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Watch 2022-2023 online sermons » Craig Groeschel » Craig Groeschel - You Don't Win By Trying

Craig Groeschel - You Don't Win By Trying

Craig Groeschel - You Don't Win By Trying
Craig Groeschel - You Don't Win By Trying
TOPICS: The Power to Change

Let me ask you a question. How many of you love to win? Raise your hands up. Raise your hands up. Man, I'm glad most of you have your hands up. Some of you're way too spiritual to win. You're like, "There's not a Christian to win. You first, you first, you first," or whatever. And I'll let you go with that. But 1 Corinthians 9 tells us this. Paul asked a question, "Don't you realize that in a race everyone runs, but only one person gets the prize"? So let's say it loud. And you can type this in the chat if you want to. We are to run to win. Run to win. Run to win. Paul didn't say run to finish. He didn't say just run for fun. He didn't say run to try to get the participation trophy. He said run to win.

And to quote the famous theologian, Ricky Bobby, "If you ain't first, you are last". It's in the Bible, run to win. If scripture tells us to run to win, why does it feel like so often we're not winning? Why does it feel like even like spiritually, God surely cares about our spiritual life? Why does it feel so often like we're not winning spiritually? We try to get close to God. We take two steps forward, and it seems like we take three steps back. Why does it feel like we're not winning financially? No matter how hard a try, we just can't get ahead. What does it feel like for so many people that we're losing relationally? All we want is some intimate, and loving, and trusting relationships. And yet so often, our marriages or our relationship with our children struggle.

Why is it that we don't feel like we're overcoming in our minds? We're trying to think Christ-like thoughts, and yet we battle with anxiety, or we're worried all the time. If we're supposed to win, we're to run to win our race, why aren't we winning? And the answer is for so many of you is because you've been trying too long. You've been trying for too long. It's very common, especially among Christians to live what I call a theology of trying. You'll even hear it in the words. It's like, "I'm trying to get close to God, and I'm trying to read my Bible, and I'm trying to be consistent and praying. I'm trying to be patient with my kids, but I just can't do it. I'm trying to stop procrastinating. I'm trying to eat better every single day, but the refrigerator pulls me at night. I'm trying not to make excuses. I'm trying to go to bed at a decent time, but the spirit of Netflix pulls me in. Trying to start exercising, trying to get better with my money".

The problem for so many people is you've been trying for too long. And what I wanna do today is I wanna bring a very, very powerful change in perspective straight from God's word. And I wanna try to help you change how you think about change. We're talking about the power to change. And we're gonna change how we think about change with the perspective that we see over and over again in God's word. Now, before we look at this very important perspective change, let's review where we've been the last few weeks because we're building precept upon precept. Week number one, we talked about real and lasting change. What is it not? Real and lasting change isn't behavior modification, it's spiritual transformation.

If you just change the outward behavior, but you don't let God change the heart, the behavior comes back. Real change is not behavior modification, but real change is spiritual transformation. And so we talked about our identity. Why do you typically do what you do? And the number one reason you do what you do is this. Why do you do what you do? You do what you do because of what you think of you. It's your identity that drives your behavior. And so we've been building on principles.

The first week, we talked about our spiritual WHO. Who do you want to be, not just who do you want to be, but who is it that God wants you to become, it's your spiritual who. Then we attach to it our spiritual WHY. Why do you want to do it? Not just you don't wanna get in shape so you're gonna look good on the beach this summer, or get good with your money so that you're gonna have more money, but you wanna be better physically because your body's a temple of the Holy Spirit, and you wanna honor God with your body. Or you wanna be better with your money, not just to be better with your money, but because you want to be a good steward of that which God entrusts to you so you can be more generous with those around you.

There's a spiritual WHY. We have our spiritual WHO, our spiritual WHY. Then we have our spiritual WHAT. And we talked about the habits that you want to create to become the person that God wants you to become. And we answer the question based on who you want to become. What one habit do you need to start? We have the spiritual who, the spiritual why, the spiritual what. Last week, we looked at the spiritual WHAT NOT. These are the habits that you're going to break based on who God wants you to become. What one habit do you need to break? Today, we're gonna add one more thought. Next, week we'll conclude.

