Our brains are wired to seek rewards. Seeking and obtaining these rewards create habits in our lives. When you wake up, if you have the habit of hitting the snooze button, your brain has been conditioned to seek the reward of nine more minutes of sleep. If you love working out, your brain loves the endorphins that are released and how your body will look. Scientists have observed the brain during these activities and see what they’ve nicknamed the pleasure center of the brain light up when it gets the reward. It gets addicted to that feeling which makes habits hard to break. If you want to change a habit, don’t just take away the reward, create a reward for the new habit.
Paul, who wrote most of the New Testament, endured some pretty harsh things. He was beaten several times within an inch of his life. He was sent to prison, rejected, stoned, attacked, shipwrecked and more for his faith. How did he keep going? He found a way to let his brain know that there was a reward in Heaven coming. In Philippians 3:10-11 he explained his reward by writing, “And this, so that I may know Him [experientially, becoming more thoroughly acquainted with Him, understanding the remarkable wonders of His Person more completely] and [in that same way experience] the power of His resurrection [which overflows and is active in believers], and [that I may share] the fellowship of His sufferings, by being continually conformed [inwardly into His likeness even] to His death [dying as He did]; so that I may attain to the resurrection [that will raise me] from the dead” (AMP). He always looked for the reward in becoming more like Christ and being with Him one day.
Jesus set out a reward for us too. In Matthew 6:33, Jesus said, “But first and most importantly seek (aim at, strive after) His kingdom and His righteousness [His way of doing and being right—the attitude and character of God], and all these things will be given to you also.” If you look at what you’ve been seeking after instead of God’s kingdom, you will see the reward your brain is after. Jesus is offering us a greater reward by seeking Him first. Like Paul, we need to retire our brains, by allowing our minds to be transformed (Romans 12:2). When we put His needs ahead of our own, He rewards us with becoming more like Him and by taking care of all these things that cause us to worry.