Nature + Nurture = God’s PurposeDaily Thoughts
Philippians 2:13 “It is God who works in you to will and work according to his good purpose”
Over the last few weeks I have been reading a psychology book called ‘The Developing Mind’ by Daniel J. Siegel. I have become obsessed with personality and how we are formed in the womb and through childhood. This is but a taster of what I have learnt recently about how God forms us.
What I find strange about this verse, is that it says that God has/takes control of our will. I thought we had free will and could make our own choices independent of God? It is true that God controls our will, but not directly. He determined the direction of our will when he created us in the womb.
The word ‘works‘ is translated as ‘energōn‘ and literally means to energize. It resembles the nature of turning a light bulb on and changing it from one state to another. What I find amazing about this, is that I have been reading about how the brain works in this book. The brain practically runs on electricity, where millions of neurons in the brain form the blueprint of ‘who we are’ as people. As God forms us in the womb, these patterns of neurons start to develop and in-tern define who we are and the way we act; in short defining the direction of our will.
This is the classic Nature vs Nurture debate, however research is now showing it is definitely both that define who we are. In his book, Siegel talks about the science of epigenetics, where our nature and temperament are partly formed though how our genes are expressed in the womb. These attributes can be hereditary or can come from pre-natal (in the womb) experiences, such as stress and trauma.
The same word ‘energōn‘ is used for our ‘work‘ too, since from our pre-determined will we choose and encourage certain experiences in life. It is through these experiences that we grow and develop our personality through the process of nurture. In short we become our own creators, we ‘work‘ on ourselves, teaching ourselves new things, thereby creating neural pathways of energy in our brains.
The great thing is that God knows everything we will do and be, and he plans it according to his good purpose. The ‘good’ bit is for us, it is his pleasure that we would benefit and prosper from how he made us. God’s purpose for you is becoming the person he designed, and he will use that.
Gods purpose on your life is not what you do, it is who you are.