We've got the spiritual WHO, the spiritual WHY, the spiritual WHAT, the spiritual WHAT NOT. Today, we're gonna talk about the spiritual HOW. How should we think about the power of God to change our lives? And it's gonna be a change in mindset. Why do so many people continue to struggle? Why do we want to change, but we just can't seem to change? Why is it year over year over year over year over year, we had the same desire to be different. And year over year over year, we end up the same. And the answer is, because you've been trying for too long. Why aren't you winning? You've been trying for too long. And I came to tell somebody today, here's the change in mindset, I encourage you by power of God's word to stop trying and start training, to stop trying over and over and over again and to start training to become who God called you to be.

And what I wanna do is show you in scripture, whenever Paul wrote to the Corinthians, they would've loved this competitive metaphor. When I said, "Who loves to win?", and somebody like "Yeah, for the glory of God, I'm gonna kick you, you know where". Okay, for those of you like that, they would've understood this competitive metaphor when Paul said run to win because Corinth was a city in Greece. And every four years, Greece hosted the Olympic games. And they would love the competition. And then every two years in Corinth, they had what was known as the Isthmian Games. It was like a smaller version of the Olympics. And their sports were very interesting. They had chariot races, and they had boxing, and they had wrestling, and they had poetry contests. Not kidding you. They had wrestling, and boxing, and chariot races, and poetry contests.

I don't know what that means. I have no idea, but I'm guessing they're dropping a beat in the street, busting it out. I don't know, whatever. But they were much better than I am, I promise you that. And so the Corinthians would've been leaning in whenever Paul asked the question, "Don't you realize that in a race everyone runs, but only one person gets the prize? So run to win". Now, watch what he doesn't say. He doesn't say, "All athletes are disciplined in their trying".

Notice that. What did he say? All athletes are disciplined in their what? In their... training. In their training. Stop trying and start training. They do it. These athletes, they do it to win a prize that'll fade away with literally like wreath. Like the wreath will literally wither up and die. That's what they're gonna do for the leafy wreath. It's gonna fade away. But we, as followers of Jesus, we do it for an eternal prize, because we do it for the glory of God, because we train for something that's gonna last for eternity. Paul said, "I run a purpose in every step. I'm not just shadow boxing. I discipline my body like an athlete, training it to do what it should".

Stop trying and start training. In the Olympic Games, I did some research about how the athletes would train, and it was incredibly intense. They would go into this 10-month pre-Olympic training regimen where this very, very strict diet with absolutely no wine. Somebody like, "I'm out". Okay. And no junk food. The rest of you're like, "I'm out". And they would really, really watch what they put in their body. Oddly enough, the runners, when they would race, they would train, and they would run nude. Kind of gross but not sexual in any way. They did it to show the purity of the body. And then they wanted to run with no restrictions on their bodies so they could actually run their race faster. And so I can only imagine if I'm a runner and everybody's naked, it's gonna give me extreme motivation to get out in front very, very quickly.

I'm just saying that's what I would be doing. And then the wrestlers, they would wrestle in extreme temperatures. And so it would get over 100 degrees in the summertime. They would go out at noon at the heat of the day and wrestle. So they would fight against the extreme heat. And then in winter, they would go out and wrestle in the snow to fight against the extreme cold. And according to two different articles that I read, some would wrestle bulls, some horses, even lions. I would go for the poetry edge and not try to be a wrestler 'cause that's a whole nother level. I got my clothes on, and I'm reading poetry. So when you look at scripture, and you want to become more godly, the Bible never tells you to try to be more godly. The Bible never tells you to try to honor God with your faith. The Bible never tells you to try to be more healthy or try to be more disciplined.

Instead, scripture says 1 Timothy 4:7, instead Paul says, "Train yourself to be godly". Don't try but train yourself to be godly. And then he says, "Physical training. Hey, that's good and that's helpful. But training for godliness is so much better. When you train for godliness, training for godliness, promises benefits not only in this life, but in the one to come". I like what Dallas Willard said, he said, "We're not trying to be different people, but we're training to be different people". Somebody say I'm not trying. I'm not trying. I'm in training, I'm in training. Say it again. Type it in the comment section. I'm not trying. I'm not trying. I'm in training. I'm in training.

Okay, so what's the difference? You're like, "Okay, I got you. It's kind of good. I can tweak that". As I said, feels good. What is the difference between trying and training? Let me break it down and make it really, really simple. Stop trying. Why? Trying is an attempt to change with minimal commitment, right? When you're trying, you're often like bringing a half-hearted attempt, and you've already got your excuse clause. I'm trying to pray, which means you might not actually pray. It gives us permission to fail because we've already just said I'm trying, there's a way out. I'm trying to read my Bible, but you're probably not. I'm trying to be nice, but they weren't. They drove by me, and I gave them the driving finger or whatever. I'm trying not to eat the whole thing, but I just did because trying is an attempt to change with minimal commitment.

