Parallel Thinking (2 of 3)

“Can a man have two developed patterns of thought in his mind: one that allows lustful thoughts and a second that seeks after God?”
Humans are made up of three parts: the body, the mind, and the spirit.  Just as the mind and body are intertwined to the point neither can operate without the other, the mind and spirit have the same connection.  When I refer to the mind I am referring to our intellect which can be argued is located in our brain; and when I refer to the spirit, I am referring to the part of us that we feel inside when we say, “In my heart.”
In Parallel Thinking (1 of 3), we discussed the creation of mental grooves formed in the human brain when one repeatedly focuses on a specific thought and/or behavior.  Above, I have made the argument that the mind and spirit have a symbiotic relationship, with which I tend to believe most people would agree with their own personal experience as proof.
As we endeavor to explore if it is possible to have two grooves of thought, one for the attributes of God, and the other for the fulfillment of lust let’s consider the Apostle Paul’s comments on the matter.
 In Galatians 5: 17, Paul writes,   The sinful nature wants to do evil, which is just the opposite of what the Spirit wants. And the Spirit gives us desires that are the opposite of what the sinful nature desires. These two forces are constantly fighting each other…”
Paul assumes the readers of his letter believe that when a person is born s/he is controlled by what is termed as the “sinful nature.”  This is the part of us that focuses totally on self– the desires and pleasures of self, as if the universe revolves around self in a way that opposes God.  One should note that a study of the word “lust” will reveal at its core is selfishness.
On the flip side of this assumption is when one makes the choice to know God, the Spirit of God resides in the heart or inner man.   And the Spirit of God is the opposite of selfishness and sin.
The whole concept of parallel according to dictionary.com is “extending in the same direction, equidistant at all points, and never converging or diverging.” 
So as we get deeper into answering our question, we start to see that the two patterns of thought: one that allows lustful thoughts and a second that seeks after God, in fact cannot be parallel.  Parallel would suggest an absence of conflict and based on Galatians 5, the two lines of thinking not only would be in conflict, they would continuously conflict with each other.
But don’t lose heart; there is hope.

Parallel Thinking (1 of 3)

 “Can a man have two developed patterns of thought in his mind: one that allows lustful thoughts and a second that seeks after God?”
Thought patterns are developed in our brains as we repeatedly think the same thought.  These patterns develop grooves in our brains allowing electrical impulses to easily flow.  This is how a habit is developed.
When one learns to drive with a manual transmission, these grooves do not yet exist, so the car stops suddenly and stalls.  There is much to learn; one must steer the car, concentrate on what is in front, behind, and on each side of the car as well as determine how much gas to give the car, and how fast to ease off the clutch.  As a person practices these behaviors with the thoughts that go with them, grooves are developed in the brain for this task.  Eventually a person can accomplish all these tasks as well as listen to the radio, have conversations with passengers, drink a beverage, and eventually forget if he stopped at the light five miles back.
To change an established thought pattern groove, one must develop a damming mechanism AND develop a new groove that is deeper and wider than the old one.
Paul writes in Romans, “let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think” (12:2).
So the question is asked, “Can a man have two developed patterns of thought in his mind: one that allows lustful thoughts and another that seeks after God?”
Because it appears to be an impossible task to not allow one’s thoughts to wander into the arena of lust, this is a question that is asked by nearly everybody.  When left to our own thinking the answer may be YES.  It may be yes because it makes sense to us or because it is just too difficult to change a well established thought pattern.
The way we change our thought patterns is to recognize which thoughts are not healthy for us.  This is where reading God’s Word, the Bible, comes into the equation.  We need to learn how God thinks; what he says is good for us.  Only when we hold our thoughts up against the standard of God’s Word can we know which thoughts we repeatedly play in our minds are healthy and not healthy for us.