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Watch 2022-2023 online sermons » Craig Groeschel » Craig Groeschel - When Your Mind Won't Stop

Craig Groeschel - When Your Mind Won't Stop

Craig Groeschel - When Your Mind Won't Stop
Craig Groeschel - When Your Mind Won't Stop
TOPICS: Habits of a Healthy Heart, Habits, Rest

How many of you have a difficult time slowing your mind? Raise your hands up. You had a difficult time slowing your mind. Those of you online, you can type it in the comment section if you want, "I have a hard time slowing my mind". Some of you did not hear that question because your mind is somewhere else even right now, and I can relate to that. To be real honest with you, my mind seems to race almost all of the time. I can be in a conversation, I hate to say this out loud, but I can be in a conversation with someone with my eyes locked on their eyes, apparently listening to every word they're saying and not hearing a single word that they said. I do that with Amy, but somehow I have a supernatural ability when she says, "Were you listening"? Even if I wasn't, I can recall the last thing she said, and I repeat it back to her. It's a built-in system that God gave men for self-defense, but it never works. She sees right through it. I repeat it back and she says, "Don't do that. I know you weren't listening".

In the daytime, my mind is kind of all over the place. At night, I'll get in bed, and my mind will often race with all that I have to do. The old book, the Old Testament book of Ecclesiastes, Solomon actually calls this anxious striving. That might describe some of you anxious striving. In fact, I'm gonna show you where this is from. In Ecclesiastes 2, this is what scripture said, "What do people get for all their toil and anxious striving with which they labor under the sun? All their days, their work is grief and pain, even at night," watch this, "even at night, their minds do not rest".

We're in a message series I'm calling Habits of a Healthy Heart. We talked about in the first week, if you wanna change your life, change your habits. But if you wanna change your habits, you need to let God change your heart. So in the first week, we talked about the habit of self-examination. Last week, we talked about the habit of simplifying. Next week, we're gonna talk about the habit of godly sorrow. Today, I wanna talk to you about the spiritual habit of slowing your mind, getting to the place of solitude before God. The title of today's message is "When Your Mind Won't Stop".

Father, we ask that by the power of Your spirit, You will slow our minds that we could be still before You and be transformed by You. We pray this in the name of our Savior, Jesus. And everybody said, Amen. Amen. Amen.

Let's talk about Jesus. He's a good one to talk about at church, right? Let's talk about Jesus. We think about Jesus. Do you think that He would've had much on His mind? A lot, right? I mean, first of all, the whole assignment. If you can't sin, that would take some effort. I figure I could probably last about 10, maybe 12 minutes before I'm like envious of something. I mean, just don't sin. That's a lot on your mind. And then when you think about what He had to do. In only three years, he had to recruit His 12 disciples, a bunch of kind of ragtag, no nothing people, teach them the values of the kingdom of God. This is what the kingdom of God is like. Prepare them to carry the message all over the world while healing the sick, raising the dead, cleansing the temple, soaring the love of the Father to everyone that He sees, enduring the persecution of the Pharisees, fulfilling every letter of the law, giving His life, the lamb of God, as a sacrifice for the sins of the world.

And, oh yeah, three days later, coming back to defeat death, hell, and the grave when the stone was rolled away and Christ was risen from the dead. Do you think Jesus had anything on His mind? There is no bigger assignment in the history of the world. To do the will of God as the Son of God, how did Jesus do it? Well, a big part of the spiritual ingredient, of His spiritual success was that Jesus consistently and intentionally created the space to hear from heaven and to spend time with His heavenly Father. He consistently and intentionally disconnected from the crowd, drown out all of the noise of society, silenced and pulled away from all the distractions of this world. Why? Because there is no such thing as intimacy without intentionality. You'll never see intimacy in any relationship without intentionality. You won't see it in your marriage.

If you just let the whole world just kind of happen to your schedule, you'll never have a really close marriage without intentionally working on building a relationship with trust and time together, intimacy. The same is true in parenting or friendships. If you don't spend time with your children and get on their level and listen, without intentionality, you will never ever have intimacy. And in the world, we get so busy and our minds go so fast. And I need to remind somebody that you can never busy your way to God. You'll never bus your way to him. And as a pastor now for over three decades, I can promise you, I've never met anyone who is really close to God. Anyone who displays the fruits of the spirit, love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness, and self-control, anyone who's led by the spirit consistently and not by the flesh.

