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Watch 2022-2023 online sermons » Kerry Shook » Kerry Shook - Battle For The Mind

Kerry Shook - Battle For The Mind

Kerry Shook - Battle For The Mind
TOPICS: Spiritual warfare

Today we're concluding the series about the spiritual battles that come into our lives, and every one of us have battles to fight, but God wants to give us his power for every battle. And this weekend, we're talking about the most important battle that you'll ever face, and that's the battle for your mind. The battle for your mind is the most vicious, intense, and unrelenting battle that you will ever face. It's because your mind is your greatest asset, and our enemy knows that. We're also going to see that God has given us everything we need to win the fight.

You know, I've heard that the average person has around 60,000 thoughts every day, and 80% of those thoughts are negative. The self-talk inside our heads is actively working against us. It usually starts first thing in the morning when we're looking into the mirror or in the closet getting dressed, and that voice starts echoing in our mind. "I'm not right. I wish I was different. I'm defective. This doesn't look right on me. What if I fail giving the presentation today? I'm sure someone else could do it much better". Or we're in a social setting where we're meeting someone important or someone we really respect, and we say something. Then the voice in our head says, "That was dumb. They must think you're so dumb. You don't have what it takes".

And the negative noise just keeps building throughout the day. "God is so disappointed with you. I mean, you just can't get it right. I mean, you'll never overcome this. You'll never change. God can't use you. You're just not worth much. You're defective". Or "You're unlovable. You'll never be enough. You'll never measure up". That voice in our head, instead of helping us through life, starts to derail us, defeat us, and sometimes destroy us. And most Christ followers aren't even aware that the enemy plays a big part of the battle in your mind. A lot of the battle for your mind is a spiritual battle, where our enemy, Satan, puts lies into our minds, and we start to believe them. These myths make us miserable.

Now, not all of our negative voices in our minds are from the enemy. Sometimes we're our own worst enemy. We just can think these negative thoughts, and they start to take hold, and then the enemy takes hold of them, and he starts using them, and he creates strongholds out of them, these negative ruts that sometimes the enemy uses to create these patterns in our minds. They become what the Bible calls strongholds that hold us and hold us back, and these lies that become ingrained that we don't even question them. We just believe them as true, and it really is destructive in our lives. So, we're gonna look at what the Bible says about this.

And so open your Bibles to 2 Corinthians chapter 10. And would you stand in honor of God's Word? And I'm really excited about this message, because this is a battle we all face, let's be honest, this battle for the mind. And some of us don't realize how serious it is. I mean, it really matters, you know, and all these voices in our minds, each and every day, God wants to take that and use that to really change our lives. And so just follow along with me. "For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ".

You can be seated. To win the battle raging in our minds, the first thing we have to do is don't believe everything you think. Don't believe everything you think. Just because a thought comes into your mind, don't accept that it's true. Don't believe everything you think, because we think all these weird thoughts all throughout the day. I mean, all these weird thoughts are coming into our mind constantly all throughout the day. There are dumb thoughts. There are brilliant thoughts. There are crazy thoughts. There are negative thoughts. There are positive thoughts. But there are all these different thoughts coming into our mind, and you can't help that each and every day, but you can choose not to believe everything you think.

In fact, the Bible tells us what we're to do here. And I want us to study 2 Corinthians chapter 10 to really understand what it's all about, because you don't want to believe everything you think, especially those lies that the enemy starts placing in your mind. In 2 Corinthians 10:5, it says, "And we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ". So, how do you take captive every thought? The way you do that is you submit it to Christ. That's what that means to take captive. You take that thought, and you submit it to Christ; that is, you don't believe everything you think, you don't just accept it, because it came into your mind. What you do is you take that thought, and you place it in the light of God's truth to see if it's true or not, because you don't want to believe a lie from the enemy. And so we take every thought captive.

Now, you take every thought captive, but you don't condemn yourself for every thought. You don't believe everything you think, but you don't beat yourself up over everything you think. Every weird thought that comes into your mind, every gross thought, you know, every negative thought, you don't beat yourself up over it, but you don't believe it. You kind of act like a third person, and you go, when you have a weird thought comes in your mind, you can't help that. We have all kinds of strange thoughts that come into our mind, all throughout the day. You have a weird thought come into your mind, you're just kind of like a third person. You go, "That was a weird thought that came into my mind. No, I'm just not gonna pay attention to that," and you move on.

