If is a powerful little word. Some people are stuck in “if only,” trudging through lives marked with regret. But God wants us to live lives marked with possibilities, with the “what if” attitude that looks forward to the future with confidence. Why? Because the answer to “If God is for us, who can be against us?” is “No one.” God is always on our side. Every day, in every way.
With his trademark enthusiasm and contagious joy, Mark Batterson helps readers overcome feelings of guilt, fear, and doubt, because in Christ there is no condemnation. Unpacking the promises of Romans 8, he shows readers that they are more than conquerors–right now and forever. And because of that, the possibilities for their lives are limitless.
Christians from all walks of life will find themselves set free by this inspiring and entertaining read. Now in paper.
Mark Batterson has done it again – in his newest book If: Trading Your If Only Regrets for God’s What If Possibilities, author Mark Batterson uses Romans 8 and the powerful little word “if” to challenge readers to live the Christian life with more obedience, faith, and abandonment. I had originally heard of Mark Batterson when I read his book, The Grave Robber, compliments of Family Christian Stores. (See my review of The Grave Robber HERE.)
When I started reading If, I realized fairly quickly that that each chapter could serve as a single teaching on its own. I decided right from the start that I would write down a main point from each chapter so I could go back and refer to those notes to remind myself of the truths shared in each chapter. “If” is a book full of life changing words and sayings and I love Mr. Batterson’s style of sharing them. If goes through the “Great Eight” which is Romans Chapter 8 of The Bible, taking it sentence by sentence and delving deeper into that meaning. Sort of like a very expanded commentary.
Mark Batterson says you can change your life with one simple word- if. He says, “At the end of your life, your greatest regret won’t be the things you didn’t but wish you hadn’t. Your greatest regret will be the things you didn’t do but wish you had. It’s the what if dreams that we never act upon that turn into if only regrets.”
According to Mr. Batterson, if happens in three forms: if only, as if, and what if.
If only represents the regrets that occur when people wish they would have done something positive or impactful, but didn’t. It is the form of if that turns up when you are filled with remorse after a lifetime of missed opportunities. The danger of if only is that it leaves us stagnant, never making a positive impact on the world or on others. People who are stuck in if only have what many would call good, Christian lives. However, you can spend your whole life doing nothing wrong and still do nothing right. You can trudge through this world and be marked with regret.
The next form of if is as if. The as if mindset occurs when we think of our possibilities through the lens of faith. When you think with an as if mindset, you are imagining what could happen, and believing that God could do it. We accomplish as if by using what Mark Batterson calls the “Anchoring Effect” with God’s promises. This basically means using God’s promises as a reference point for our faith. Using the hope of God as our anchor gives perspective of how much God can do. We also accomplish as if by realizing that Jesus thinks more of our ability than we do ourselves. Thus, we must have “big” faith to accomplish what he wants to do in us.
The final form of if is called what if. What if represents the dreams that come true when something you desire actually occurs. Mr. Batterson gives several tips to help readers reach what if. He says we should always rely on God for the what if. In his words, “A God idea is better than a good idea.” He says God’s idea will always be bigger than what we imagine because God answers even our “unintended” prayers. Finally, even though we know what if will eventually occur, sometimes it seems hard to wait. When waiting on what if, be patient. The longer you wait, the easier it is to wait just a little longer.
Moving from if only to what if is important because, “It’s your ifs that open the doors of opportunity for others, most of whom you won’t meet on this side of eternity. But make no mistake about it; every little if makes an exponential difference across time and eternity. History is like an intricately interwoven tapestry with infinite patterns that only the Omniscient One can see and foresee- but if threads the needle. Your ifs don’t just change the trajectory of your life; they change the course of history.”
In If, Batterson shows readers that they are more than conquerors — right now and forever — and because of that, the possibilities for their lives are limitless. Readers from all walks of life will find themselves inspired in whatever endeavor they embark on — in work, relationships and leisure. Mr. Batterson’s book, If, was both challenging and inspiring, and helps readers understand how to live a life without regrets and be more focused on Christ. I highly recommend this book to anyone wanting to make some serious changes in their life by letting go of their regrets!
About Mark Batterson: New York Times bestselling author Mark Batterson is the author of 11 books, including The Circle Maker, In a Pit with a Lion on a Snowy Day, Wild Goose Chase, The Grave Robber and Jack Staples and the Ring of Time. Batterson serves as lead pastor of National Community Church (www.theaterchurch.com) in Washington, DC, one church with seven campuses. Batterson holds a Doctor of Ministry degree from Regent University. He is married to Lora and they live on Capitol Hill. With their three children. For more information, visit www.markbatterson..com. Follow on Twitter, on Facebook and on Instagram.
Remember this – Romans 8:31 tells us that if God is for us, who can be against us?
I received a complimentary copy of this book from Baker Publishing in exchange for my honest review.