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Watch 2022 online sermons » Craig Groeschel » Craig Groeschel - Sneak Peek, Winning the War in Your Mind

Craig Groeschel - Sneak Peek, Winning the War in Your Mind

Craig Groeschel - Sneak Peek, Winning the War in Your Mind
Craig Groeschel - Sneak Peek, Winning the War in Your Mind
TOPICS: Leadership Podcast, Winning the War in Your Mind

Hey, welcome to another episode of the Craig Groeschel Leadership Podcast where we are incredibly passionate about building your leadership 20 minutes at a time, unless it's a bonus episode, sometimes those go a little longer. And guess what, this is a bonus episode today. We've got additional content for you to invest not only in your leadership, but in your life as well. If you're new with us, we release a new podcast on the first Thursday of each month. In fact, on the first Thursday of next month, I've got new content called "Winning the War in Your Mind". As a leader, we know that your life is generally moving in the direction of your strongest thoughts. The same is true of your organization. The thoughts that you think lead to the organization that you have. A lot of us, we can be very insecure.

We can overthink things. We're gonna talk about from a leadership perspective how do we win the war in our mind? Speaking of Winning the War in Your Mind, I have a brand new book out, it's called that very same title, "Winning the War in Your Mind: Change Your Thinking, Change Your Life". It is available everywhere. And I'm incredibly excited that this is actually record-breaking book release for me and for my publishers as well. It says obviously that there's a lot of people that really need help winning the war in their mind. I will say that this podcast is directed to all audiences. And I wanna be really clear that this book is written from a Christian perspective, but no matter what you're facing in your mind, I believe that there's very powerful truth in here that can help you win the war in your mind.

Today, I wanna bring something additional to you. Before I do, I wanna say a big thank you to those of you who have written reviews or rated the podcast. If it's helpful to you, would you mind writing a review, rating it, sharing on social media. If you tag me, I may repost it. I do read the reviews. In fact, just for fun, I found this review. It's a three-star review from someone who said, "The titlers talks far too fast". This person said, "I find it hard to follow him when he talks so unbelievably fast, it's almost distracting. And what a pity as he has such great stuff to say but very hard to follow. I think Craig should put any auctioneer to shame". Just had to say that if this was you, you might have it on 2.0 speed. Or maybe I am, let's go to another episode of Craig Groeschel Leadership Podcast. I don't know. Hope you enjoyed that review. It made me laugh. What I wanna do today is I wanna give you some content from my brand new book.

Let me slow it down. I want to give you some content from my new book, "Winning the War in Your Mind". This obviously doesn't all apply to leadership, but to be a great leader, you need to win the war in your mind. So for bonus content this month, I wanted to share with you the first chapter of my new book, "Winning the War in Your Mind". After the first chapter, I'll be back with you for some closing thoughts. Here's chapter one. Introduction. Where are your thoughts taking you? Our lives are always moving in the direction of our strongest thoughts, what we think shapes who we are. So you might hear that and think I'm being an overly dramatic preacher using hyperbole to get your attention. But this is no exaggeration. Our lives do follow the direction of our thoughts. The better we grasp that truth, the better equipped we'll be to change the trajectory of our lives, but don't take my word for it. Both the Bible and modern science provide the evidence that this is true. So throughout this audio book, we'll unpack both scriptures and what we've learned from scientific research. Here's an example of both.

In Philippians chapter four, verses eight and nine, the apostle Paul writes this. He says, "Finally, brothers and sisters, 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. Whatever you've learned, or received, or heard from me, or seen in me, put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you". In these three sentences, Paul moves from thought, think about such things, to action, put it into practice. To experience the God of peace will be with you. Paul tells us that our thoughts shape our lives. In recent years, an entire discipline of modern psychology has developed called cognitive behavioral therapy. This breakthrough teaching reveals that many problems from eating disorders, relational challenges, addictions, and even some forms of depression and anxiety are rooted in faulty and negative patterns of thinking. Treating those problems begins with changing that thinking. I don't know about you but when the Bible and modern psychology say the same thing, I wanna know more. Time to change your mind.

