Fight: Winning the Battles That Matter Most

Fight: Winning the Battles That Matter Most

by Craig Groeschel


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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780310333746
Publisher: Zondervan
Publication date: 10/22/2013
Pages: 160
Sales rank: 355,403
Product dimensions: 5.70(w) x 8.30(h) x 0.63(d)
Age Range: 18 Years

About the Author

New York Times bestselling author Craig Groeschel is the founding and senior pastor of Life.Church, an innovative and pacesetting church meeting in multiple locations around the United States and globally online, which also created the popular and free YouVersion Bible app. He is the author of several books, including Divine Direction, Liking Jesus, Fight, The Christian Atheist, and It. Craig, his wife, Amy, and their six children live in Edmond, Oklahoma. Visit

Read an Excerpt


winning the battles that matter most

By Craig Groeschel


Copyright © 2013 Craig Groeschel
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-0-310-33374-6



It's not the size of the dog in the fight, it's the size of the fight in the dog.

—Mark Twain



I learned how to fight in the second grade. I was walking home from school one day, minding my own second-grader business. Suddenly, a much larger third-grader, Bo Talbot, loomed before me, planting himself squarely in my path. Bo was only one year older than I was, but I was convinced that his parents had kept him out of school for a few years to be molded by UFC trainers, bruisers who gave him steroids to snack on between weightlifting sessions.

Bo grabbed my shirt with one hand, drawing his other hand back into a fist the size of a wrecking ball. Through clenched teeth, he snarled, "Groeschel, are you gay?"

Since it was 1975 and I was only eight years old, I wasn't really sure what gay meant. As my mind raced to respond, I landed on my mom's one lifelong rule: always tell the truth. Squinting up at him, bracing myself for his fist's meteoric impact, I stammered, "I-I-I'm not sure. C-c-can I get back to you tomorrow?"

Truth can be a dazzling weapon. Bo was startled by my stalling tactic. He stood there for several seconds, frozen like a statue of a Greek warrior, mulling it over. After an awkward silence, he released me and said, "Okay. But you better tell me tomorrow." He walked away, and the crisis was temporarily placed on pause.

Whew! Mom was right. Always tell the truth.

Trembling, I scampered home and found my mother piling my dirty socks into the washing machine. My future hanging in the balance, I blurted out my big question, not revealing my near-death experience. As nonchalantly as I could, I asked, "Mom, what does gay mean?"

She hesitated—the same way I hesitated recently when my eight-year-old daughter asked me how she got into her mom's tummy before she was born. My mom's hesitation should have raised a red flag for me, but I guess in my heightened state of fear, I overlooked it.

"Honey," she said with calming assurance, "gay just means 'happy.' "

And that was the moment my mom broke her own rule and ruined her perfect record.

Huh. So gay means happy. That made sense to my second-grade mind, even if it seemed strange that a bully would ask about my happiness.

The next day after school, I found myself cornered by Bo once again. Like an actor resuming his place onstage, he stood over me, his fist drawn back, using my shirt collar as a handle. Then he asked the fateful question, drawing out the words for dramatic effect: "Craig, are ... you ... gay?"

I grinned broadly, proud to know how to answer. "Sure am. Been gay my whole life. I'm probably the gayest guy you've ever met!"

I don't remember much of what happened after that. I do remember a ringing sound and a metallic flavor in my mouth, the disinctive taste of blood. I understood then why a cartoon character who gets hit sees stars and sometimes little birds. Bo's wallop gave me a vivid glimpse into the cartoon dimension.

The whole side of my face swelled like a melon. My head weighed twice as much as the rest of my body. As my watery eyes came clear, I blinked there in Bo's shadow, his massive frame still towering over me. He promised there would be plenty more beatings, every day after school for the rest of my life. Then he walked away.

At that moment, I didn't feel very gay at all.

When the dizziness wore off enough that I could stand, I staggered home in shame. My very first fight and I didn't even get a punch in. Getting beaten up was bad enough. Getting beaten up for being happy was infinitely worse.



