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Posted by Lisa Lewis Koster - - 7 comments

How much are we influenced by what we expose ourselves to?  I recently read "The Circle Maker" by Mark Batterson, and in it he describes a very eye-opening experiment conducted by the psychology department of NYU:

   “One of the experiments involved a scrambled-sentence test.  The first test was sprinkled with rude words like disturb, bother, and intrude.  The second test was sprinkled with polite words like respect, considerate, and yield.  In both cases, the subjects thought they were taking tests measuring intelligence.  None of the subjects picked up on the word trend consciously, but it primed them subconsciously.

     “After taking the five-minute test, students were asked to walk down the hall and talk to the person running the experiment about their next assignment.  An actor was strategically engaged in conversation with the experimenter when the students would arrive.  The goal was to see how long it would take students to interrupt...The group primed with rude words interrupted, on average, after five minutes, but 82% of those primed with polite words never interrupted at all." Mark Batterson, The Circle Maker, p. 153

Photo courtesy of Fyreseeker777 and Photobucket

Did you realize that everything we see and hear is priming us either positively or negatively?  If the students were influenced to that degree after spending 5 minutes with scrambled sentences, how much are we influenced by an hour-long television show, a two hour movie, listening to a CD or playing endless hours of video games?  No wonder there's so much promiscuity and violence in our culture today!  It DOES matter what we expose ourselves to.

In His Word, God tells us what should be surrounding ourselves with:

whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. ~ Philippians 4:8

This is why it's so important to immerse ourselves in God's Word, especially in the morning.  By doing so, we begin to recognize His voice and are inclined to act the way He would have us act.  

What are you exposing yourself to?  Is it something you'd watch, listen to or read if Jesus was with you - because if you are a Christian He IS with you.  If you're not sure, why not ask God to reveal to you what you're taking in that's not pleasing to Him?

Lord, forgive me for being unaware of how much I'm being influenced by what is going on around me.  Help me to be discerning as to what I expose myself to and enable me to reject what is not pleasing to You.  Draw me to Your Word, that I will more and more reflect You in all I do.


7 Responses so far.

  1. Just found your blog from Spiritual Sundays. Excellent post. I know we are influenced by what we hear and see but this experiment was really, really interesting. Thanks for sharing.

  2. joy says:

    Dropping by from spiritual monday. You are right. We became what we exposed ourselves with. If we want to be like Jesus, then we have to soak ourselves with his presence and his words. My entry is from" willyouhearfromme.blogspot.com

  3. My dad always said the brain was like a honeycomb which we filled with what we came in contact with. If you filled your mind with good, good would come out and vice versa.

  4. Faith says:

    Amen to this!!! My parents always taught us that what goes in, comes out.....I have tried to teach my children the importance of feeding on HIS WORD and getting it into our brains...into our hearts.....and being careful what we listen to, watch, read. Thank you for this post...excellent!

  5. Very interesting! I'll have to check out that book.

    Visiting from the Weekend Whatever linkup!

  6. Sylvia R says:

    Wow! How startling! This really shows me how important it is to choose carefully my reading, videos, conversations, *and* my own self-talk, in my head and in my own journals and other writing! Brain like a honeycomb... hmm. Yes, I think that's probably right.

  7. Wow this is so true - even when we don't realize it we are being given information we really don't want it to stick. Reading God's Word and singing the old hymns will wash those ideas we should not have away. Thanks for a very thought provoking post shared at "Tell Me a Story."

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