My son was a wrestler in high school. Wrestling is a grueling individual sport. When you’re out on the mat, there’s absolutely nobody to hide behind! If you’re skilled and well prepared, everybody knows it. If you are not, well, you know how that goes.
From day one wrestlers are taught about stance and positioning. Not only is it painful to have your head continually shoved into the mat, but there aren’t any moves a person can execute when he’s lying flat on his belly. In such circumstances the coach will continually yell, “Get to your base!” Only when he gets to all fours, will the wrestler be in a position for positive change.
I’ve made it clear that self-sufficiency is not the answer to our ills and that we cannot make ourselves to be better Christians. That doesn’t mean, however, that there is nothing we can do to help facilitate personal growth. The key is to learn to position ourselves for change.
Romans 5:17 is a passage that both inspires and challenges me:
“For if by the transgression of the one, death reigned through the one, much more those who receive the abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness will reign in life through the One, Jesus Christ.” (NASB)
What does Paul say is the requirement for reigning over sin’s power in this life? Receive the abundance of grace and the gift of righteousness! It’s all very simple—and very powerful. So why don’t we see more fruit in the lives of professing Christians? We aren’t positioned to receive.
When the pride of self-sufficiency serves as our underlying motivation, we block the flow of God’s life-giving grace. When we constantly work to earn God’s favor, the gift of righteousness lies unclaimed. When we focus on our guilt and shortcomings, we allow the powers of darkness to shove our faces into the mat. When we fail to trust the promises of God, we lie powerless on our bellies.
If you want to see God move in your life, you’ve got to get to your base to position yourself to receive from God. How is this accomplished? It’s not complicated.
We begin by admitting our need. We don’t have what it takes to defeat our adversary, but surely our God is The Champion! Turning to God, we confess what we’ve just admitted.
But there is another essential factor that we simply cannot ignore—the Word of God. Without the Word we’re toast! This is one of the keys of daily Bible reading. It’s not about trying to be a good Christian or somehow trying to please God. A daily devotional life serves to help position us to receive the abundance of grace and the gift of righteousness. And as we read, we begin to learn the promises of God—especially those which apply to our circumstances.
So let’s imagine (for some this might not be too hard) that you’re at a bad place in life. Your circumstances stink. It seems as though the people around you either don’t understand or don’t care. Hope is fading as you’re nagged by the sinking feeling that even God has abandoned you. Or perhaps you’re facing a mountain that you simply can’t overcome. What do you do? Get to your base!
Go to God in prayer, surrender your will and confess your need. Then turn to the Scriptures and to His promises (Romans 8:26-39 might be a good place to begin). No matter what your circumstances seem to say, stand on His promises, believing that God is absolutely and totally faithful to His Word. Position yourself for change and then watch Him move on your behalf!