Choose Your Battles Wisely
August 19, 2021
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“Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power.”
My wife and I used to have a little saying taped to our bathroom mirror: “Choose your battles wisely.”
There are some battles you need to bow out of. They aren’t worth your time or energy. Then there are battles you cannot afford to surrender. You’ve got to figure out what battlefield you’re willing to die on, then take your stand.
What does any of that have to do with the blessing of God?
I would be doing a disservice if I didn’t address a few common misconceptions about the blessing of God. Some people treat the blessing like a lottery ticket, hoping they’ll get lucky. Of course, that’s nothing more than a well-camouflaged get-rich-quick scheme. Others trivialize the blessing by turning it into some sort of magic trick. They reduce God to a formula: If you do X, God will do Y. The problem with this is that God is predictably unpredictable!
The blessing of God is not good luck; it’s hard work. The blessing of God is not a magic trick; it’s long obedience in the same direction.
And while we’re on the subject, the blessing of God is not a dog or pony show either. God is not impressed with religious showboating. Praying in King James English doesn’t make prayers any more effective. I promise thee that.
The blessing of God cannot be earned any more than our salvation. It’s part of the package deal procured at Calvary’s cross. If you are in Christ, every blessing in the Bible belongs to you. But once you’ve been on the receiving end of God’s grace, you want to give God everything you’ve got. One-quarter of that equation is loving God with all your strength, which equates to blood, sweat, and tears. I might even add calories to the mix.
The French chemist Louis Pasteur is famous for saying, “Fortune favors the prepared mind.”
In the same spirit, God blesses those who are willing to break a sweat for what they believe in. You can’t just pray like it depends on God. You also have to work like it depends on you. The blessing of God doesn’t just fall into our laps. Yes, God “gave” the Israelites the Promised Land. But that didn’t mean that the giants in the land threw up the white flag.
Joshua didn’t just fight the battle of Jericho. He fought at least thirteen battles, defeating thirty-one kings in the process. Those kings did not surrender without a fight. And when the people of God had finally won the Promised Land, the fields didn’t just yield their crops without the Israelites having to plant. They had to plow fields and dig wells by the sweat of their brows.
Very rarely are the blessings of God served on silver platters. We have to work for them—and sometimes fight for them with some sisu.
Excerpted from Double Blessing. Copyright © 2019 by Mark Batterson. Used by permission of Multnomah, an imprint of Penguin Random House LLC.
Mark Batterson serves as lead pastor of National Community Church in Washington, DC. NCC also owns and operates Ebenezers Coffeehouse, The Miracle Theatre, and the DC Dream Center. Mark holds a doctor of ministry degree from Regent University and is the New York Times bestselling author of 17 books, including The Circle Maker, Chase the Lion, and Whisper. Mark and his wife, Lora, have three children and live on Capitol Hill.