7 Reasons "If Only" Is A Cop Out

. .

If only. . .I could have gone to college.

If only. . .I graduated from the right college.

If only. . .I could find a job.

If only. . .I could find a better job.

If only. . .I could make more money.

If only. . .I wasn’t in so much debt.

If only. . .I could find the right church.

If only. . .my spouse understood me better.

If only. . .I could win the lottery.

If only. . .I could catch a break.

Sadly, this kind of list could go on and on.

I’m going to make a statement that I want you to get deep. . .deep down inside of you.

“If Only" is the battle cry of those who woulda, coulda or shoulda . . . but didn't.

Let me say it again. . .as I want you to write it down.

“If Only" is the battle cry of those who woulda, coulda or shoulda . . . but didn't.

The children of Israel said “if only” we had enough to eat.

Exodus 16:3 in the New Living Translation says:

"If only the LORD had killed us back in Egypt," they moaned. "There we sat around pots filled with meat and ate all the bread we wanted. But now you have brought us into this wilderness to starve us all to death."

The children of Israel were continually saying “if only.”

Deuteronomy 28:67 in the New Living Translation says:

“In the morning you will say, ‘If only it were night!’ And in the evening you will say, ‘If only it were morning!’ For you will be terrified by the awful horrors you see around you.”

There are 24 scriptures which contain “if only” in the New Living Translation.  I’m not going to go through them one by one.  However, I would recommend you go to biblegateway.com and do a word search with that exact phrase.

Interestingly enough, seven of the references are in the book of Job.

But let’s move on and not get distracted.

The children of Israel were continuing complaining . . .and saying “if only.”

Yet they forgot the One who delivered and provided for them.  Not only that. . .the children of Israel had access to the One who delivered them.

Having access is of no consequence unless you act on what you have.

Imagine having the key to a brand-new Audi A-8 but the access to this luxury ride won't do you any good unless you turn on the ignition switch.

“If only” is often a lament over what might have been without regard for what still can be.

There have been times in my life when I could have said “I told you so” to someone who ignored my advice, warning or instruction.  I can tell you truthfully that I get absolutely no satisfaction in saying “I told you so” because it means somebody messed up.

Proverbs 5:12-14 in The Living Bible says:

“And you say, "Oh, if only I had listened! If only I had not demanded my own way! Oh, why wouldn't I take advice? Why was I so stupid?  For now I must face public disgrace."

One of the biggest problems is that we get ourselves in trouble. . .and yes, even sin by demanding to do things our way.  We sometimes have this “it’s all about me” kind of attitude.

There have more times than I’d like to remember when “if only” I had listened to my fine wife Bev. . .I could have avoided certain situations and problems.

If there is someone you admire. . .someone you respect. . .someone whose advice you’ve found to be solid and on time. . .listen to the things they are speaking into your life.

If only you will A.S.K.

Matthew 7:8 in The Living Bible says:

“For everyone who asks, receives. Anyone who seeks, finds. If only you will knock, the door will open.”

I find it significant that the word ask is an acronym for ask, seek and knock.

I also find it significant that this verse includes an “if only.”

“. . .If only you will knock, the door will be open.”

Why aren’t more doors opening in our lives?  Could it be because we’re not knocking?

We’re not taking action on what we know to do.

James 4:2 in the New Living Translation says:

” . . .yet you don’t have what you want because you don’t ask God for it.”

An unspoken prayer will always go unanswered.

Proverbs 11:27 in the Amplified Bible says:

He who diligently seeks good seeks [God's] favor, but he who searches after evil, it shall come upon him.”

What you seek you shall find. . .and then have to live with so be careful what you seek.

Revelation 3:20 in the New Living Translation says:

“Look! I stand at the door and knock. If you hear my voice and open the door, I will come in, and we will share a meal together as friends.”

“If only” you will ask, seek and knock you will receive the benefits of His blessings.

How do you receive favor from the Lord?

Zechariah 1:3 in The Living Bible says:

“But he will turn again and favor you if only you return to him.”

How do you return to the Lord?  Even though that’s not the subject of this teaching I will share one scripture with you on this important matter.

Malachi 3:7 in the Amplified Bible which says:

“Even from the days of your fathers you have turned aside from My ordinances and have not kept them. Return to me, and I will return to you, says the Lord of hosts. But you say, How shall we return?”

When we return to God. . .He will return to us.

This verse ends with a question. 

“How shall we return?”

The answer is found in the next four verses. . .Malachi 3:8-11 in the Amplified Bible  says:

“8 Will a man rob or defraud God? Yet you rob and defraud Me. But you say, In what way do we rob or defraud You? [You have withheld your] tithes and offerings.

9 You are cursed with the curse, for you are robbing Me, even this whole nation.

10 Bring all the tithes (the whole tenth of your income) into the storehouse, that there may be food in My house, and prove Me now by it, says the Lord of hosts, if I will not open the windows of heaven for you and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it.”

11 And I will rebuke the devourer [insects and plagues] for your sakes and he shall not destroy the fruits of your ground, neither shall your vine drop its fruit before the time in the field, says the Lord of hosts.

Now let’s go a little further. . .

If does not belong in the vocabulary of born-again, spirit-filled, faith-walking believers.

Need proof. . .consider Mark 9:23 in the Message Bible which says:

“Jesus said, `If? There are no ‘ifs’ among believers. Anything can happen.’

First, ‘if’ is a fear word.

Second, ‘if’ is an excuse before the fact.

Third, ‘if’ is an excuse after the fact.

Let’s look at this verse in the context of what was happening at the time.

Mark 9: 22-24 in the Message Bible says:

“Ever since he was a little boy. Many times it pitches him into fire or the river to do away with him. If you can do anything, do it. Have a heart and help us!” 23 Jesus said, “If? There are no ‘ifs’ among believers. Anything can happen.” 24No sooner were the words out of his mouth than the father cried, “Then I believe. Help me with my doubts!”

On His journey Jesus comes across the father of a young boy who is possessed by an evil spirit.  The father was willing to try anything because the demon is trying to kill his child. 

No doubt, the father had tried every remedy known or previously unknown to him but none of them worked . . . but then He approaches Jesus. . .and he ask, “If you can do anything, do it.” Then Christ answered, “There are no ifs among believers. Anything can happen.” “Then I believe, Help me with my doubts!”

I believe the Lord wants us to know. . .there are no limits. . .no fear. . .if only you trust and obey with no more excuses. Turn your doubts over to Him.