In 10 years, with each look in the mirror and someone will stare back. That person will be shaped by the thoughts of today. The life we have is a reflection of what we think. That's a crazy thought, right? What we think will determine who we become tomorrow. And even crazier, we probably don't even realize that's happening. We don't think about the power of our thoughts, which only makes them that much more powerful. But God made us this way. What science is demonstrating today is what God told us through solving more than 1500 years ago. Proverbs 23:7, in the New King James Version says this, for as he thinks in his heart, so is he. So if the Bible and modern science teaches that our lives are moving in the direction of our strongest thoughts, then we need to ask ourselves do I like the direction my thoughts are taking me? If your answer is no, then maybe it's time to change your thinking. Decide to change your mind so God can change your life. If you're sick and tired of being sick and tired, of having your life poisoned by toxic thoughts, of being held hostage by those inner voices, I wanna encourage you to keep listening and stay open. Whether or not you consider yourself a Christian, I promise there are truths in these pages that will work if you put in some effort to apply them.

As we walk through this important topic together, I wanna show you how you can change your thinking and transform your life. In part one, we'll examine the battle for your mind and how you're really not alone in your thoughts. In part two, you'll learn how your brain works and see how to rewire it. In part three, you'll discover how to reframe your thinking and redesign your mind around new thoughts. And in part four, you'll become equipped to identify your mental triggers and to overcome them through prayer and praise. Following each chapter, you'll find an exercise that will lead toward the renewal of your mind. Then at the end of the book, we'll envision your new life. You'll see how you can live free of anxiety and negativity while also experiencing the joy and the peace that come from knowing God and living in his truth.

Now, if you're skeptical, that's okay. Believe me, I get it. We've all tried unsuccessfully to change the bad habits and force our runaway trains of thought back on the right tracks. But this time, you're not alone. You're about to discover that God will team up with you to transform your thinking. And I'll be your guide to walk with you as you start this journey. With God's help, you can transform your mind. You can stop believing the lies that hold you back. You can end the vicious cycle of thoughts that are destructive to yourself and to others. You can allow God to renew your mind by saturating you with his unchanging truth. You can let his thoughts become your thoughts. With that opportunity, let's circle back to our opening statement. Our lives are always moving in the direction of our strongest thoughts, what we think will shape who we become. If you agree with that proposition, and remember, both the Bible and modern science say it's true, then it's time to change your thinking so God can change your life. Part one, the replacement principle. Remove the lies, replace with truth.

2 Timothy 1:7, New King James Version. God has not given us a spirit of fear but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind. Chapter one, perception is reality. My friend, Kevin, served on our church staff as one of our pastors for close to 20 years before retiring. Way back in the early days, our staff used to play a game called capture the flag in our storefront church offices. We occasionally got violent as players tried to seize the flag, but because we were ministers, of course, it was a holy violence. Eventually, however, two people ended up getting injured, so we had to establish some guidelines. One of those rules was no attacks before 8:00 a.m. I tend to get to work early. And one day I showed up around 7:00 a.m. and began walking around to my office, and my spidey senses went off. Something wasn't right. Suspecting a threat, I threw open a closet door to find Pastor Kevin hiding. I don't know if he'd spent the entire night in there, but his plan was to wait patiently for the surprise attack at go-time.

But thanks to my superhero ability to detect danger. I thwarted his plan. I was so excited that I slammed the door shut, wedged my foot against the bottom and yelled triumphantly, "You're gonna spend the rest of the day in that closet, Kevin". I grabbed a chair to secure my prisoner. Chuckling maniacally, I said, "I'm putting the chair under the door knob," but no matter how hard I tried, I couldn't get the chair to fit. And because I couldn't move my foot from the door, there was nothing I could do to lock Kevin in the closet. Fortunately for me, I realized that he didn't know that. He believed me. So with all the fake confidence I could muster, I sold it. There's now a chair under the door knob, Kevin, you can't get out. Yes, I lied, but I'm a pastor, so it was holy lying. Well, what did Kevin do? More like what did he not do? Kevin never tried to open the door. He just believed my lie. Kevin started shouting, "Let me out, let me out. Please, let me out. I don't wanna spend my day in here. Let me out"!

Well, I couldn't stop laughing because the door is unlocked. All he had to do was turn the handle and push and he would have been free, but he just stayed in the closet. I had a premarital counseling appointment at 8:00 a.m. So I went to my office to meet with the soon to be married couple. About 8:20 or so, I heard something in the ceiling above me. Then I heard the noise again. It was Kevin. He had scaled the shelves in the closet and gotten up into the ceiling tiles, trying to find a way out. When a ceiling tile suddenly poked out, I saw Kevin's eyes glaring down at me. I asked the couple to forgive the intrusion then looked up and jokingly said, "If you'll wait until I'm finished with this meeting, I'll call the fire department and see if we can get you down. If not, you're spending the rest of your life in that ceiling". This couple that I was counseling faced the dilemma. Should they laugh or pray for the guy stuck above us. Out of respect for them, Kevin waited. The whole time, the closet door was unlocked.

