Speaker 1:                           00:08                     Bible tells us that we are in a spiritual battle and the main battlefield is in our mind. The weapons in this warfare, our prayer and God’s word. These weapons have divine power to destroy strongholds. Strongholds are lies that we have believed. The Bible continues. We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God and take every thought captive to obey Christ. Notice how the strong holds that are to be destroyed are described arguments, lofty opinions and thoughts. Each of these is in the mind, just one wrong thought or lie that a person believes can make all the difference. If a person believes the lie that they are worthless and that they struggle because they have unfixable problems, then they will give up hope of ever getting free. The truth that we are deeply loved by God and that with God’s help we can walk in.

Speaker 1:                           01:04                     Freedom helps destroy these lies. God’s word destroys lies, but we must know his word and believe it. In addition to knowing and believing the truth, we need to have a plan to win the battle of our minds as it relates to sexual bondage. There are at least four keys to winning the battle of the mind and the first is take every thought captive to obey Christ. The word captive in the Bible literally means at spear point back in the Bible times they would have guards around the perimeter of their military camps and when someone approached the perimeter, they would take them captive at spear point to determine if they were friend or foe. This is a kind of military discipline we are to have with every thought that enters our mind. We should ask, will this thought help me obey Christ in his word or not?

Speaker 1:                           01:57                     There are two main applications for taking thoughts captive. First, be careful what you feed your mind every day. We are feeding our mind information and thoughts. We focus so much on what we eat physically, but our mental food is even more important. So much of today’s media and entertainment feeds the flesh which increased cravings to act out. Worldly media regularly reinforces entitlement thinking that empower our rationalizations to use porn, taking thoughts captive means guarding against worldly media and filling our minds with truth. God puts it this way. Whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable. If there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. A second application for taking thoughts captive is avoid dwelling on lustful thoughts. As we discussed in a previous lesson, using brace to replace an thought by remembering the truth is an effective way to take a thought captive.

Speaker 1:                           03:05                     Joel Hess says of taking a less whole thought captive. I couldn’t let the thought linger or it would fuel my old nature where I ultimately replay thoughts and act out. Yet at times the image of a woman kept appearing in my mind, so I would repeat to myself, I refuse to take pleasure. I did this each time I thought tried to enter my mind. Joel reminded himself of the truth that he didn’t want to take pleasure in sin. He models the idea, don’t just suppress the thought, but replace it. Whether you pray, replace the thought with a verse or a statement that helps you resist it. You need to have a plan to take lustful thoughts captive. The next key to winning the battle of your mind is be aware of negative self talk. We can allow negative self talk to feed false thinking that is often related to shame.

Speaker 1:                           03:58                     In his book treating pornography addiction, Dr. Kevin Skinner shares about the impact of the false self perception of one of his clients. He had formed so many negative beliefs about himself that they fueled his relapses, his beliefs about himself and truly kept him trapped. For many years, Dr. Skinner encourages his clients to write down their negative beliefs and the negative self talk. They engage in the negative talk typically reinforced how bad and hopeless they are compared to others. Getting specific allows them to evaluate the statement so they can identify the lies and remind themselves of the truth the next time it comes to their mind. These self accusing and negative beliefs are some of those thoughts that need to be taken captive and destroyed by the truth. It is important to identify the lies that you repeat to yourself that keep you in bondage, whether about your addiction, yourself or God.

Speaker 1:                           04:57                     Start your own list of negative self-talk so that you can become aware of it in your own life. The third key to winning the battle of your mind is share these negative thoughts and beliefs with your accountability. Just verbalizing the negative thoughts to another person helps you see how off base they are and your accountability can ask you about it in the future. Just as we need accountability for our behavior, we must be accountable for our false beliefs that drive us into hiding a man who is now walking in freedom after years of addiction says of his own ongoing recovery. Sometimes I don’t want to reach out for help as I should and even still sometimes I feel like I’m burdening the guys in my group, which I know isn’t true. Many men have believed this lie that they are a burden to their accountability which contributed to them keeping secrets and then sliding back into bondage.

Speaker 1:                           05:52                     Sharing your negative thoughts is important because others are probably having them as well. Getting them out in the open will help you address them with the truth. Fourthly, you must be aware of the rationalizations you use to lead you toward acting out. They are subtle, but we must be ruthless and calling an excuse what it is. They are often nice sounding thoughts that give your flesh permission to move toward and then indulge in destructive behavior. Let’s look at common steps toward acting out and the corresponding excuses that can help you rationalize them. Dr. Patrick Carnes refers to this as the stairway to acting out. Each step has an action and a corresponding excuse that gives you justification for the step. There are many possible scenarios, but a common one could be you check out social media while telling yourself, I just want to catch up on what’s going on with friends.

Speaker 1:                           06:52                     Then you notice a bikini picture and click on it with the excuse. She’s not naked, so a stop porn. You click to more erotic pictures by rationalizing, I’m just looking and can stop when I need to. Then you look at other sites and stimulate yourself by justifying, I’m not hurting anyone until you finally act out with the excuse. At least it’s not with another person. Your excuses gave you permission to take each step toward acting out. What are your common excuses or rationalizations? Write them down and add to the list as you discover new ones. Excuses like, I’m just going to hook up with her one more time. I haven’t done it in a while, so just once. Is it a big deal? These lies keep reinforcing the pathways that make it difficult to ever break free. Once you determine your go to excuses, write out for each one why it is in fact a destructive lie.

Speaker 1:                           07:50                     This will help you defeat the excuse the next time it comes to mind. Share these rationalizations with your accountability so they can ask you about them as well. You must learn to win the battle of your mind. Whether that is in the form of avoiding worldly media that stirs up your cravings. Taking lustful thoughts captive, not allowing negative self talk that leads to shame or rationalizations that help you justify moving toward acting out in each situation. You need to take every thought captive to evaluate if it helps you obey Christ or not. Obviously, the better you know Christ in his word, the easier it is to notice when something doesn’t meet his standard. Investing time in pursuing Christ in his word will pay huge dividends in winning the battle of your mind.

Speaker 2:                           08:47                     [inaudible].

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