We love to root for the underdog. We love to see good triumph over evil and courage defeat cowardice. We love to see righteousness prevail and unrighteousness punished. And we love a hero who refuses to give up the fight no matter how impossible the odds.

Right now we're starving for heroes. We're no longer surprised when men we once admired and respected—elected officials, superstar athletes, gifted pastors—tumble in a sex scandal, an embezzlement scheme, or a domestic abuse arrest. We've almost become jaded, half-expecting our leaders and favorite celebrities to be hiding something. Most are, right?

We hope they'll make sacrifices, take risks, and make hard decisions to do the right thing, but we aren't surprised when they don't. We lack real heroes, and Hollywood fills the void with a glut of superheroes—Iron Man and Batman and Thor and Spider-Man and Avengers and X-Men—dazzling us with their powers in 3D and on Blu-ray. But we still long for someone to show us what an authentic flesh-and-blood hero looks like.

Where have all the good men gone?

I read a book recently that suggests that our culture has tried to turn the good men into women—nicer, softer, kinder, more compassionate, and fashion savvy. Forgive me for stating the obvious, but men are not women. (For the record, women don't make good men either.) After all, God created us differently. "So God created human beings in his own image. In the image of God he created them; male and female he created them" (Gen. 1:27 NLT). Both men and women reflect the image of God, but in distinct ways.

I'm convinced that one of the most profound ways has to do with how we use our manhood. God created men to have the heart of a warrior, placing a desire within us to stand up and fight for what's pure, for what's true. A man has a warrior's heart. You have a warrior's heart. You itch for a fight. That's God's design, not ours. That doesn't mean that men should be aggressive, alpha-bully punks. (Nor does it mean that women can't fight for what's right as well.) It simply means that within every man, God has planted a divine desire to fight for righteousness.

Think about it this way. There are two kinds of movies: chick flicks and, well, everything else. Do chick flicks inspire men? Do they make them want to be stronger, braver, better men? Remember that Cary Grant movie, An Affair to Remember? Remember when Deborah Kerr's character says, "If you can paint, I can walk—anything can happen, right?" Have you ever known a guy to watch that movie? If you're a guy, you don't even know what I'm talking about, do you?

What about in Pride and Prejudice when Keira Knightley's character says to her new husband, "You may only call me 'Mrs. Darcy' when you are completely and perfectly and incandescently happy." And he responds with, "Then how are you this evening ... Mrs. Darcy?" and kisses her on the forehead. And then, "Mrs. Darcy," as he kisses her on the cheek. And then, "Mrs. Darcy," as he kisses her on the nose. Again, if you're a guy, you have no idea what I'm talking about, right? Or if you do know, you're trying hard to forget.

What about Braveheart? Mel Gibson, blue-faced, says, "Fight, and you may die. Run, and you'll live. At least a while. And dying in your beds, many years from now, would you be willing to trade all the days, from this day to that, for one chance—just one chance—to come back here and tell our enemies that they may take our lives [raising his sword over his head], but they'll never take our freedom?"

Remember Gladiator? Russell Crowe, in his cool Roman general uniform, spurs his horse forward through the forest, calling, "Brothers, what we do in life echoes in eternity!"

For men, there's a part of us that thinks, I wish I could have been there. I would have fought. You don't have to hide it from me. A part of me thinks that too. You know why? Because that's how we're wired. Men are supposed to respond that way. A man with nothing to fight for quickly becomes a frustrated man, often without a clue as to why.

Fighting for what's right stirs something inside a man. It makes him want to be not just a man but the man. The best man he can be. A man knows deep inside himself what God wants him to be: a hero with a warrior's heart.



A few months after my wife, Amy, and I got married, something dawned on her that she hadn't thought of before: she had married a man. I do things a lot differently than women do. We'd been married four years when it finally came to a head. We had just gotten our first dishwasher, and one day I foolishly attempted to load it by myself. I thought I was helping, but I didn't realize there's a right way to load a dishwasher and, apparently, a wrong way. I figured, just stuff everything in, start it, and you're good.

