Anyone who has heard Craig Groeschel speak either at Life.Church or through a podcast is aware that he has a distinct communication style. He has a way of drawing in audience attention through humorous anecdotes, and delivering spiritual connections to drive the point home with compassion.
His writing style echoes his speaking style. There were times when I was reading Winning the War in Your Mind that I could remember the way he speaks, and hear his voice come through with the same rhythm and inflections.
As for the book itself, Winning the War in Your Mind is all about dealing with negative thoughts, confronting the lies that shape our behavior, and replacing them with God’s truth. Right away, some clear connections could be drawn to Joyce Meyer’s Battlefield of the Mind, Jenni Allen’s Get Out of Your Head, and an older book by James Allen, As A Man Thinketh. Each of these authors has their own approach to this subject. For Groeschel, he uses the strength of his preaching style, starting most chapters with a humorous or relatable anecdote, and working towards his spiritual connection. Some chapters read pretty fast, and some of the points he develops build incrementally, making it easy to keep your focus, and not feel like the book is moving too fast. Each chapter, aside from the introduction and conclusion, ends with an exercise you can put into practice, so you can start applying what you are learning right away. In addition to drawing on principles from the Bible, he also references findings from neuroscience and psychology. Don’t let the references to science intimidate you, he keeps the language simple and straightforward, even when he introduces some of the more scientific portions.
While I was reading this book, the idea of pragmatic self-deception occurred to me. Pragmatic meaning a system designed for its practical purpose for the end result of the consequences, and self-deception meaning a lie or deceit purposely made for self-delusion. Early on, I was able to dismiss the notion that the instructions of this book are made to lead the reader into a state pragmatic self-deception. As Groeschel teaches you to replace the self-defeating lie with a truth, he doesn’t instruct readers to pick a convenient replacement truth, or cater a motivational phrase based on a desired result.
He guides readers to base their truth on the Truth of the Bible. As you study the Scripture, you will find the truth you need to defeat the lies you may already believe about yourself. Secondly, I have to wonder if this strategy could lead anyone to undo their own pragmatic self-deception. Some may engage in self-deception for the pragmatic purpose of gaining more confidence, or protecting oneself from repeating harmful behaviors. However, I would venture to say anyone who feels it’s important to maintain some level of self-deception for a time, will tread lightly when it comes to examining their thought patterns and replacing lies with truth. If you find a lie you tell yourself that serves a purpose you desire, you’re unlikely to find a way to undo that lie.
Ultimately, this book can serve as a guide for your thoughtful self-reflection. Take some time to examine what lies you might believe that are holding you back from being everything God wants you to be. While self-examination can be useful for following through with the steps and exercises provided in Winning the War in Your Mind, you might need some help and input from those who know you. In fact, Groeschel suggest you get some input from friends and family in Chapter 7. This could be a good book to work through with your small group, as it can help stir up conversations about how to deal with spiritual warfare, unwelcome thoughts, and strategies to fight temptation at the thought level. If you want to take a deep examination of your thought life, while reading humorous anecdotes from Craig Groeschel, then give Winning the War in Your Mind a try.