If: Trading Your If Only Regrets (Baker Books, 2015)
If: Trading Your If Only Regrets for God’s What If Possibilities is the most recent book by Mark Batterson, lead pastor of National Community Church in Washington DC. Although there are 1,784 ifs in the Bible, most of those ifs function as “conditional conjunctions at the front end of God’s promises.” One little if is all that stands between your current circumstances and your wildest dreams. God’s promises frame your reimagined future. With the help of the Holy Spirit, you become the best version of yourself possible. It is within this context that If unpacks the promises of Romans 8.
Mark unpacks Romans 8 by discussing four sequential ifs: If Only; As If; What If; and No Ifs, Ands, or Buts about It. Focusing on our deepest regrets puts us in the solitary confinement of living back then and there. Rather, we must live in the here and now. “Grace,” Pastor Batterson states, “is the catalyst that turns guilt into gratitude.” When regret comes around, make a beeline for the cross. A nuanced appreciation of God’s mercy begins with a nuanced confession of sin.
We tap into the power of as if by setting our minds on the things of the Spirit as we pray, meditate, and memorize the Word of God. However, to be a quick study, you have to go slow. By going slow, the Word will have a longer-lasting effect on you and the quicker your reaction will be to the prompting of the Holy Spirit. In order to accomplish your God-sized goals, keep in lockstep with the Holy Spirit. God strategically places you in the right place at the right time.
Faith is putting God’s promises between you and your circumstances. A God-idea is a divine what if that is beyond your ability to pull it off. But, it isn’t necessarily grand and glorious. The Holy Spirit will open the door to what if opportunity if you open the door to your heart. What if will take longer and be harder to accomplish that you imagined. Yet “waiting for it” strengthens your patience muscle. As a result, the process is made more fulfilling.
Because the battle isn’t yours to lose, you are more than a conqueror. That is your identifier. The battle belongs to Christ , who already has conquered- no ifs, ands, or buts about it. With Christ’s salvation, we go from the guttermost to the uttermost. As Pastor Batterson concludes, “no matter what has died at the hands of sin or Satan, Jesus has rolled away the stone.”