Training, on the other hand, is a whole different mindset. What is training? Training is a wholehearted commitment to achieve a specific result. It's an all in commitment designed to bring about a specific result. And you know the difference. When you're trying, you just kind of show up and hope. I'm trying to do better this time, I'm trying. But when you're training, let me give you two thoughts. Number one, when you're training, number one, you get the gear, don't you? You get the gear. If you're gonna be a runner, what do you do? You buy the shoes, and you buy the more expensive socks that they're just there around your ankle so you'll get the runner's tan, and it gets your feet just better, and you get the right little sorts so they can see your great legs when you're running. And you get the watch, and you might get the runner's hat and the runner's glasses that are aerodynamic. And you get the water bottle, and you get the goo.

And it's really, really good you get the fanny pack. Because you are running so long, you need whatever's in the runner's fanny pack. If you're training to be organized, you're like a massively organized person, you get the gear, don't you? Some of you're nodding better I've ever seen you before. You've got the spiritual gift of organization. You've got God's favorite planner, and God's favorite markers, and God's favorite pins, and God's favorite stickers, and the binders, and the little inserts, and the washi tape. I don't even know what washi tape is, but an organized person told me that everyone who's really organized knows what washi tape is. What do you do? You get the gear.

And the second thing when you're training is you create a game plan, don't you? You're in training. Rocky doesn't show up to fight Apollo without training. He's got a game plan. He plays I the tiger, and he runs with a crowd of people following him up to the top of the capitol, and dances around the top of the capitol. And then he goes into some kind of snow place or some underground basement, and chases chickens because he's not trying, he's in training. You get ready. And so if you are in training to change to become the person that God wants you to become, you get a book about it, or you watch five YouTube videos about it, or you get the app that it's about it, or the membership that's with it. Are you going find a mentor and you learn from them, or you get a trainer? You devote your time to it.

Everybody else says, "How do you have time to it"? I have time for it because I have a priority to do it. I'm not trying, I'm in training. I'll give you an example just to show you. I'm not trying to be good on the streets. I'm in training to be good on the streets. For three years, I've been studying jiu-jitsu off and on between injuries. And so I have a jiu-jitsu bag. It's not a normal bag. This one has a little see through breathy thing so the stink can get out. It's a jiu-jitsu bag. And I've got the hat from the place I train. I got the t-shirt from the place I train. I've got the rash guard. This is not a regular rash guard. It's a spirit-filled rash guard. Iron sharpens iron. Just so you know, I'll lay hands on you in the name of Jesus. I've got the ghee, which looks like a bathrobe. I've got all the gear. I've got the place where I train.

Oh, any of you that roll, I got one of five Life Search rash guards everywhere. Why? Because listen to me. I'm not trying, baby. I'm in training for the glory of God. I got got a little bit of cauliflower ear going. And if you notice me limping a little bit, it's 'cause I got a little injury right in here. But I'm not trying, I'm in training. And not only do I have the gear, I got a lot of gear, but I got a plan, a plan. I got a couple of the best coaches around. I trained with this dude named Tyler who was a world champion brown belt, but he's not a brown belt anymore. He's a black belt. But he's not a world champion black belt yet because he's still in training and to become a world champion black belt. Then I got this dude who was the number one wrestler in the nation in high school, wrestled four years for OU, and is one of the baddest dudes in town. He looks nice.

In fact, I'll show him to you because he's here at church today. This is Andrew. Sitting next to my son Steven and sitting next to Jayden on the other side. And he looks nice, but don't let him fool you. He's one of the fiercest guys you'll ever meet. But I'm not trying, I'm in training. Anybody wanna see a little video of me rolling with one of the best? Let me show you. This is me rolling. I'm the guy in the blue shorts with the big feet. If I got the my Life Search gear on there, right? See my Life Search black thing on there? That's world champion. Oh, look at that. That's mean. Look at him take me down. Oh, oh, oh! Watch out, man, watch out. Oh, oh, oh, oh, oh, oh, oh, oh, oh, oh, oh, oh, oh, oh! Watch the tap. Oh, oh, oh, oh! And here it is. Oh, come on somebody. Oh that pastor's not trying. I'm in training.