I've never met anyone close to God and intimate with God who didn't spend time with God. Over and over and over again in the gospels, we see Jesus withdraw from the crowd, pull away from the demands, distance himself from all of the expectations of people, and go to a secluded place to slow down in solitude and silence, to pause, to talk to His Father, to listen to His Father, and to hear His Father's voice. We see it over and over again. Mark 1, we see this. "Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up and He left the house". The disciples were in the house and He didn't stay in the house. He left where He was to go off to a quiet place. He went to a solitary place where He prayed. Scripture says, "Simon and his companions went to look for him".

Have you noticed any time you go try to get alone with God, somebody's gonna try to interrupt you. That's just the way it goes. Simon went to look for him. And when they found him, they explained, "Everyone is looking for you". Those of you who are parents, you can probably relate. Amy used to say, "The only place I could go to be alone was a bathroom". And 30 seconds later, there would be fingers under the bathroom dorm, right? And what do you do in your life today? You're a student, you're a teenager, you're a parent, you're a spouse, you're a leader, what do you do? You give out and you give out and you give out and you give out. You pour out and you pour out and you pour out. How does your day look? You get out of bed and you start to get ready in the morning and you get your kids ready to school, and your kids fight, and you try to get them to stop fighting.

And then you fight traffic and you try to pay attention in your class or in your meeting, and then you deal with an annoying coworker. And then you try to do your best at your job. And then you go try to pick up your kids after school, even though it's not really time to leave the work. And then you take 'em to soccer or dance and you got bills to pay, yard to mow, you got to serve. Oh, you gotta look perfect and you better post about it because you gotta show everybody your life is wonderful. And then do you wonder why your cup is empty? Now, for those of you who are here last week, you're wondering if I'm gonna throw this water all over you. And I need to tell you that if you're on the first three rows, this is the Sea World Splash Zone. That's what we call it. And I can just, just calm your fears. I'm not going to throw this, but what I am gonna tell you is many of you, your cup is empty. And what's interesting is scripture said that Jesus came to give us the abundant life and life to the full. And your schedule's full, but your spiritual cup is empty.

And many of you're saying right now, if you haven't said it out loud, you feel it on the inside. I don't have any more to give. You're exhausted. You're spiritually depleted. Why do you not have any more to give? Because you can't give what you don't have. And that's why Jesus, the Son of God, with the most important assignment in the history of the world, He modeled consistently and intentionally pausing, creating the space, and Jesus withdrew. I'll show you just five verses. You can look up sometime. You can take a photo of all the verses if you want to. Jesus withdrew before starting His ministry. Before He went to do the will of God, he took 40 days and 40 days to go seek God's heart. He would withdraw before making important decisions.

Before I'm gonna decide what to do next, I'm gonna go and listen to the voice of the Father so His word would direct my steps. Jesus would withdraw after a long hard day of work. Before something and then after something, I'm gonna go and refill up again. He would withdraw after ministering to lots of people. And Jesus would withdraw after losing a close friend to go and grieve before the Father and be renewed before the Father. Jesus consistently and intentionally modeled for us, pausing, creating a space, withdrawing to get in the presence of God. Why do we need to withdraw? Because you can't continue to pour out if you don't fill up. And this is where many of you are today, pouring and pouring and pouring and pouring without the word of the Lord filling you, the presence of the God, His spirit sustaining you. The strength of His spirit carrying you when you're weak and at the end of your own strength.

And the reason I know so much about this is because this is where I was in 2018 and 2019. And I've talked to you rather openly about what happened to me during that time. I look back and I use the words of someone else. Someone else said this, and this was true of me. The way I was doing the work of God was destroying the work of God and me. The way I was doing it, I was going too hard, too much pouring out, pouring out, pouring out, pouring out. So I started working with a counselor and he diagnosed me as occupationally burned out and started to work with me, and said, "What are you afraid of"? And I gave him all kinda like cop out answers. And I said ultimately, "I'm afraid of not getting it all done". And then it came down to the next level. I said, "I'm afraid this job's gonna kill me". Like it's just one day it's gonna kill me.

And the challenge I had is similar to the challenge that many of you have, and that is like me, many of you, you believe that your value is based on what you do. Your value is based on what you produce. Your value is based on what you accomplish. Your value is based on how you perform. Your value is based on how much you give. And I was scared to death to slow down, to rest, to recover. We got down to asking all sorts of questions. I wanted to blame somebody else. I wanted it deeper, like victim mindset and here's why I'm this way. And the bottom line was I was terrified to be still, which is a really big problem when that is the prerequisite to knowing God. 'Cause Psalm 46 says this, "Be still, and know that I'm God". Not hope, not pray, not want, not wish, but know the goodness of God. Be still. You can't busy your way to God. Scripture doesn't say, "Be busy and no God intimately". Doesn't even say, "Be responsible or be disciplined and know God". Or, "Be successful and know God". But, "Be still, and know the He is God".