And then maybe you have a negative thought that comes into your mind, and it very well could be the enemy, and it's probably a lie, and so you want to take that negative thought, and you want to go, "God, I give that thought to you, and help me put it in the light of your truth to make sure I don't believe this lie". Because that negative self-talk that goes on and on and on, and that goes throughout our minds all day. We get to the point where we just accept it many times. We accept it as true. It's just facts, and we start living our lives based on a lie. And so we want to take it captive and bring it to God. You may have a gross thought. Well, just move on. You're just like, "That was really weird. I'm not gonna draw on that".

Move on. But every time a negative thought comes in your mind, every time a lie comes into your mind, you want to bring it to the light of God's truth. And don't believe everything you think. The most destructive thoughts are the lies Satan tells us, that over time we start to believe, and they get entrenched into our minds. I call them ruts in our brain that begin to develop. And actually, the brain science now tells us that the physiology of your brain actually changes when you focus on something, when you concentrate on something, and we're gonna talk about that in a moment. But in John 8:44, it says, "He (Satan) has always hated the truth, because there's no truth in him. When he lies, it is consistent with his character, for he is a liar and the father of lies". So, Satan, our enemy, is always putting lies in our mind.

Now, the problem is we usually don't recognize it as the enemy, because we think that it's us thinking the thought, because Satan will whisper that lie in our own Texas accent or your own New York accent. Or is that a Boston accent? I don't know. Or your own Midwestern accent. I mean, he will whisper that lie in your own accent, and you'll think it's you, and you won't even recognize that it's the enemy, and you'll just believe what you think; and over time, that rut begins to develop in your mind, and you start living, based on a lie. You know, our enemy, Satan, always twists the truth. That is, he will tell the truth, but then he'll twist it into a devastating lie, because the Bible says he's an angel of light, a beautiful angel of light. He's not someone dressed in a red suit with a long tail and horns and a pitchfork. No, he's a beautiful angel of light.

So, he will tell you the truth in your mind, but then he'll twist it into a devastating lie. He's really crafty. I mean, maybe you sin, and you're struggling with something, trying to overcome it, and the enemy will come, and he will say, "You really messed up, didn't you"? Which is true, but then he'll say, "I mean, God is so frustrated with you. God's not gonna forgive you anymore. You can't be used of God. You're always messing up. You just don't have what it takes. God's gonna put you on the shelf. He doesn't have a purpose for you. He's so tired of you coming to him for forgiveness. You're such a mess. You'll never measure up".

You see, the first part is true. "You really messed up, didn't you"? And then you're gonna say, "Yes, I did, but I'm gonna take that mess to the Miracle Worker and let him bring his forgiveness in my life". You just come to God, because he's always ready to forgive, and you come to Christ if you're a Christ follower, and you thank him for his grace, and his forgiveness. You admit your sin and your struggle, and you receive free forgiveness. And the next time you sin, you bring it back to him, and he is there to forgive. He doesn't love you any more, any less. He can't, because he loves you perfectly.

So, he doesn't love you more when you do great. He doesn't lose you less when you sin. It just hurts him when you sin, because he knows how devastating it is in our lives, and it kind of separates our communion with him. And so when you realize, through the conviction of the Holy Spirit, you really messed up, then you just go back to God and go, "God, I'm so sorry". And he forgives and restores that connection. "God, I need your power to overcome this". But the enemy will keep you stuck in a cycle of shame that will just make you act on a lie and live out a lie and will keep you stuck in that shame.

The voice you believe will determine your actions. The voice you believe will determine your actions. The voice you listen to will determine the voice you believe, and the voice you believe will determine your actions. In fact, the voice you believe will determine your destiny, and some of you are believing lies, and you don't even know that the lie is from the enemy, but it is; but you've been believing it for so long, you haven't even questioned it. You just accepted it. Don't believe everything you think. Put it up against the light of God's truth. In 2 Corinthians 10:4, it says, "The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds".

Focus on those two words: demolish strongholds. Now what is a stronghold? Well, that's a lie from the enemy that you've been believing for so long, it's created a rut in your brain, a stronghold that the enemy uses to hold you, to hold you back in life, a lie that you're believing, and so whatever voice you're believing determines your actions. And so this lie has been determining your actions, and it's your natural action and natural reaction. And if you're a Christ follower, it means you're not living from your true self. You're living a lie.

