Programmers have developed algorithms that take advantage of the brain’s desires for pleasure, Responses to status updates from other users are often spaced out over a period of time to drive us to check our devices more. And “likes” are sometimes bunched up together so that our brains feel a greater sense of reward when they are revealed.
Beyond making me somewhat mad at Facebook and the like for playing with our minds like this, the story reminded me that there are many things that have a greater influence over our brains than we realize.
As Christians, this is something we need to be more keenly aware of because we are especially vulnerable to the “brain hacking” of the devil. The devil was using “brain hacking” in the Garden of Eden with Eve, convincing her that she would become like God if she ate that fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil and making her question what God had really said.
And the devil is still up to his tricks, “Did God really say that you had to love others, serve him, forgive people?”
Don’ t take the devil’s bait. Fill your brain with the clear and true words of Scripture:
A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. John 13:34
Whoever serves me must follow me; and where I am, my servant also will be. My Father will honor the one who serves me. John 12:26
Be kind and tender-hearted to one another, forgiving each other just as in Christ God forgave you. Ephesians 4:32
We can use the principles of brain hacking to our advantage and for good.
We can establish faithful habits that bring pleasure to our brains spiritually. For instance:
Consider how many times you can bring a smile to the face of someone with a kind word.
At regular intervals, think about who you are thankful for in your life.
Take 5 minutes to ponder as many great things God has done for you that you can think of.
By doing so, you will be breaking out of the bad cycles of brain hacking and moving more toward the model of brain activity laid out for us in Scripture:
Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is–his good, pleasing and perfect will. Romans 12:2