In the Hebrew language, be still, this actually translates to cease striving. Or remember, anxious striving we talked about earlier? It literally means to stop your anxious striving. I want you to think about Jesus again. Why was He valuable? When was He valuable to God? When Jesus was baptized, do you remember how many miracles He had done before He was baptized? The answer is zero. Jesus hadn't done any works before His baptism. He hadn't done any formal ministry. And in Luke 3:22, what happens? Before Jesus earned His spiritual keep, a voice from heaven, His Father said, "You are my Son, whom I love, with you, I'm well pleased". Jesus hadn't done a single miracle. He hadn't healed tonsillitis, much less raised the dead. And His Father says, "I'm proud of you. I love you".

Jesus hadn't taught anyone. He hadn't preached a sermon. He hadn't led a life group. And God loved Him for who He was, not what He did, for who He was. In the very same way that our Father loves you, not for what you produced, not for what you get done, not for how well you perform, but for who you are. And the Father said, "I love you. I'm proud of you". And so what did Jesus do next? Let me tell you what He doesn't do. If you look at the text very carefully, He didn't go out and pour out. The Father said, "I love you. I'm well pleased". The very next thing in the text that Jesus did was He went and He filled up first. He didn't rush off to do a miracle. He didn't go give His first sermon. He slowed down and He spent time with His Father. Not just a 10 minute quick devotion in the morning to make sure you're a good Christian, 'cause you're not a Christian, unless you do your Bible time, but He spent 40 days and 40 nights. Scripture says this right after His baptism.

Luke 4 says this, "Full of the Holy Spirit, He left the Jordan and was led by the Spirit into the wilderness where He fasted 40 days and 40 nights, spending time alone with the Father". Why? Because there is no such thing as intimacy without intentionality. He intentionally sought the presence of His Father. So how do we do that? Because I know you're as busy as I am. Well, I wanna talk to you about the habit of slowing, or the habit of solitude. What does this look like? Well, in a devotional version of the Bible, Matthew 6:6 tells us to do this. Jesus says this, the words of Jesus. He says, "Here's what I want you to do". If you wanna be intimate with God, you're gonna have to be intentional about your time with God. Jesus says, "Find a quiet secluded place so you won't be tempted to role-play before God".

I like that. So you're not gonna be tempted to go, "Hey, God, look, I'm here. I'm doing my Bible study. Oh wait, let me get the perfect Instagram picture, #blessed. This is me and my devo and my coffee. Oh, tell me how holy I am". Bless you. You're so holy. Okay, find a secluded place and just be there, watch this, as simply and honestly as you can imagine. Find a quiet secluded place. Get away from all the noise. And just be honest with God in His presence. And here's what's gonna happen. The focus will shift from you to God, and you'll begin to sense His grace. One of the best things that happened to me in my counseling was the focus started shifting from me, I can't do it, I can't handle it, this is gonna kill me, to God, He is good, His presence is with me, He'll never leave me, He'll never forsake me.

When you get alone with Him, the focus shifts from you to God. How do you experience that? It is not gonna happen by accident. You're not just gonna suddenly just be sitting there and go, "Oh, well, I just got an hour free time and oh, I think I'll just be in the presence of God". What you have to do is intentionally press pause, stop everything because it's not stopping for you unless you choose to stop for it. Get alone. I'm gonna tell you right now, no texts. This isn't in the Bible. This actually is in 1 Craig 9:9. I just made that up. But no text. Put your phone away. No social media. No little voices saying, "Wipe me, wipe me, wipe me". Get alone, okay? And let me tell you, this is not isolation, this is solitude. There is a difference. Isolation is when you run from others and you hide from others and you feel sorry for yourself. You might even self-medicate. This is solitude.

Solitude is consistent, intentional, deliberately pausing and stopping, where your sole purpose is hearing from heaven, time with your Father. Letting His living word nourish your soul, letting the quiet voice of His Holy Spirit speak to you and convict you and comfort you and challenge you and love you and direct your steps. And it is only a result of intentionality, because there's no such thing as intimacy without intentionality. And I just wanna promise you, this will not happen without you planning for it. And so what do you do? Kind of like what the text says. I would suggest that you find a place in a time. A place could be like kneeling by your bed, place could be on your back porch, place could be at your kitchen table with your favorite He Brews Coffee, He-Brews. It's a New Testament book in the Bible. It could be first thing in the morning before the day gets started. It could be at the end of the day. It could be on a longer lunch break.

