The Conquer Series – The Battle of the Brain (week 2)

Conquer

Why is it that so many Christian men who love the Lord, can’t stop their behavior? The entire battle for purity takes place within 8 inches of grey matter: your brain. Knowing where the battle takes place is crucial to every man’s victory.

We study how sexual bondage starts out as moral issue, but quickly turns into a brain problem. We look into the neurochemistry of addiction to see how men get hooked on pornography; why premarital sex is wrong; and the science of neuroplasticity: the brain’s ability to transform throughout life. The science in this lesson corroborates what Scripture says about the renewing of our mind. We also discuss the importance of accountability and discipleship, because men cannot win this battle alone.

The Battle of the Brain
• Where the battle takes place: In the New Testament, the word “warfare” appears five times in the exact context. It always refers to the battle of the mind. See: 2 Corinthians 10:3-5, James 4:1 and James 1:14.
• Sinning against your body: in I Cor. 6:18, Paul explains that sexual sins are not like other types of sins. When you sexually sin, you sin against your own body. With brain science, we now know that when you have a sexual release, your brain gets flooded with neurochemicals that are as strong as drugs. So when you are sexually acting out, you are restructuring your brain and setting yourself up for sexual bondage.

The battle is in your brain
James 1:14

This starts out as a moral issue, next it is a pre-programmed problem of the soul.
A Baited Hook
• When having sex (with another, self, whatever) the brain produces its own opiates that are about 4 times as strong as morphine. This is the highest chemical reward the brain gets for anything. That it why a lot of guys get in trouble.

Summary points
– One reason sexual sin is against your own body is because it changes the physical composition of the brain.
– The war is waged in the brain.
– Sexual bondage starts as a moral issue, which quickly develops into a brain problem.
– Understanding how God designed the brain is a key to breaking free form sexual bondage and staying pure.

Exploring the brain
• BRAIN FACT
o Your brain contains over 100 billion neurons (as many stars in the Milky Way Galaxy).
 Brain composes 2% of your body mass but consumes 20% of your energy.
o Each neuron has upwards of 10,000 connections.
 There are more neuron connections in your brain than there are stars in the universe.
• Synapses
o There are more than 50 different neurotransmitters at the synapses (as compared to a computer
that uses a 0-1 binary language).
o A thought is: Neurons that fire together wire together.
o When synapses are used a lot, they strengthen and grow. It actually makes that part of the brain
thicker.
 This causes the brain to continually remold itself. The brain will mold itself around
pornography use.

Summary points
– Neurons that fire together, wire together.
– Each time you repeat a thought or an action, you create neurological pathways in the brain, causing these patterns of thought to become subconscious and programmed in your mind.
– These neurological pathways program your thought life and actions, so that they become second nature.

Analytic brain vs. Emotional brain
• Brain structure
o Prefrontal cortex is where moral decisions are made. Not fully developed until age 25.
o Limbic or “reward” system is involved in experiencing pleasure and memory formation so as to
repeat them.
 Can overpower the prefrontal cortex.
 This is where sexual bondage takes place.
 Reprogramming the limbic system is where freedom is found.
Cartoon –
o Limbic vs. Prefrontal cortex = Limbic wins every time
o Noose =
 The root of bondage: Family dysfunction, Personal trauma, An addictive society
 The mindset of Shame: Worthless, Unlovable, Alone, Sexual high.
 The Addictive Cycle/Lifestyle:
• Fantasy
• Ritual
• Keeping the lid on.
• Further shame and guilt.
 The Cloak of Denial: Denial Delusion Blame
• This man is now a slave.
o Trying to treat a brain problem with a moral solution only tightens the noose of bondage
 pushes him deeper into the whole of shame the next time he falls.
 tells him that his righteousness is not based on Christ but on his works.
 First must understand what it is.

The Analytical Brain
Prefrontal cortex – Where we reason, organize, self-govern and make moral decisions.
Limbic system – It is reactive (This is where reprograming takes place).
The root of bondage.
The mid-set of shame (His identity).
The addictive cycle.
The cloak of denial.
The Emotional Brain
The limbic system

– Nucleus encumbrance / Amygdala (Feel good).
– Emotional attachment (craving / desire).
– Dopamine – the pleasure chemical / locking in a memory.
– The Limbic system gives value and give an emotional memory.

The Chemical Brain
– The inner reward cycle.
– The power of dopamine.
– Dopamine – a neurotransmitter that helps control the brain’s reward and pleasure centers. Dopamine also helps regulate emotional responses, enabling us to identify rewards and take action towards them.
– God built us to experience pleasure.
– When we abuse the dopamine surge we over stimulate our chemicals – what God has planned for us to bring pleasure does not bring pleasure anymore.

Synthetic attraction
The synthetic smell versus the real / authentic smell (the gypsy moth).
Losing your Objectivity
– Glue our minds to an image.
– Hormone – oxytocin – pours out from a woman’s skin that bonds a woman to a man – teaches us to forget. It tones down the pain receptor.
– Oxytocin allows us to separate the experience from the intensity of the shame
– Doug Weiss on having sex the way God designed it: 1. Light on 2. Eyes Open 3. Nurturing Talk. This will result in gluing to your wife.
– This is great in a marriage relationship and is extremely destructive outside of marriage