Now, there are a lot of lies that have become strongholds in our lives. There are a lot of lies that we believe about ourselves that become stronghold lies in our life that we don't even question them. We just accept them, and we live based on a lie. There are a lot of lies that we believe about others in our lives that become stronghold lies that we don't even question, that we just believe them, and we treat others based on those lies, or in our families. Maybe a child growing up kind of gets trapped in this lie that you've placed them in, that you're thinking about them in, as a parent, and they can't seem to break out. And here's the thing. These are stories that we tell ourselves. We tell ourselves stories about ourselves and stories about others that, many times, aren't true at all, even in our own families, even in the marriage relationship.

So many times, the story that you tell yourself about your spouse is a lie, because the longer you've been married, the more you start assuming that you know what they think, you know what they like, and, you know, maybe it was what they thought 10 years ago, but they're changing, they're growing. We're always changing and growing. And so that story you tell yourself may be a complete lie, and it causes disharmony. And that's why it's so important not to assume. Never assume in a relationship. Always ask. You may even say, hey, the story I'm telling myself is this. The story I'm telling myself is that something's really wrong right now in our relationship, and it scares me. Is this what's going on with you?

The story I'm telling myself is that you'd rather hang out with your buddies than be with me on a date. The story I'm telling myself, and if the story is true, then you can talk it out, and you can work through it, because you're talking. You're asking. You're not assuming. And most of the time, the story is not even true. The stories that we tell ourselves oftentimes are lies; but we live our life by the stories, even if they are lies. And the Bible says don't give the devil an opportunity. That means don't let the devil create mischief. Don't give the devil an opportunity by just assuming that that story is true, assuming the story that you're telling yourself about yourself or about others is true. Don't assume that. Ask. Ask God and ask others.

Now, there are a couple of stronghold lies that affect so many of us that I really want to point out every one of us have these stronghold lies that we need God to break down and to destroy, through his power and his name. And I'm going to share with you, how we're to do that, according to Scripture, but there are all kinds of stronghold lies, and usually they're really specific, you know, in our lives, stories that we're telling ourselves, but there's also some really big general ones that most of us struggle with, and here's one of them. "My worth is determined by how I perform. My value and worth is determined by by how I perform".

See, some of you started running on the treadmill of performance at a young age, and you discovered that the faster you ran on the treadmill of performance, the better you felt about yourself, and others started looking at you with more value. Maybe you had a parent who showed you more love and more attention, and more excitement was in their eyes when you got great grades, when you performed great in sports. And so you just realized, "The faster I run on the treadmill of performance, then the more I'm worth. And my value raises when I run faster". And when you got into adulthood, you're running on the treadmill of success, and you notice that your value goes up in other people's eyes, the more successful you are. Wow, look at them. Look at what they're doing. They must be brilliant. They've got it all together. Wow, look at that.

And so you realize that your value goes up in other people's eyes, and so you begin to equate your performance with your worth, and then you see that your net worth goes up, and other people value even more, and so you think your net worth equals your self-worth, and nothing could be further from the truth. Because with the treadmill of performance, the faster you run, you're still in the same place. You don't get anywhere. When you tie your worth to your performance, that treadmill of performance will wear you out, and usually end in burnout of some kind, because your fear of failure will consume you, because you've gotta keep it going. You've gotta keep it going, you've gotta keep it going, because your value is tied to that. And if you slow down, your value is going down. And by the way, that's when you never tie your self-worth to your job.

Yes, working is something God wants us to do. He wants us to do our best, and that makes you feel good when you do your best. That's a great thing. There's nothing wrong with that. There's something so worshipful in work and doing your very best; but if you tie your self-worth to your job, you lose your job, you lose all your value. But yet so many times we do. This is something that we all deal with. You see, how do you know what something is worth? How do you really know what anything is worth? Well, this is economics 101. How do you know what something is worth? It's whatever someone else is willing to pay for it. You know, I may say my car is worth this much, according to the Blue Book, but nobody cares about that, because that doesn't matter.

It's what someone else is willing to pay for it. That's what it's worth. What is your house worth? What Zillow says? No, it's whatever someone else is willing to pay for it. They may not pay that much, or they may pay more, but it's whatever someone else is willing to pay for it. I have a friend who sold a football trading card for $800,000 this last year. And I thought, it's worthless. A card? A card? A football card? You're kidding me. I was wrong. It was worth a lot, because someone was willing to pay that much for it. And I thought they were crazy, but I think they're selling it for more now. Crazy, but it's whatever someone is willing to pay for it. So, how much are you worth? How much are you worth?

