with it unprecedented outcomes. Here’s what I imagine happened in the disciples’ brains: for the length of time the phenomena lasted, including getting them into the public square, the speaking of all the foreign tongues, and the giving of Peter’s sermon, I think they were fully overcome and empowered by the Holy Spirit. He had bypassed all their reluctances, their fears, their insecurities, their confusion, their wide-spread lack of knowledge. And during that whole time, the disciples’ brains were firing, actively forming new neural pathways, pathways that would forever override their previous inhibitions and assumed inabilities. They were changed! Soon, Peter and John would boldly impart healing to a crippled man – at the temple, in full view of everyone! When those two were arrested, they again stood and spoke with boldness to the entire, assembled Jewish high court (can you imagine that happening pre-Pentecost?).

Now, to us. I think every time we sense a directive from the Holy Spirit, and obey, that same overriding takes place in our brains. Our submission is an invitation for the Holy Spirit to “supernaturally unlock our understanding . . . ” (adapted from Luke 24:45 TPT). What is so sweet, here, is that we don’t have to work something up, or toil for years to hopefully achieve a certain status. We just submit and obey and the ‘work’ is done for us, in us. Maybe that’s what Jesus was referring to in saying his yoke was easy and his burden was light. Sounds like Good News to me!  PD

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