I wonder if you feel locked up or taken captive. If so, have you considered that you might be trapped in a self-made prison. You may feel held back from living the life you want, not experiencing the relationship you want with God with little to no hope for the future, but are you? If you think you're trapped, if you believe there's a lock on the door, you've bought into a lie. And it's the lie, nothing else, that's holding you back. Yet, if you identify that lie, then you can remove it. You can replace it with the truth and be free. Your liberation is as simple as a two-step process. Remove the lie, replace it with truth. Let me say it again. Remove the lie, replace it with truth. But the struggle in this process is very real and very hard. And it can feel like a war is being fought in your life because that's exactly what is happening. The battle for your mind. In the '80s, we were taught that love is a battlefield. Thank you, Pat Benatar.

If you're a bit younger, you learn the same lesson from Jordin Sparks. If you're even younger, you know "Battlefield" is a series of video games, but no, your mind is a battlefield. And the battle for your life is always won or lost in your mind. Picture a battle with two opposing sides. Now, imagine that the people on one side don't realize they're involved in a battle. The enemy is attacking and taking them out, picking them off one by one, but they're oblivious. Hard to imagine because it's just too absurd. I agree. But every day you're engaged in a battle. Are you aware of it? You may not recognize the battle you're in while it's wreaking havoc in your life. Ever wonder why you can't shake a habit, why you feel like you can't connect with God, why you lose your temper so easily, why you often make bad decisions, why you and your spouse fight so much, why you're consumed with worry, fear, and negativity. There's a reason why. Your mind is a war zone, and you're under attack. It's critical that you become aware of this fight. You cannot change what you do not confront.

If you ignore the battle, you lose the battle. The Apostle Paul made this truth clear. He said in Ephesians chapter six verse 12 from the New Living Translation, he said, "We're not fighting against flesh and blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world and against evil spirits and heavenly places". In other words, your adversary is not your boss, spouse, child, ex or neighbor with that demonic dog is always barking. You may not realize it, but the one you're fighting against is your spiritual enemy, the devil. Sound too extreme? That's exactly what your enemy wants. There's an old saying that goes the greatest trick the devil ever pulled was convincing the world he doesn't exist. Satan doesn't want you to believe in him, so he works subtly. He knows that if you ignore him, he can invade your mind with impunity. He can plant seeds of doubt, confusion, worry, depression, and anxiety that will continue to grow.

Satan is your unseen enemy, whose mission is to steal, kill, and destroy, John 10:10, to stop you, 1 Thessalonians 2:18, and devour you, 1 Peter 5:8. Satan despises you with more hatred than you can imagine. He wants to keep you from God and from the life that God has for you. He wants to keep you from intimate relationships with those you love the most. He wants to rob you of inner joy and abiding peace. He wants to strip you of the fulfillment you could have in knowing you're making a difference with your life. So how does he do this? Simple, he lies. Just like I lied to Kevin about the locked door, satan is a deceiver. And his strategy to defeat you is to persuade you to believe his lies. Jesus warned us and said, "There's no truth in him when he lies. He speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies," John 8:44.

I think it's interesting that the only time Satan is called a creator, a father is here in connection to his lies. Understand this, Satan is your enemy. And every day, he's prowling around, 1 Peter 5:8, watching you, looking for a place where you might believe a lie. If you succeed at something, he may convince you that you don't really need God. If you fail, he'll try to brainwash you into thinking that you'll always be a failure. You have a great first date, he'll suggest romance is the only thing that will make you happy. First date's a disaster, he'll whisper that you'll never have anyone to love you for who you are. If you do a nice thing for a difficult person, he'll murmur that you're a pretty great person yourself and you don't really need God's grace. If instead you speak harshly to someone, he'll whisper that you're an awful, hateful person whom God could never love. If you're trying to stay away from porn, he'll tell you everyone else is doing it. If you give into porn, he'll make you feel like you're the only person sick enough to do such a disgusting thing.

