Double Blessing (Multnomah, 2019)
Double Blessing: How to Get It. How to Give It. is the latest book by Mark Batterson, lead pastor of National Community Church in Washington, D. C. Academically, Pastor Batterson holds a doctor of ministry degree from Regent University. In his Introduction, Mark notes that God’s original blessing to Adam and Eve existed before original sin. Furthermore, that first blessing sets the tone, sets the table. Above all, this blessing reveals God’s most ancient instinct. Thus, blessing represents God’s default setting – His first and foremost reflex. For us, the author stresses, blessing involves a decision to make, a habit to form, and a mindset to establish. However, Mark underscores, God blesses us to raise our standard of giving, not our standard of giving.
Consequently, the secret of double blessing consists of flipping the blessing. In other words, God blesses us so we can bless others. But, Pastor Batterson counsels, the blessing of God doesn’t function as a substitute for prayer. Instead, the blessing of God serves as a supplement to praying like everything depends on God and working like everything depends on us. Also, good old-fashioned obedience provides the best way to position yourself for God’s blessing. As author Eugene Peterson observes, the blessings of God always catch up with obedience in the same direction. Most significantly, Mark encourages, each blessing of God is uniquely fitted to you. As a result, that helps you perform to the best of your God-given ability.
Hence, when you flip the blessing, that takes the pressure off you and puts the ball in God’s court. It enables you to live with holy anticipation as you wait to see what God will do. No matter what your calling, God wants to anoint you to do it. Plus, God wants to bless you beyond what you can ask or imagine – because He loves you. So, there’s nothing more important than discerning God’s heart toward you. Believing who God says you are establishes the key to a healthy, holy identity. And, Mark asserts, if you really know the God of blessing, it’s impossible to resist His unconditional, unrelenting love. For if we fail to value God’s blessing above all else, the author cautions, we sell our souls for a cheap substitute.
Finally, Pastor Batterson states, faith takes gratitude to the next level. Faith praises God before He acts. While faith includes following in the footsteps of Jesus, faith also takes the lead. And, if necessary, faith demonstrates the willingness to go it alone. Yet, the author acknowledges, not every attempt at blessing turns out. If some backfire, so be it. Just pick up the pieces and continue to lead with a blessing. Generosity flows from the inside out, with the conviction of the Holy Spirit the catalyst. We also need God’s gift of peripheral vision to spot the divine appointments that surround us all the time. God’s ancient instinct never changes. There’s nothing He desires more than giving you the full blessing. Mark concludes his book with this succinct summary of the double blessing:
“Count your blessings. Flip your blessings. Repeat as often as possible!”