“Stewardship [is] doing the best you can with what you have where you are. . . . Make decisions against yourself.”- Mark Batterson
“Everything is permissible- but not everything is beneficial.”- 1 Corinthians 10:25
Mark Batterson concludes Chapter 6 of If with the assertion that making decisions against yourself “could save you from a hundred if onlys. It could domino into a thousand what ifs.” Mark cites an example from author and pastor Jack Hayford.
About thirty years ago Jack noticed a distinct moment when he felt like God told him to give up chocolate. Jack has followed this personal conviction ever since. He made a simple decision against himself that has helped him to exercise self-control in every other area of his life. Mark quips that “if you can say no to chocolate, you are pretty close to complete sanctification.”
Wanting God’s best means more than just saying no to what is wrong. It means refusing to settle for second best. Good is no longer good enough! But success denotes more risk plus more sacrifice.
Distinguishing between permissible and beneficial can take you from good to great. Settling for what is permissible is the path of least resistance. Greatness is giving God everything you’ve got. More than choosing what’s right, it’s choosing what’s best. Your decision establishes a trend line in your life. The permissible trend line is a one-way street to if only regrets, but the beneficial trend line is the only way to what if possibilities.
Pastor Batterson explains this defining decision must be backed up by daily decisions against yourself and supported by daily spiritual disciplines. As the law of displacement states, in order to break a bad habit you have to build a good one. Mark writes:
“Making a decision against something is only half the battle. The other half is making a decision for something.”
Everything we have belongs to Jesus. The pressure is off us. Jesus will fight our battle for us if we’re walking in obedience.
Today’s question: What spiritual disciplines enable you to make decisions against yourself? Please share.
Tomorrow’s blog: “A beeline for the cross”