I would suggest you find a time, you find a place. I would suggest you work for consistency. It doesn't mean you can do it every day, but you're gonna work your very, very best. This is my time. This is my place. It's a mini pause. It's a break. It's a spiritual retreat. That may only be a few minutes a day, but it's every day. What Amy used to do, we had six kids, as you know, which is a lot. And she home-educated them, which is amazing. And so what she would do is she would actually take four one-day retreats a year. Kids, you're on your own. Good luck. Here's a breakfast. Or send 'em all to someone's house. And she would go away and find someplace alone and take an entire day four times a year because you can't pour out if you don't fill up. And she would intentionally create that time. And what are you gonna do? You do a lot of things.

I'm gonna give you some suggestions, but at the heart of it, you're gonna be still. And at some point, yes, you're gonna read God's Word and yes, you're gonna talk to Him, but at some point, you want to be just silent before him in solitude. And when you're quiet, just let your soul talk honestly to God. No role-play. Just let what's in your soul talk to God. And you'd be surprised at what your soul wants to say to God. Don't force it. Just let your soul talk to him. Cry out to him. Maybe even shout at him. And it may take time. But if you spend time in His presence, your soul will say what it has been desperate to say. Your soul may say, "I am afraid. I'm afraid I'm not gonna be able to pay the bills, afraid my marriage isn't gonna last. I'm afraid for my teenager. I can't believe. And I don't even know what to do".

Your soul may say, "I'm hurting. I feel alone". Your soul may say, "God, I'm crying out to you, but I don't even know where you are". Let your soul cry out to him. Your soul may say, "I'm sorry God, I've neglected you. I've neglected my first love". You may say, "God, I'm ashamed of what I've done. I'm ashamed that I haven't prioritized you. I'm ashamed that I've got caught up in sin. I'm ashamed that I've fallen back in love with this world and stop loving your kingdom". Your soul might say, "I'm mad at you, God. I asked you to do it and you didn't". And you're mad. God can handle your anger. I promise you, rather you run to Him mad than run away from Him. Cry out to Him. Cry out to Him.

Some of you might say, "I need you, God. I need you now more than I ever have. I need more of you God. I need more of you. I need more of you. I need more of you". And that's what I started to do. I started working with my counselor and what I recognized is this. The reason I was afraid to be still is because I was afraid to face myself. I wouldn't stop to listen to God because I was afraid of what He might say to me. Because the way I was doing the work of God was destroying the work of God and me. The focus was on me. And it started to shift back to God. In silence before God, when you let your soul speak out to him, you will surrender your illusion of control. And like me, you'll come face to face with who you really are. Your dysfunctions and your self-indulgent behavior and your false comforts and your secret sins and your pathetic excuses, just like mine. I'm too important to slow down because I'm doing the work of God, even though all the focus is on me.

And so I cried out to God and said, "I can't do it anymore. I can't do it anymore. It's too much. I can't do it anymore. I can't do it anymore. I can't do it anymore". And He said, "Finally, finally, the focus is getting off of you and coming back to me". It's gotta be a habit. A habit of slowing, a habit of solitude. It's gotta be a habit. If you do not intentionally seek it, this world will squeeze it out and you will never get it. And you will never be close to God without intentional time with God. It's the habit of slowing. The habit of solitude. Whichever one you want, they both begin with S. I couldn't decide, so you decide. Because you cannot continue. I'm here for you. I got it down. I'm gonna do it all. I'm gonna do it all. I can get it all done. I can get it all... You cannot continue to pour out, unless in the presence of God, you fill up. And what many of you're gonna say is, "I don't have time. I don't have time. I don't have time".

Let me just promise you right now, you always have time for what you choose to have time for, period. No excuses. You have time for what you choose to have time for. No excuses. You can make excuses or you can know God intimately, but you can't do both. Jesus consistently, intentionally disconnected from the crowd. He drowned out all of the distraction, silenced all the never-ending noise and looked up to heaven. Didn't just talk, but listened. Because there is no such thing as intimacy without intentionality. You cannot busy your way to God. You can't continue to pour out if you don't fill up. And so be still, the habit. Not every now and then, the habit of slowing your mind. Going to God, be still. He says, "And know that I am God". And when the focus shifts off of you back onto Him, you'll realize, He is always enough.