And so I don't know about you, but when you know who God wants you to be, you know your identity. You're not trying to become that, you're in training to become it. You're not trying to get close to God, but you're in training to get close to God. So when you're in training, what do you do? You get to gear, and you get a plan. You're training to be close to God. You get the gear, you get your YouVersion Bible App. First thing you download, you get the gear. You get your prayer app. You get a book. May I recommend "The Power to Change", or any great Christian book? You get your your Life Search t-shirt 'cause you got the gear, 'cause you're dressing for it. You get a little journal so you can write down what God is showing you. And you take notes at church 'cause you're not not gonna let this truth Christ come and go.

Look at little notes open up right there, right there, right there, right there, right there. Oh, people on the front have the notebooks 'cause they're gonna write down what God is showing. And you get your worship playlist because you gotta fill your mind with the presence of God. And you gotta plan when you're training for godliness. Your plan is to be in church every week. You're in town, you're in the house of God with the people of God, hearing the word of God to strengthen you to do the will of God. And you're serving somewhere because we are the people of God, and we're served, and we all have gifts to serve in the body of Christ.

So we're not just going to church, but we are the church. It's like you're serving in life, kids, when you're driving a golf cart, or you're an usher, or you're on the host team, or you're leading in some form or fashion because you got a plan to do it. And you're praying daily. And you got your study Bible, you're studying the Bible. When you're trying, you give up if it gets too hard, when you feel like it. But when you're training, you don't just act according to your feelings, you act according to your commitment. When you're an athlete, when you're a competitor, when you're a disciple of Jesus, fighting for something that matters, when you've got a vision, or a goal, or a dream, trying apart from training is unthinkable. We're not just trying to be godly. We're training ourselves to serve God in every bit of life. It's a change in our mindset.

And so this is what Paul says, don't miss it, he says, "So I run with purpose in every step". Purpose. Direct me, God. Show me Your will. Show me who to love. Show me where to give. I've got purpose in every single step. "I'm not just shadowboxing. I discipline my body," watch this, "Like an athlete". It's the who, it's the identity. " an athlete, training it to do what it should". Is your body your master? Or is the power of God through you stronger than the wrong desires in you? I disciplined my body like an athlete, training it to do what it should do. I'm not trying, I'm in training. I got the gear. I got a plan. I'm training it.

When I'm trying, I'm hoping to be something that I'm not yet. I'm gonna try to do jiu-jitsu. I'm old 55 years old, kind of old. Andrew calls me the old man. I'm gonna try to show up and hang in there with those young bucks. I'm gonna try. No, listen, when you're in training, you're getting better at what you already are. I'm a warrior in training. We're not trying. We're in training. So how does this play out? You're not trying to save your marriage. Believe that you are a great marriage in training. What do you do? You get the gear, whatever it is. It's the matching T-shirts. Oh that's cheesy, but that's what cheesy couples do. And you get in counseling, and you start serving together. And you pray together when you'd rather cuss at each other. But you're a great marriage and training.

You're not trying to be a better friend. Sure, good friend in training. You're generous, and you're running with the right people, and you're building them up with the right words, and you're showing them back up. And even if they don't do the right thing, you don't care because you're telling yourself that a friend loves like a brother. And I'm gonna continue to love them. Not trying to become more popular, I'm trying to build my brand. You are a godly influence in training to lead other people. You are the light shining into the darkness. And Jesus is making your life all the brighter. So every week, there's a goal. And every week, there's a question. What's the question for this week? Let me set it up. You are trying to become something that you are not. You're in training to become who God already sees that you are.

So here's the question. Don't miss this. This is a game changer for some of you. Based on who you wanna become, how are you gonna train? Here it is based on who you want to become, how are you gonna train? You gonna get the gear. You're gonna get a plan 'cause you're not trying, you're in training. If you don't know the difference of belts in jiu-jitsu, if you don't know what jiu-jitsu is, if you watch MMA when they go to the ground, that's jiu-jitsu for the most part. In the belts, they start white, and then they go blue, and they go purple, and they go brown, and they go black. And I got the extremes here. I've got white and I've got black. My coach asked me, "What's the hardest belt to get"? And the obvious answer is black. And he said, "No, the hardest belt to get is white because most people never start".

You gotta start. Then he asked me, "What is a black belt"? And I said, "Somebody you run from," which is true, believe me, believe me. A brown belt, a purple belt, a good blue belt run, I promise you. What's a black belt? He said, "It's a white belt, it never stops Training". Never stops training. Here's one you know like I'm not trying. Look at my eyes. I'm in training. I'm not trying to reach more people. I'm in training for godliness. I'm training. I wake up every day with a vision, a purpose. I know who God has called me to become. I've got my spiritual why. I've got my spiritual what. Here's the habits. I'm starting to become more who've God says I am. I've got the things I'm breaking to get those out of my life so that I can rid myself of the things keeping me from being who God wants me to become. And I know what to do, how to train to become more of who God already says that I am. I'm trying. I'm in training.

