Have you ever "taken ground" just to find yourself "giving it back" almost quicker than you were able to take it in the first place? In professional football, the team may move the ball a little further toward the goal with each tactical maneuver called a "play". In one move, their total efforts of multiple plays can suddenly be turned around to the other team gaining the ground they once were able to call their own. Why? There was a technical mistake - such as a team member being "off-side", or perhaps a missed play which allowed for the quarterback to be "sacked" behind the line of scrimmage. Either way, ground is given up because of the missed play or the technicality of being a little too "ahead" of the game. Ground is "given back" and the team starts all over again to move the ball back toward the goal. Now, some may call this futility, but if you are a fan of football, you almost expect to see a little of this now and again. Why? Simply stated, we cannot expect to run toward the goal "unopposed" - the opposite team will ALWAYS want to impede your progress!
Christ has set us free to live a free life. So take your stand! Never again let anyone put a harness of slavery on you. (Galations 5:1 MSG)
Christ has set us free to live a free life - placed us in a position to start running toward the goal. There is careful and purposeful placement - designed to advance us toward the goal - but be assured, every advancement we make will not always be unopposed! As free men and women, set free by the work of Christ in our lives, we have a "legal right" to be moving toward the goal line. It is like the "coin toss" has landed in our favor - we have the right to move the ball toward the goal because it has been declared to be "in our possession". In movement comes equal and opposite movement. I think this is a law of nature. Every action lends itself to an opposite reaction.
There are things which oppose us actually reaching the goal. Things like reputation, since we are "known" in a certain way, it may be difficult to move past this "label" in our lives. A "losing" team has a great deal of difficult actually keeping a positive attitude and coming out strong each time they take the field. Why? The "reputation" or the way they are "known" influences every step they take - it is an "uphill battle" to turn the way they have been "labeled" into a new "label". The same is true in our lives whenever reputation opposes our progress toward freedom in Christ.
Maybe our opposing force is our own fear. If you have ever squared off in front of some intimidating linebackers on the field, you might just realize the fear they invoke in you as you consider how you will maneuver around or through their massive size. We all face "linebackers" in life - things which invoke fear and almost paralyze us on the spot. The most successful movement of the ball forward when the linebackers are opposing your progress is not always "through" them, it might just be "around" them. Sometimes we don't take steps forward because we think we have to go "through" the stuff which causes us so much fear. In reality, we might just need a well-planned maneuver to "get over" them!
Free movement is only possible once we realize we are no longer confined! When we can finally see a way "around" or "over" those things which cause us opposition in life, we are in position to finally begin to take ground. We are no longer content to be "detained" in our progress! I think this is what God has in mind when he challenges us to take time to consider our steps, then allow him to order them for us. He is giving us the "play" which will actually help us move "around" or "over" those things which both invoke fear and which impede our progress toward the goal. Living free means we put into practice what we have been given - we move away from the opposition and break free of their hold!
Those who have been set free are called to take a stand. Ground is only given back when you aren't careful in guarding what has already been declared to be yours! When we "take" something we are getting it into our possession and exerting a certain powerful control over it. It has been transferred into our keeping - but what is given must not be given back by neglect or moves which suggest a lack of careful planning. When we stand, we are taking a position - we are moving into a place where we are able to see clearly and understand more fully. When we take our stand in Christ, we are in a position to gain ground because of the actions taken and the commitment to continue those actions. We only give back what we don't continue to take actions to hold onto!
Freedom is a lifestyle - the desire to fulfill life through any other means than by continually taking ground and holding onto the ground we have already had declared "ours" is silliness. We must be sure we don't trade the advantages of a free life for the obligations of having to take the ground over and over again. That is called slavery! Freedom carries an obligation to be obedient to do what we know to do - consistently and repeatedly. It is in the consistent and repeated steps we take that we come to recognize the strategies of our opposition! When we recognize the opposing force in our lives, we can take the necessary actions to overcome the opposition.
Freedom animates us. It puts a certain "umph" in every step we take. When the player with the ball begins to break free of the opposing team's influence, there is an energizing force which begins to almost make the exertion of moving down-field almost disappear. The energizing influence of God's presence with us carries us when we are able to begin to break free of the frightening appearance of those things which oppose our progress. It is just that we have to get beyond them a little in order to begin to take ground! So, today I am not sure what stands as a opposing force in your life, but I know the skill of the one calling the plays for you! He is sure to guide you into the ground-taking movements which will allow you to see beyond that opposition. You just need to execute the plays as he calls them! Just sayin!