As a pastor I have often urged people to "get closer to Christ," but I'm not so sure I've helped them know when they have. How can we help people know when they've gotten closer to Christ? Do external changes confirm that growth? What internal ones occur, and how can we recognize them?

To ask the question in theological terms: If glorification is the goal of God's work in our lives (Rom. 8:30) and grace is the means (Eph. 2:8) and sanctification is the process (1 Thess. 4:3) then what results are observable? How does intimacy with Christ change us? What impact does conformity to Christ have on our behavior and … our brains?

I've had long conversations with other pastors and leaders over the years about spiritual transformation. Who else would you talk with about such a subject?

Well, how about a couple of neuroscientists?

That's exactly what I did. The results were surprising and enlightening.

The brain guys

Dr. Andrew Newberg of ...

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