Summary of Winning the War in Your Mind by Craig Groeschel

Key Truth: What consumes our minds controls our lives.

“Our lives are always moving in the direction of our strongest thoughts. What we think shapes who we are… Both the Bible and modern science provide evidence that this is true” (1).

“As he thinks in his heart, so is he” (Proverbs 23:7).

Who you are today = a result of your thoughts in the past.

Who you become in the future = a result of what you think about today.

“What consumes our minds controls our lives” (94).

If you don’t like the direction your thoughts are taking you, it’s time to “change your mind so God can change your life” (3). “Your thoughts will control you, so you have to control your thoughts” (27).

Christianity is not about “behaviour modification; it’s about life transformation” (35). Our job is the renew our minds. God’s job is to transform our lives.

“Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your minds, so that you may discern what is the will of God—what is good and acceptable and perfect” (Romans 12:2).

Part 1: The Replacement Principle – “Remove the Lies, Replace with Truth.”

Remove the Lies

Your enemy is Satan. His target is your mind. His weapon are lies (John 8:44). And you are under attack 24/7. Satan’s goal is to get you to believe his lies as truth (to corrupt your mind so that he can destroy your life).

  • If you ignore this battle (or try to fight with your own strength), you are guaranteed to lose.
    • Relying on our own power to fight our spiritual enemy “is like attacking Godzilla with a flyswatter” (36).
  • If you declare war & engage in this battle and fight with God’s power, you are guaranteed to win.

We must stop allowing Satan to deliver us blows of deception & bombard us with lies. We must “take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ” (2 Cor 10:5). The verb tense for “take captive” implies a repeated and continuous action.

Exercise 1: Your Thought Audit – Have a journal with you (paper or phone) & write down all the thoughts that you have throughout one typical day. Be honest! After you’ve taken stock, consider whether your thoughts are primarily negative (toxic, self-deprecating, self-centred, fearful, worried, skeptical, complain, criticism) or positive (peaceful, faithful, hopeful, loving, inspiring, Christ-centred)?

  • The reality: Studies have shown that we are bombarded by about 500 unintentional and intrusive thoughts a day. Each unwanted thought lasts for about 14 seconds. Do the math. That’s almost 2 hours a day of thoughts we do not want to think.

Exercise 2: The Lie Detector Test – 3 Steps: (1) Identify the problems in your life; (2) Ask probing questions; (3) Pinpoint the lie.

Replace with Truth

Since Satan’s #1 weapon is the lie, the greatest counter-weapon is the truths of God’s Word.

In order to wield Scripture as a divine weapon (cf. Hebrews 4:12, Ephesians 6:17) like Christ in the desert (Mt 4) and exercise “divine power to demolish strongholds” (2 Cor 10:4), we need to find as many ways as possible to get God’s Word into our hearts (“write it, think it, and confess it until you believe it”).

Part 2: The Rewire Principle – “Rewire Your Brain, Renew Your Mind.”

Rewire Your Brain

Our brains literally redesign themselves around our thoughts. Each thought produces a neuro-chemical change in the brain and repeated thoughts create neural pathways (habitual patterns of thought). Our brains save energy by using neural pathways (eg. how easy it is to drive now compared to when we first had to learn).

Exercise 3: Bad habits. Identify the bad habits in your life (addictions, attachments, etc). These bad habits are the lies that created bad neural pathways.

Rewire Your Brain

Rather than go after behaviour modification (the bad fruit), we must go to neural pathway modification (the bad roots).

To be healthy physically, we have to pay attention to what we put in our bodies. The same is true for our minds! To be healthy mentally, we have to feed our minds with healthy thoughts. What we put into our minds comes out into our lives. Every action we take, every word we say, and every attitude we express originates in our thoughts. This is what Christian meditation is all about. Filling our minds with God’s truth.

Exercise 4: Write Your Declarations. Based on the specific truth of God’s Word to go against our lies, write out a declaration as if it were already true, even if you don’t fully believe it. Claim that victory in Christ. Create a new neural pathway through intentional repetition.

“Draw your declarations from God’s truth and make them your own. Be creative. Write your declarations in a way that will speak to and inspire you. Put them in places where you can quickly see them and memorize them. Put them in the notes on your phone so that you can immediately swipe away and scroll to them. Record them in your voice memos and listen as you exercise or drive. Repetition will dig your new trench deeper and deeper, making the new pathway easier and more accessible” (91).

“Here’s the plan: write it, think it, and confess it until you believe it” (94).

Part 3: The Reframe Principle – “Reframe Your Mind, Restore Your Perspective.”

Cognitive bias: We all see life through different coloured lens. These are known as cognitive biases, that is, consistent patterns of viewing reality in distorted ways (subjective rather than objective).

Cognitive reframing: When we identify & correct our irrational thinking, we experience cognitive reframing.

“We can’t control what happens to us, but we can control how we frame it.”

We can reframe our past experiences through reflective prayer (eg. bring Jesus into past hurtful situations) and pre-frame our future experiences (choosing how I will view something before it happens – eg. through the goodness of God).

Exercise 5: Unanswered Prayers. Think back through your life on your past hopes, dreams, desires, and relationships. Think through some what-ifs in a positive, good way… See these situations through the filter that God knew all along what was best for you. This can be an amazing and eye-opening glimpse into the deep love your heavenly Father has for you” (134). And thank God for what He didn’t do: Think about some of the things you’ve wanted and prayers you’ve prayed. Aren’t you so glad God didn’t do what you hoped he would? Remember, God’s ways are not our ways (Isaiah 55:8-9). Then intentionally look for God’s goodness – because you’ll always find what you’re looking for (vultures look for rancid, dead roadkill VS. hummingbirds look for sweet, life-giving nectar).

Part 4: The Rejoice Principle – “Revive Your Soul, Reclaim Your Life.”

Praise God for who He is, regardless of what He may or may not be doing. A change of perspective leads us to praise God. Instead of looking at your problems look through your problems to see the omnipotent God who is right there with you.

Exercise 6: 10 Finger Gratitude. One of the practices that I find helpful to praise & thank God is called 10 finger gratitude, in which I count 10 things that I am grateful for. Within this Rejoice Principle, do this exercise for 10 things about who God is, not simply what He has done for you.

Here’s my video summary:

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