As a pastor and content creator, when I come across content that is exceptionally valuable, something happens. I get the urge to preach it myself. When I read Craig Groeschel’s book Winning the War in Your Mind, that urge came midway through the first chapter. The book pinpoints crucial areas where the Bible and modern science come together regarding the mind. The message is particularly relevant in our current culture, and the book is exceptionally clear.
Groeschel states that our lives are always moving in the direction of our strongest thoughts. So, if we want to change our lives, we have to change our thinking. The book is structured around four principles for changing the way we think. Each principle is supported with practical exercises.
Part 1 explores the replacement principle. We must remove lies and replace them with truth. Lies are the devil’s weapon. Our defense is the truth of God’s Word. Behavior modification falls short if it fails to uproot the lie that produces the behavior. When we believe a lie, it affects our life as if it were true. We become trapped and controlled by our false perceptions of reality.
Part 2 explores the rewire principle. Satan does not have to be creative if he can just be repetitive. When a lie is repeated often enough, we start to believe it. We form neuropathways for those lies to travel. We cannot fight against the way neuropathways’ work. Instead, we need to be intentional about creating neuropathways based on truth. God created neuropathways to be good things. We can replace our unhelpful ruts with trenches of truth.
Part 3 explores the reframe principle. We cannot control what happens, but we can choose how we process what happens. We all have lenses, filters, and cognitive biases that do not always serve us well. We can choose a negative perspective on almost anything. If we accept the lenses God provides, we can reframe the worst of situations and see what Groeschel refers to as “God’s collateral goodness.”
Part 4 explores the rejoice principle. An active feature of the war in our mind is the incessant battle between the prefrontal cortex (the brain’s reasoning center) and the amygdala (the brain’s fight or flight center). The rejoice principle leverages the neurological benefits of prayer and praise. Praise moves us from a focus on the presence of our problems to a focus on the presence of God. Prayer and praise check the adrenaline-pulsing panic response of the amygdala.
We do not have to look far to find people filled with anxiety, letting negative thoughts overwhelm and take control. If we are honest, we are all in this struggle. The author insists that to win the war in our mind, we must engage it. We have to do the hard work of thinking about what we think about. We must be proactive about taking our thoughts to Christ so that our thoughts do not take us captive. Because there is a war in every mind, everyone would benefit from reading this book to help them win that war.