The brain is one of the most amazing and intricate parts of our bodies, yet it’s only 2% of our total weight! This incredible machine is only about three pounds, but consumes around 20% of our body’s entire total energy and oxygen intake. When considering sexual brokenness in our lives, it makes sense to examine our brain’s role in our brokenness. The male brain responds more rapidly to sexual signals than any other subject thrown at it. The ultimate battlefield in our lives will be fought between our ears, not between our legs.
Before exploring the physical make up of our mind, let’s take a quick look at what the God’s Word has to say about our minds:
For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.
2nd Corinthians 10:3-5
We don’t wage war like the world does. This battle is not going to be fought outside ourselves, but within. Notice that the focus isn’t an external enemy that’s tempting us, but an internal enemy of mental arguments against the knowledge of God. We are to take charge of our minds; taking every thought captive and obedient to Christ.
What causes fights and quarrels among you? Don’t they come from your desires that battle within you?
James is calling us to not be controlled by the self-orientated thinking that can become a part of our everyday thought patterns. Again, the battlefield is an internal, not external one. Finally, lets take a look at what Peter says:
Dear friends, I urge you, as foreigners and exiles, to abstain from sinful desires, which wage war against your soul.
1 Peter 2:11
The battlefield is in our mind! You’re never going to experience lasting victory over sexual brokenness without addressing the brain.
I love anatomy and could geek out on it for awhile, but instead, lets focus on some of the highlights. Our brain is a complex organ with over 100 BILLION neurons (nerve cells). A neuron is a nerve cell that is the basic building block of the nervous system. The neuron is able to communicate to thousands of other nearby neurons through chemical signals called neurotransmitters. The chemical nature of their communication hints as to why drugs like cocaine, meth, marijuana, and alcohol can powerfully affect our brains.
With all this raw brain power, the brain doesn’t come fully programed, but develops as we grow. In fact, the brain isn’t fully developed until our mid-twenties! The first five years of growth in our brains are critical. During that time, we’re building up the social part and regulation aspects of our brain. A child who has parents who are able to provide emotionally healthy environments is being provided with scaffolding for the formatting and construction of a child’s social brain and emotional stability. That child is able to grow into a young man or woman who can control and cope with the negative emotions of life in a healthy way. However, if there is abandonment, abuse, or lack of care in those early years, it can set up a child for some profound struggles later in life. The brain develops by creating effective connections between neurons that act like freeways for information. These neurological freeways are constructed as we grow. Our families teach us how to think either in a positive way or in reaction to the pain we experience in our homes. We carry with us years of conditioned responses.
I found in my life that sexual brokenness was frequently tied to medicating the pains and hurts I carried around from growing up. For example, when I was young there was often a fair amount of stress within our family about money. Income was not always secure or regular, so naturally, there was a lot of stress around topics concerning money. We never talked about the stress of uncertainty or God’s provision in our finances, so I internalized a lot of fear. I found that as I grew up and faced financial stresses of my own, I needed a way to deal with the uncomfortable feelings these situations created. I had found that by escaping into sexual fantasy I could forget about and medicate those feelings. My history was affecting my present struggle. My brain was building neurological connections between stress over money to pornography. I’m not saying that I am not responsible for my behavior and choices that I make. Also, I’m not blaming my parents for my current struggles. I’ve always known that I was loved. My parents raised me the best that they knew how considering the family in which they were raised. I’m saying that my journey towards healing began with recognizing and healing hurts from my past. I am committed to dealing with my own wounds from my childhood, to stop medicating my pain, and learning to walk in purity before God and my family.