So Father, today, we slow our minds, taking a moment to be still in your presence.

Church, without looking around, I'm gonna just invite you to do something with me. You don't have to. You can do something different. But I'm gonna invite you. If you don't already have the habit to start the habit. Start at five or 10 minutes a day. Just start there. It'll grow because once you start spending time with 'em, you're gonna want more. There is a Bible plan, and our campus pastors will tell you about it more at the end, but it's a Bible plan called How to Slow Down and Simplify Your Life. It's seven days. So between now and seven days, we'll be together again. God willing, we'll be together again in church in seven days from now.

I'm gonna invite you just to do that study with me if you'd like. It'll take you about five minutes. I'm gonna recommend you get crazy and add another five minutes on there. We just listen to God. Maybe just say, "God, what do you wanna say to me"? You don't have to do that. That's a plan. But what I will suggest is that you continue or start the habit of slowing before God, 5, 10 minutes a day and watch it grow. If you'd like to do that plan or do whatever helps you grow intimate with God, but you're gonna commit in the next seven days, I am slowing before the Father. Would you lift up your hands right now? Just lift them up. All of our churches, tons of you, praise God for you. Online, you can just say, "I'm committing to slow down and spend time with my Father. I'm committing to slow down".

Father, I thank you in advance of what we're gonna experience. Your grace, your goodness, your kindness, your gentleness, your loving conviction. You're gonna direct our steps. We're gonna hear from heaven. God, I thank you for what you're gonna say to us, what you're gonna do in us, and what you're gonna do through us as we slow down to enjoy your goodness, to be still and know who you are. You're God, Supreme King, Ruler, Lord, Savior, you're the rock our redemption, the soon returning king of all kings.

As you keep praying today, some of you be like going, "I might do that, but I don't even know like where I'd start. I don't know where I stand with God". And if that's you today, I just wanna say, "Hey, congratulations on being here because God wants to do something very, very special in your life". We talked about Jesus who never sinned and gave His life on a cross. Why did He do that? If we sat down and had an honest conversation, you would, and we talked about God, you'd say like, "Hey, I know I've done some stuff wrong. I might feel guilty for it, but I'm trying to be a good person. I wanna be good enough for God or whatever". And I would just point you to God's Word that says, "Every single one of us have sinned. We all have. You have, I have. And none of us are good enough for God". And that's why the gospel means good news.

God, in His love and grace, sent Jesus, His Son, who was without sin. Therefore, He could give His life on a cross for the forgiveness of our sins. Jesus died in our place, and God raised him from the dead so that our sins would not be held against us. Today, if you don't know where you stand with God, if you feel guilty for your sins, all we're gonna do is we're gonna step away from our sins. We're gonna step toward Jesus. We're gonna trust him that He's enough. Scripture says that were saved, we're made right with God, not by our good works, but our faith in Jesus. And today, there are those of you that God brought here to say yes to Him. The weight of your sin is holding you back. The guilt of some things is holding you down. When you confess your sins, God is faithful and just to forgive your sins and to cleanse you from all unrighteousness.

Those of you online or at any of our churches who say, "I need His grace. I need His forgiveness. I don't know him personally, but I want to". You will never know him without intentionality. Today is your first step. You step away from your sin. You step toward Him. You call on His name. And when you do, He hears your prayers. He forgives your sins, and you'll be brand new. At all our churches today, those who say, "Yes, I need Him. Yes, I need to trust him. Yes, I want His forgiveness today. I surrender my life to him".

That's your prayer. Lift your hands high right now. All over the place, right there. Praise God for you. Oh my gosh, three four of you. All of you here together. Praise God for that. Others today say, "Yes, Jesus". Right over here, right back up here. Oh, come on church, let's worship God. Right back over here in this section saying, "Yes, Jesus". Online, just type in the comment section, "I'm surrendering my life to Him". Church, we're not praying for revival. Come on, somebody. We're living right in the middle of one. Why don't you just stand to your feet today, stand to your feet all over the room, and we're gonna pray together. Pray aloud. Pray:

Heavenly Father, I trust you to save me. To forgive me. To make me new. Jesus, transform me. Fill me with Your spirit so I could know You and serve you and follow You. All the days of my life, I commit to put time aside. To put time aside. To know you. To hear from you. And to do your will. Thank you for new life. You have all of mine. In Jesus' name, I pray.

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