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Musical Musing- Switchfoot “I Dare You To Move”

February 26, 2009

Dare You To Move

For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out.

As far as the east is from the west, so far has He removed our transgressions from us.

We are our one of our worst enemies. Pair that with our other great enemy, the one whose name means “the accuser” and you have a recipe for defeat and disaster, one that has been cooking longer than we’ve been breathing. But tonight isn’t about spiritual warfare, it’s about confronting the one enemy we can do something about: ourselves.

Failure, left to itself, breeds more failure. It takes effort to overcome. If I’ve tried something once and failed, it’s easier to just give up than it is to talk myself into getting up and trying again. It’s why we’ve got the tired and clichéd phrases like “get back up on the horse” or “if at first you don’t succeed, try, try again.” Let’s face it; every time we fall short, it’s far easier to just lay there than it is to get up. It’s safer-you don’t have as far to fall if you never got up, right?

Wrong.

You see, the better picture isn’t one of falling off your horse (or your bike) and laying on solid ground that isn’t going anywhere, but of falling out of a boat into moving water. There is no standing still, or laying still, in life. If you’re not moving forward, you’re being dragged backwards.

Have you ever been on a beach as the waves rolled in? If you stand on the shore, you may not realize what’s happening, but if you were out swimming in the water, you probably found yourself carried farther out than you realized faster than you intended. It’s called the undertow, and it’s the backwash of every wave. See, as the waves crash forward with all of that power, they’re actually a circle of current, and the energy carrying them forward circles backwards, too. If you’re not aware and working to counteract it, the same energy that carried the wave to land will carry you out to sea as it returns the energy back out. So you can’t fall down and stay down; you fall down, Beloved, and you get swept away; you drown.

Makes failure even harder to overcome, doesn’t it? Now you not only have to overcome your shortcomings, but you have to work against forces that would pull you deeper and deeper… no wonder depression is such an overwhelming and prevalent problem.

Paul talked about this problem of being overwhelmed in Romans. He knew what was right. He knew what he was supposed to do, but it was so hard to do it, and once he messed up, it was often easier to keep messing up rather than start over. It’s like being on a diet and blowing it… it’s easier once you’ve cheated to justify cheating the rest of the day, then the rest of the week, then the rest of the month… then you’ll start over next year… it just spirals out of control. “I have the desire to do what is good,” he said, “but I cannot carry it out.” What’s worse, he added, “the evil I do not want to do – this I keep on doing”!

I’ve known that feeling of life seeming to spiral out of my own control. I know what I should be doing, but for whatever reason, I just can’t seem to bring myself to do it. Or I know what I shouldn’t be doing, but for whatever reason, I can’t bring myself to stop. It tastes too good. It’s too much fun. Who cares why I do it… I know I shouldn’t, and I do it anyway.

So all of this sounds like fatalistic bad news, right? We mess up, we’re stuck. We get caught up in the undertow, we’re going to be dragged out to sea and drown. Paul was no different; why should we even try to live the “Christian” life? Why should we try to be good if we’re only ever going to fail? “Shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase?”

Oh, come on, like you couldn’t guess where I was going with this? Absolutely you should NOT! Look at the title! I dare you to MOVE! I’m challenging you to overcome your own stagnation, your own tendencies to failure, and calling you to fight the undertow. I’m invoking the clichés: Get back on your bike and ride! Try, try again and again and again. Ignore Yoda… if all you can do is try, keep trying, Beloved!

Yes, I know, I just spent an entire page telling you that failure breeds failure. I just told you how the undertow drags you out to sea to drown you. I told you that if you fall down, you don’t lay still, you get dragged backwards… I made very clear how difficult it is to overcome your failures. Hopefully, I also made clear how high the stakes are. Your life is on the line, Beloved! Get over yourself and GET UP! MOVE before stagnation is your death!

But that’s not the end of what I have to say tonight. You thought I forgot that second verse, didn’t you? I didn’t, and while that’s the second half of tonight’s challenge, it’s also the best news I have to offer in the midst of this despair.

Where does “west” end and “east” begin? How far is it from the west to the east? How far can your mind fathom? That’s how much distance God promises to put between us and our sins. Not certain that’s good enough? What about this: “I…blot out your transgressions… and remember your sins no more”. God chooses to not remember our failures. Beloved, that’s like falling out of a boat in a storm and discovering you can walk on water! You don’t get dragged back by the undertow because you’re above it. God’s love and God’s grace gives you a chance to actually overcome your failures… not by your abilities, but by His grace!

That just leaves me with one last point: if God chooses to forget your failures, who do you suppose is the one trying to drag you down under the waves by reminding you of them? Either you aren’t letting them go, or you’re letting the Accuser win battles in your life by dragging you under waves that God set you to walk above. You get a fresh start every time you confess your shortcomings to God… don’t throw that away by dragging out dirty laundry He’s washed clean.

Beloved, it’s time to get up and move. It’s time to live as though you’ve never failed… because if you’ve confessed your failures to God, He’s giving you the chance to start over, just as if you’ve never failed. This could be your life, covered in the extravagant love and stunning grace of God. Just get up, Beloved. MOVE.

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