Now, just to be fair to Andrew, I wanna show you this video again. And I want you to watch really carefully 'cause you can see something really, really cool. You're gonna see how good I am. Andrew, about breaks my leg right there, takes me down. Now, once you watch, he notices he's in trouble. Watch his face. What's he doing right there? He's smiling, right? Why is he smiling? Why is he smiling? Because he's happy for me. Because that never happens. That never happens. We're talking in three years, that's happened two times. So our record is 3,942 versus two. That's where we stand. And both two times, he was not going his hardest. Why? Because he was training me, mentoring me to become more of what I am.

So I'm not winning. Whenever I'm submitting world class champions that are letting me do that once every year and a half or so. I'm winning when I show up and train. And you're not winning when you hit some goal in the future. You're winning when you show up and train for righteousness today. So I want you to feel it. Just say it. Just say it where you are. You can type in the chat. I'm not trying, just say it. I'm not trying. Wipe that word from your vocabulary. I'm not trying. What are you? In training. I'm in training. I'm in training. I'm in training to become who God has created me to be. So based on who you wanna become, what are you gonna do to train? Get the gear, get the plan. Show up. And let God empower you to be more of who he already says you are 'cause you're not trying to be something else. You're in training to become the person he created you to be.

So God, we ask that You would do it today. I pray, God, today would be a turning point for so many people. God, we want to change. We've tried to change, but we've failed. God, change our mindset about how we change. God, give us a clear picture of who you want us to be our spiritual who. God, drive deep into our heart our spiritual, why you want us to become this. God, give us our spiritual what, the habits to start, our spiritual what not, the habit to break. God, give us the how. We're not trying. We're in training. I pray God that there would be people there that would just step across that line. And we're not trying. I'm done trying. I'm in training. May have some bad days, may miss a day of training, but when you're in training, you show back up. God, help us to become, help us to train for righteousness. Help us to train for godliness. Help us to train to become who you want us to become.

As you keep praying today, nobody looking around, what I want you to hear very clearly, some of you say like, "Yeah, I'm not anywhere close to righteousness. I'm not close to God". God didn't just try to show you His love, but He demonstrated it. Scripture says that He demonstrated His love for you and for all of us, that while we were still sinning, while we were living unrighteousness, Christ, the Son of God died for our sins. Who is Jesus? He is the perfect and sinless son of God. He's God in the flesh who lived a life perfect in every single way. He's called the lamb of God, who is without spot or blemish because He was holy through and through.

And because He was perfect, He was the perfect sacrifice for the forgiveness of our sins. He died in our place. And by the goodness of God, God raised him three days later from the dead so that anyone, this includes you, doesn't matter how bad your life is, doesn't matter how far from God you feel, anyone who calls on that name, the name that is above every name, it is the name of Jesus, the son of God, whoever calls on Him, your sins would be forgiven, and you would be made completely brand new.

Wherever you're watching from today, you may know you're not in a relationship with God. You may feel guilty and dirty about your sin. You may feel ashamed of something that you've done. When you call on His name, God makes you new. The old is gone and everything becomes new. Many of you, you're here today, you're watching is not an accident because by the power of God, He's bringing his love to you. You say, "I need His forgiveness. I need His grace. We're stepping away from our old life. We're stepping into His love. We're calling on the name of Jesus". When you do, He hears your prayers, He forgives your sins, and He makes you new today.

Those who say, "I need that. I want that. I need His forgiveness. By faith, I give my life to Jesus". That's your prayer. Lift your hands high now all over the place. Lift them up and say yes. Both of you right there. Praise God for you start right there. Others today saying, "Yes, Jesus, I need your forgiveness". Lift your hands high and say yes. Right back over here. Right over there as well. Praise God. If you come on somebody, let's tell God, "Thank you, online". You guys just type it in the comment section, I'm surrendering my life to Jesus. And right now, we're not trying to get to know God. We're, by faith, calling on Him. Would you all pray aloud? Pray:

Heavenly Father, I give you my life. Forgive all of my sins. Jesus, save me. Fill me with Your Holy Spirit so I can know You and serve You. And do Your will. Show me, God who You want me to be. I'll train to be it. I'll show your love in all that I do. Thank you for new life. You have all of mine. In Jesus' name, I pray.

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