Are You Just Going Through the Motions?

“This might hurt
It’s not safe
But I know that I’ve gotta make a change
I don’t care If I break

At least I’ll be feeling something
‘Cause just ok
Is not enough
Help me fight through the nothingness of life

I don’t wanna go through the motions
I don’t wanna go one more day
Without Your all consuming passion inside of me
I don’t wanna spend my whole life asking
What if I had given everything?
Instead of going through the motions

No regrets
Not this time
I’m gonna let my heart defeat my mind
Let Your love
Make me whole
I think I’m finally feeling something

Take me all the way
Take me all the way
Take me all the way”[1]

     When asked about the story behind his song “The Motions” Matthew West said “I don’t always feel it. Sometimes my faith seems stale. Numb. Sometimes I pray, but I don’t feel connected. I sing, but my song sounds empty. I write, but my words sound cliché. I ask God questions, but I don’t hear answers. I could try to act like I am always so spiritually refreshed and thriving in my relationship with God. But that wouldn’t be honest. That wouldn’t be me.

       Does your faith journey ever have these desert seasons? I think one of the greatest challenges in actively living out a relationship with Christ on earth is to avoid the trap of simply going through the motions. I know what a ‘Christian’ should say. I know how to act. I know how to put up a spiritual front, even if I’m not passionately seeking God. 

     That’s why I wrote this song. I was frustrated and tired of that constant settling for a stale faith. God is a God of passion. His true plan for our lives is anything but boring. Every day, the God of adventure beckons his sons and daughters to quit going through the motions and walk into a life filled with passion and wonder. The last line of the chorus strikes me every time I sing it:

I don’t wanna spend my whole life asking
What if I had given everything
Instead of going through the motions.”

     God desires our all yet sometimes men are just “going through the motions” in their spiritual relationship with our Heavenly Father.  Romans 6:13[2] tells us “Do not offer the parts of your body to sin, as instruments of wickedness, but rather offer yourselves to God, as those who have been brought from death to life; and offer the parts of your body to him as instruments of righteousness.”  This passage gives us three things to remember when it comes to giving our all to God.

       The first thing we have to remember is that we cannot surrender the parts of our bodies to sin.  For men, our eyes and ears often are the first to give way to the temptations of sin.  Oh we may not tell the dirty joke but we stay around and listen as the guys share their latest stories.  We aren’t going on the internet and looking at pornography but when a scantily clad women walks by we don’t miss the chance to take a look.  Maybe we are “sneaking a peek” on websites we have no business visiting but we think it’s our little secret.  These are but a few examples of how we can let one part of our body lead to distancing ourselves from the ability to give our all to our Lord and Savior.  While we may convince ourselves that these things are “our little secrets” there are no secrets from God.

The second thing we have to remember is we were doomed to spiritual death until we accepted Jesus Christ as our personal savior.  Paul tells us “Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God—this is your spiritual act of worship.”[3]  Because of God’s mercy we have been brought from death to an eternal life with Him in heaven.  This means we are to surrender ourselves body, mind and soul to the One who has saved us. It can’t be partial or part-time surrender but total surrender all the time!  Some have described it as “Sold Out for Jesus” and to give our all to Him we have to be sold out completely and totally.

The third thing is we must willingly offer ourselves to do what God desires rather than what we desire.  This is in fact the opposite of the first thing (not surrendering to sin). To give our all we not only have to refuse to surrender our body parts to sin but we must now offer those same body parts as instruments for God’s service.  This literally means saying to God “What would you have me say today,” “Where would you have me go today,” Am I listening to things that are pleasing to you,” Am I looking at the things that will bring honor and glory to you,” “Are my hands doing Your work?”  It is amazing what God can and will do through us when we offer ourselves to His service.  Giving our all is not just the “don’t do’s” regarding sin but the “can do’s” in serving Him.

     So, are you just going through the motions Brother?  God has so much more for you!  Don’t find yourself “settling for a stale faith” as Matthew West describes it.  God wants us to participate in the excitement and adventure in life that only He can provide.  Who better to guide you through the wonders of life than the One who created everything!  I think Matthew West nails it right on the head when he says “God is a God of passion. His true plan for our lives is anything but boring.”  Instead of “going through the motions” try giving your all, pursue Him passionately and enjoy the wonderful journey He has in store for you.

[1] Matthew West, The Motions from the album “Something to Say”

[2] All scripture used in this article is taken from the NIV translation of the Holy Bible unless otherwise noted.

[3] Romans 12:1

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