Well, the God of the universe thought you were so valuable that he paid his life to purchase your freedom and to adopt you into his family. That's how much you're worth. Your self-worth was settled on the cross. God has given you his righteousness. God has given you his forgiveness, and his grace, and he has chosen you and adopted you into his family. How much are you worth? God says you're worth dying for. That settles your self-worth. It doesn't matter about your performance.

Now, I'm not telling you not to try hard. I mean, you know, I'm not saying don't try. I'm just saying don't try out. Don't try out anymore trying to win other people's approval, and tie your worth to it, because your value doesn't change, because the cross settled your value. And when you begin to realize that truth, and you begin to stop believing the lie from the enemy, then you start living to your full potential, and you stop running on the treadmill of performance, and you begin to walk in God's path of significance, because what you need is not success. There's nothing wrong with success, but it'll never bring satisfaction. What you need is not success. What you need is significance, and it only comes through Christ, knowing who you are in Christ, and who he has made you to be, knowing your identity in him, that you're an adopted child of the living God, that he thinks you're worth dying for.

But this leads me to a second stronghold lie that most of us really struggle with, and that is I must have everyone's love and approval. I must have everyone's love and approval to feel good about myself. I need you to feel good about me. If you don't feel good about me, then I can't feel good about myself. If you reject me, then there must be something wrong with me. It's one of Satan's biggest lies, and it becomes a stronghold; and when it becomes a stronghold, you become a people pleaser. And I have to say this is one of the things I've struggled with my whole life: people pleasing. God's given me some great victory over the last few years in a big way. I feel like God keeps working in my life, but I have to say it's a stronghold. I've come back to it sometimes.

You know, I just come back, so I have to, everything that comes into my mind about people pleasing, what do they think about me? Were they happy about this? Were they upset about it? All those things that come into my mind, I have to take that thought captive and bring it to Christ, and let him put the light of his truth that I'm already approved, and I don't need to look for anyone else's approval. I just need to look to the audience of one. But yet that comes back over and over. I don't know about you, but whenever you fall into the stronghold of people pleasing, what happens is you start putting forth an image, an image of ourselves, rather than our true selves, and it keeps us from really having deep and close relationships. Because if someone gets too close to you, they'll find out you don't have it all together, and they may reject you.

And so you try to please them, and you don't really share your true self, your true feelings, and it keep you from being known and knowing others. But then we have to move to the second thing, and that is choose to believe what God says. That's really what it comes down to. In 2 Corinthians 10:5, it says, "We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God. So, we tear down the stronghold lies that go against God's truth". And in John 8:32, Jesus said, "You will know the truth, and the truth will set you free". It's God's truth that will tear down the stronghold when you start believing it. And so I want us to go over who God says I am, if you're a Christ follower. This is powerful. God says I am his masterpiece. So, when I feel ugly, I choose to believe, "No, I'm a masterpiece created by God, knit together in my mother's womb. God created me, this beautiful child of his. He's chosen me and adopted me into his family".

And that's the second thing. I am chosen. So, when I feel rejected by someone, and it starts playing into that people pleasing and that rut that God's filling in, in my mind. Then I just say, "No, I choose to believe the truth, and I am chosen by God, and that's all that matters. I'm approved by him. I am righteous and forgiven". So, when I feel filthy in my sins, I say it doesn't matter because I know the truth: that I am righteous and forgiven in Jesus Christ. I'm completely loved. So, when I feel unlovable, I just choose to believe the truth: I am totally loved by God. I am strong and courageous. So, when I feel weak and afraid, I choose to believe the truth, that I am strong and courageous in Christ. I'm more than a conqueror.

So, when I felt like a failure, I choose to believe the truth: that I'm more than a conqueror in Christ Jesus. I hope you'll spend time, download this, and spend time looking up these references and these passages. In Romans 12:2, it says, "Do no conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you'll be able to test and approve what God's will is, his good, pleasing, and perfect will". You have to renew your mind. When you become a Christian, God changes your heart, and you have a true self that wants to live for him, but your mind still has all these ruts and strongholds in it. And the only way you renew that mind is you start believing what God's Word says, even when you don't feel it.
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