Have you ever wondered why the more distant you are from God the worse your choices become? Or why the impulsive decisions you make when hurt, angry, frustrated or mad, you always seem to regret? Well, science will show why this happens and how we can eliminate these bad choices through seeking God first (Mathew 6:33), and renewing our mind (Romans 12:2).
The area of our brain that is responsible for our conscience is called the ventral medial prefrontal cortex (VMPFC). The area of our brain for reasoning, planning and strategizing or generalized as thinking is called the dorso lateral prefrontal cortex (DLPFC). What is interesting is that when you are using your conscience (VMPFC), your thinking part of your brain (DLPFC) is less active, and vice versa (Koenigs & Grafman, 2009). In other words, when you are guilt-ridden, the conscious part of your brain is active and impairs the functioning of the part of your brain that is responsible for thinking. You are unable to think clearly.
When you are seeking God first and constantly renewing your mind in order to live life rooted in the Word of God, your conscience is clear and your reasoning is active. This my friends is thinking clearly and making good and healthy decisions. When you are making decisions that are not in harmony with the Word of God, your conscience area of your brain is active (guilt), thereby impairing the area of your brain responsibile for reason, planning and strategizing.
The Holy Spirit uses your conscience to guide your decisions (Proverbs 16:9, 20:24). When you are thinking about making decisions that are not in harmony with the Word of God, your conscience (VMPFC) lights up like a christmas tree signaling to you that you are about to due something destructive, or sin. And if you continue in this behavior, you will make decisions without the area of your brain that God made which enables you to make good and healthy decisions. This is why when we live in sin we continue to make bad decisions.
Proverbs 26:11 (KJV): As a dog returneth to its vomit, so a fool returneth to his folly.
Romans 1:28 (KJV): And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient;
In Romans 1:28, the word “reprobate” in Greek is: “adokimos“, and essentially means unfit or unapproved or not standing the test. When you do not retain God in your thoughts (renewing your mind and seeking Him first), the thinking part of your brain becomes less active. This is when your DLPFC or the region of your brain that reasons, plans and stategizes is not functioning properly, or is less active. This is Biblically a reprobate or unfit mind.
When you are obedient to the Spirit, it calms your conscience so the part of your brain responsible for reasoning can function properly and you can make healthy decisions. This is a sound mind (2 Timothy 1:7). Seek God first, renew your mind constantly (place everyday life in the context of God’s Word) and He will guide your life by the steps you take through the mind of Christ, which you have! (1 Corinthians 2:16)
Koenigs, M. & Grafman, J. (2009). The Functional Neuroanatomy of Depression: Distinct Roles for Ventro Medial and Dorso Lateral Prefrontal Cortex. Behavioral Brain Research, 201 (2), 239-243.