When Amy saw my attempt to be helpful, she gasped. "Craig! You loaded it all wrong!"

"Wrong? How could it be wrong?" We had a little spat, which ended with her sighing and saying, "Oh, Craig, you're just such a ... a man!" I thought, Uh, hello! Darn right, I'm a man. For years, scenarios just like this one played out, with her doing things her way and me doing things like a man. Eventually, she'd say, "Couldn't you just do this more like a woman?" One day I finally got fed up. "You should have married a woman. I'm never gonna be able to do this like a woman."

Then one time when Amy and I were having one of these differences of opinion, it looked like it was going to end like it always did—in a draw. But then my amazing wife said something so profound, it changed my life. "Craig," she said, "I want you to know something. Right now, as of this moment, I am choosing to one hundred percent completely embrace you as the man that God created you to be. I won't ask you to be anything else." From that moment on, our marriage improved like you wouldn't believe.

Let me clarify something here. I'm not saying men are better and they need to lord over women like tyrants. I'm not saying women are better and need to emasculate their husbands. I'm simply saying that we're different, and since it was God who made us this way, that's a good thing. That day, Amy recognized the difference, and she empowered me to embrace the fullness of being God's man for her and for our family. So let me say a couple more things that you need to know as you read along.

Guys, this book is for you. The last thing you need is another book, podcast, motivational CD, or even Bible study that tells you how to be a man of God in four easy steps. That's not what we're doing here. We're focusing on the core issue that I'm convinced will motivate you deep within your heart: being a warrior and knowing when and how to fight.

If you read this book, you will uncover who you really are—a man created with a warrior's heart in the image of God—and how to fight the good fight for what's right. You will find the strength to fight the battles you know you need to fight—the ones that determine the state of your heart, the quality of your marriage, and the spiritual health of your family. The battles that make you dependent on God as the source of your strength. The battles that make you come alive.

Ladies, if you're reading this book, you probably should put it down. It's not for you.

Put it down. Please. Now.

I'm serious.

You're still reading, aren't you?

I understand, and really I want you to keep reading. Just like I wanted Amy to understand that I can never be anything other than a man, I believe most husbands want their wives to recognize the same about them. So if you're going to keep reading, I hope you will use this as an insider's guide to help your man fight the right battles. And not just to fight them but to win them. I hope you'll empower him to be who God made him to be.

If you do, he will exceed your wildest dreams. He'll blow your old expectations away. So if you're going to keep reading, please don't try to make him into what you think you want. Just encourage him to be the man God created him to be. Simply recognize that God put something different inside him: the heart of a warrior.



The Bible says that God is a God of mercy and grace. And in Exodus we're told that "the Lord is a warrior; the Lord is his name" (15:3, emphasis mine). So if we're created in God's image, as we saw in Genesis, then we too are warriors as part of our nature. Again, I'm not saying that women can't be warriors too. It's just that being a warrior is core to men's identity. It's not just a cultural, patriarchal thing. It's a God thing, inherent in our Creator's design.

Consider what the Bible has to say about fathers, another term that's used to describe God as well as men. Psalm 127:4–5 says, "Like arrows in the hands of a warrior are sons born in one's youth. Blessed is the man whose quiver is full of them. They will not be put to shame when they contend with their enemies in the gate" (NIV 1984, emphasis mine).


And then there's the greatest warrior who ever lived, Jesus. Many of us imagine Christ based on the pictures we've seen painted of him, meek and mild, smiling. Children gathered at his feet adoring him. Sheep flitting about on the hillsides around him. Healing the sick, comforting the poor. Just a gentle force for good wherever he floats.

I'm exaggerating (but only slightly). If you look at the life of Christ, he was not a divine doormat. Imagine Jesus, with righteous anger, violently toppling the tables of the corrupt money changers in his Father's temple. Or consider this picture of Christ's return as envisioned by John: "I saw heaven standing open and there before me was a white horse, whose rider is called Faithful and True. With justice he judges and wages war. His eyes are like blazing fire, and on his head are many crowns.... He is dressed in a robe dipped in blood, and his name is the Word of God.... Coming out of his mouth is a sharp sword with which to strike down the nations. 'He will rule them with an iron scepter.' ... On his robe and on his thigh he has this name written: KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS" (Rev. 19:11–16).