Satan is conniving and trying to lock you in a prison of lies, but you are not his prisoner of war unless you choose to be. Those days can be over, but that's gonna be your call. As if a lie were true, for centuries, people believed the world was flat, some still do. Don't believe me, Google it. You'll find there're flat earthers today. Because they believed the wrong idea, it impacted their lives as if it were true. People wouldn't venture too far out in the ocean for fear they might sail off the edge. Why? Once again, a lie believed as truth will affect your life as if it were true. Growing up, a lot of us were told that going swimming right after eating wasn't safe. Our parents made us wait 30 minutes after a meal to get in the pool. The only problem is that it's not dangerous to swim after eating. That was a lie.

Right now you may be thinking, no, I'm pretty sure that's true, but it isn't. Yet, we believed the lie. So the lie affected our lives as if it were true. Missing some swimming isn't a big deal. But what if you believe significant lies that have serious implications? What if you buy into the lie that you'll never be good enough, or that you've made too many mistakes, or that God doesn't really care about you, or that you'll never be able to stop doing what you don't wanna do. One more time, because this point is crucial, a lie believed as truth will affect your life as if it were true. There's a specific lie that I believed as long as I can remember. Living as if it were true has been one of the biggest limiting forces in my life. For years, my strongest thoughts have always been about my shortcomings. I've always felt inadequate. No matter what anyone else said, my inner voice always screamed, no matter how hard you try, you'll never measure up.

Why did I feel that way? Honestly, I'm not sure. I've never not felt that way. It seems my self doubts come naturally to me. But at the same time, I could give you a resume proving why I should feel that way. Essentially, I was living a faithless life. As I typed these words, about how we can control our thought life, my mind is racing. As the Psalmist wrote, Psalm 42, verse five, for example, I'm wrestling with my thoughts, I'm battling feelings of overwhelming anxiety because I've said yes to too many things and over committed myself again. Yes, my mind is out of control. I wish I could tell you I'm full of faith as I write this first chapter of the book, but my thoughts are full of fear. But then I come back to what I know is true. And what is true is the point of this book. I swat at a swarm of thoughts floating around in my head, and remember, that I'm not a victim of my own mind. I have power over my thoughts. I am not captive to them. With God's help, I can make them captive to me. While I know those truths, at the same time, the reality is that I'm struggling thought warrior whose battle insecurity, negativity, fear, and anxiety most of my life.

Midway through college, something dramatic happened to me. Jesus changed my life. By God's grace, He found me and saved me. Soon, I was being so transformed by my relationship with Christ that while still very new in my faith I sensed God calling me to be a pastor. And this was way before pastors wore cool shoes and had more Instagram followers than church members. As God was building my faith, I felt him telling me I could make a difference in the world through his church. All my childhood insecurities and teenage self doubts were being eclipsed by a glimpse of hope. What do I mean? Well, here's a little backstory for context. When I was growing up, my family couldn't afford name brand clothes. So my mom bought used Izod socks at cross-sales, cut the alligators out, and sewed them on my generic shirts. I felt fake.

In the second grade, I discovered I was colorblind. Not only could I not match my fake Izod shirts to my no-name pants, but I would never see the beauty of this world as others could. I felt defective. In a spelling bee with my classmates, I misspelled Mississippi. We had learned a song teaching us how to spell that word. And every time an i appears, there's only one of them and two of everything else. How could I possibly misspell Mississippi? I felt stupid. In the fifth grade, a girl named Tiffany dumped me for a guy named Brian. Her reason, Brian had a motorcycle and I only had a moped. Yes, 12-year-olds in my small town drove motorcycles and mopeds. Tiffany said I was Richie Cunningham and she wanted "The Fonz". If you're too young to remember "Happy Days", then think of it like she said I was Screech and she wanted Zack Morris. I felt lame. My father played minor league pro baseball. He was a professional athlete, and I wasn't sure if I could even play in college. I felt inadequate. These isolated events along with many others, four of my perception of myself into the reality I would carry into my new found faith as a young adult. I felt I wasn't good enough.

So I learned to play it safe and avoid risks at all costs. I felt that given an opportunity, I'd fail. I quietly came to define success as just not failing. Chances are good. You have your own set of lies holding you back. The lies nearly derailed my call to ministry. For now, it's a no. Only weeks after putting my faith in Jesus, I tried to teach my first Bible study to a group of young adults in a little church in Ada, Oklahoma. Afterward, the leader of the youth group said, "Well, I guess teaching Bible isn't your gift, is it"? Three years later, I finally got up the nerve to try teaching the Bible again after being asked to preach my first sermon. After the service, I stood by the door saying goodbye to church members, and an elderly gentleman looked at me and raised an eyebrow and remarked, "Nice try". Nice try!

