Autonomic Nervous System

Question from a blog reader:
You have written about the autonomic [nervous] system, how it is activated by temptation and how people should practice "threshold thinking", but I have not seen any information in your writings about something else. What should/can someone do once the autonomic system has been activated?

A recently written scholarly Christian book explained how pornography has hijacked the brain. I agreed with everything in the book, and so would most secular scholars, except for his biblical standards. There was no mention of God’s place in our life, or the significance of being a new creation in Christ. There was no mention of the Holy Spirit, or of evil spirits. I’m sure the author is a fine Christian man, but it was obvious to me that all his education was secular. He was explaining in great detail the natural man. In the appendix he did mention some recovery ministries for those whose brains have already been hijacked, but he offered no answer for the above question.

When one is first tempted, the “way of escape” is to take that first thought captive to the obedience of Christ, because if you let your mind dwell on the temptation you will activate the autonomic nervous system, which the author of the book alluded to above explains well. “But each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire. Then desire when it has conceived gives birth to sin, and sin when it is fully grown brings forth death” (James 1:15). If that was the end of my message then I would be no different than the other man. However, the rest of my message is how strongholds are formed in our minds, how we tear them down in Christ.

So you have sinned! Acknowledge it, and get back up. You can’t retrieve what your glands have secreted into your blood stream, which is what the autonomic nervous system does,  but you can repent, and be transformed by the renewing our your mind. Simply agreeing with God through confession is the first step. Repentance deals with sin’s entrapment, which is what we try to resolve by taking people through the Steps to Freedom. If you had sex outside of marriage, you can confess you, but if you want to be free you need to renounce having sex with that person, ask God to break the bond (one flesh) mentally, and emotionally with that person, submit your body to God as a living sacrifice, and tell the devil to leave. That would be repentance. Read Winning the Battle Within.

Dr. Neil

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