This is the Good Shepherd, meek and mild? If you're like most Christians, you're probably thinking, That's not how I picture Jesus, as some wild warrior leading with a war cry. Christians aren't supposed to fight back. Whatever happened to turning the other cheek?

Turning the other cheek comes from Matthew 5:38–39, where Jesus teaches, "You have heard that it was said, 'Eye for eye, and tooth for tooth.' But I tell you, do not resist an evil person. If someone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to them the other cheek also."

Certainly Jesus is the promised Prince of Peace (Isa. 9:6). God's mercy and compassion are new every morning (Lam. 3:22–23). God has given us so much more than we could ever deserve, sacrificing his own Son for our sins (John 1:29; 3:16; Heb. 10:10).

These and other truths have led many people to imagine Jesus as meek and mild, a poor Galilean carpenter who played with children and tended sheep. The problem with this depiction is not so much that it is inaccurate as that it is incomplete. Such a "snapshot" of Jesus typically comes from just a few Bible verses (sometimes even just one verse). That kind of cherry-picking can give us only part of the whole picture.

We must consider all of what the Bible tells us to fully appreciate God's character and Jesus' example. This is what we'll be doing throughout this book: looking not only at the life of Christ but also at the life of someone who bore some startling similarities to most men today—our good buddy Samson. Yep, the dude with the rippling biceps and hippie hair and a thing for Delilah. You may be surprised by how much we have in common with this guy. Things didn't turn out so well for him in the end, but by looking at his life, we'll learn how to defeat the demons that make strong men weak. We'll learn how to become who God made us to be: men who know how to fight for what's right.

Excerpted from Fight by Craig Groeschel. Copyright © 2013 Craig Groeschel. Excerpted by permission of ZONDERVAN.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Table of Contents


SECTION 1 FIGHT LIKE A MAN....................          

1.1 Fight Like a Man....................     9     

1.2 Holding Out for a Hero....................     12     

1.3 Be the Man....................     15     

1.4 We Are the Warriors....................     18     

1.5 Smackdown on the Slayground....................     21     

1.6 Pick Your Battles....................     25     

1.7 Fight Club....................     29     

SECTION 2 STRONG MEN WITH WEAK WILS....................          

2.1 Strong Men with Weak Wills....................     33     

2.2 Super Powers....................     36     

2.3 Kinds of Kryptonite....................     40     

2.4 Wander Lust....................     43     

2.5 Crossing the Lion....................     49     

2.6 Pride, No Prejudice....................     53     

2.7 Weak Is the New Strong....................     59     

SECTION 3 SPIRIT-LED, NOT EMO-DRIVEN....................          

3.1 Spirit-Led, Not Emo-Driven....................     65     

3.2 Shoot First....................     67     

3.3 Riddle Me This....................     70     

3.4 Anger Management....................     73     

3.5 Slinging Jawbones....................     78     

3.6 Drowning in Despair....................     81     

3.7 All about Me....................     85     

SECTION 4 SMALL STEPS, BIG DESTRUCTION....................          

4.1 Small Steps, Big Destruction....................     93     

4.2 One Day....................     96     

4.3 Step by Step....................     100     

4.4 Don't Taunt the Enemy....................     103     

4.5 Hey There, Delilah....................     107     

4.6 Hidden Costs....................     112     

4.7 Weapons of War....................     117     

SECTION 5 FAILING FORWARD....................          

5.1 Failing Forward....................     125     

5.2 The Blind Side....................     128     

5.3 The Rising Cost of Regret....................     132     

5.4 Just Walk Away....................     136     

5.5 Text Appeal....................     139     

5.6 Pillar Talk....................     144     

5.7 The Warrior's Prayer....................     148     

Acknowledgments....................     151     

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