The next lady in line asked if I had any other skills besides being a preacher, and then made a weak attempt to encourage me to keep my options open. Seriously, that really happened. I had to fight off the temptation to run and hide in the church baptistry, and yes, full immersion. Despite another setback, still believed in God's call, I continued my journey toward full-time vocational ministry by going to seminary following college and marriage. About halfway through seminary, the day finally came when I stood before a group of spiritual leaders as a candidate for ordination in our denominational church. With the entire committee looking on, the spokesperson explained to me, we've chosen not to ordain you. You don't have the gift mix we see in most pastors. In fact, we're not even sure you're called to be a pastor, but feel free to try again next year. But for now, it's a no.

Immediately, all those childhood memories met up with my teenage memories. They all joined forces with the rejections from the church forming an avalanche of negative thoughts that crashed over me engulfing me. The voices roared loudly, "You aren't enough. You'll never be enough. You'll never measure up". And then the final verdict was delivered. You don't have what it takes. Driving home in my red Geo Prizm, I felt dejected, embarrassed, confused, and angry, devastated. How can I explain to my wife, Amy, that I didn't make the cut? How can I face my pastor, my friends, my classmates, the church where I serve. The tears flowed as every possible negative thought played on repeat. But then a strange thing happened. Suddenly, a different voice interrupted the others. God spoke. He spoke to me. Well, not audible, the words somehow seemed louder than any physical voice I'd ever heard. In that moment, my heavenly father said, "You're not who others say you are. You're who I say you are. And I say, you're called to ministry".

Well, that was, of course, one of the most powerful moments of my life and a massive turning point. I wasn't suddenly healed of my negative thinking or delivered from believing every lie I told myself while growing up, the patterns were still there. The consequences were still ingrained, but I began to realize God had a very different way for me to think and a much healthier way for me to think of myself. I realized He was offering me a choice of whether to continue to believe the lies or accept His truth about me. That's the beauty of allowing God to master our minds. He gives us a new path, a new way to think, but we have to get on board, agree and cooperate with Him. Lie detection. How about you? What negative messages did you take away from your childhood? What unhealthy and destructive conclusions have you come to believe about yourself and your place in the world?

Same strategy to win the battle for your mind is getting you to believe the lies. If you believe a lie, it'll hold you back from doing what God is calling you to do. The lie will keep you living in shame from the past when God wants to set you free for a better future. The lie will keep you from living with joy, and freedom, and confine you to a less than existence. When legendary magician, Harry Houdini, came into a town to do a show, he often went to the local jail, gathering a crowd of people along the way to get buzz going about his upcoming performance. He asked the jailer to lock him in a cell. Time after time, jail after jail, town after town, Houdini escaped within minutes. But one jailer heard that Houdini was coming and the jailer was ready.

When Houdini closed the cell door, the jailer put the key in the lock and secretly turned the key in the wrong direction. He then removed the key and everyone watched as Houdini struggled to escape by unknowingly locking himself in repeatedly. Finally, in frustration, Houdini admitted he could not escape. The jailer then revealed his deception. Houdini had believed a lie and the lie had held him captive. Living your life by a lie is a lot like believing the door is locked when it isn't. On the other side is freedom, but you have to commit to some personal lie detection to experience the abundant life Jesus came and died to give you.

Well, I hope that content was helpful to you. And if you are interested in the rest of the book, "Winning the War in Your Mind," it is available everywhere books are sold. It's also available in every format, hardcover, digital, and audio. And on the first Thursday of next month, we're gonna talk even more about Winning the War in Your Mind from a leadership perspective. We're gonna dive into overcoming the cognitive biases that hold us back so we can think with clarity and lead with clarity in all that we do.

Again, a big thank you to those of you who write reviews, especially the five-star ones. I like those a lot. And thank you for sharing on social media, inviting others to be a part of our leadership community. I'm gonna do my best to bring helpful content each month to help you grow in your leadership. And I really appreciate you inviting others to be a part of our community. It's tough out there. It's difficult to lead with all the headwind that we have. And so, I want to just encourage you to take the pressure off of yourself. You have what you need to lead those that you've been called to lead, and just come with your real self, be yourself. We say it all the time, be yourself because people would rather follow a leader who is always real than one who's always right.
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