#41 - "The Motions" by Matthew West
Matthew West talks with NRT's Kevin Davis about his hit song, "The Motions."

"The Motions" by Matthew West is the current number one song in Christian music and has been the top song for the past 3 months. It is the second number one song from Matthew's album, Something To Say

Matthew West catapulted onto the Christian music scene in 2003 with his debut single, "More," which was the most played Christian song of 2003, and "You Are Everything" was the most played Christian song of 2008. I’ve been a fan of Matthew’s work since his debut and his current hit, "The Motions," has moved me the most of any of his songs. I got the opportunity to ask Matthew some questions about the song and this is what he shared with me.

Please tell me about the background of writing, "The Motions."

A couple years ago I wrote a monthly column for CCMabout songwriting and life. One month, my column was about how easy it is to just go through the motions when I'm writing a song. As the column progressed, I talked about how the same is true in our walk with Christ. A while later, I was getting together to write with my good friends Sam and Jason, and we began talking about some of the things we were facing. Sam said at one point, "I'm just tired of going through the motions." Immediately I thought about the column I had written. I pulled it out and read it to them, and our song was written a few hours later. We knew then it was something special because it really spoke to us.

Is there a personal story behind the message of that song?

My dad is a preacher, and I've pretty much spent my whole life in the church. I'm so thankful for the upbringing I had, but one of the struggles for a preacher's kid, or someone who grows up in church, is not growing stale in your faith. Over the years, I've gotten great at looking, talking and acting like a good Christian, and making everyone around me think I've got it all together. But God sees the real condition of my heart, and even if I can fool other people, I can't fool Him. He knows if I'm really pursuing a passionate relationship with Him or if I'm just going through the motions. We'll never realize God's amazing plan for our lives if we live a lukewarm life. Life's too short to go through the motions.

Do you have a life verse that you used in writing the song?

John 10:10
The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.

It's plain and simple, His plan for us is to live our life to the fullest!

What's the takeaway message for listeners regarding this song?

Judging by the response to the song, I can tell I'm not the only Christian who finds themselves going through the motions in life. I have been so inspired to hear stories from people who have been inspired to make a change. The bottom line is, life is too short to go through the motions. The last line of the chorus poses a specific challenge. "I don't wanna spend my whole life asking, 'What if I had given everything, instead of going through the motions?'"

Here are the lyrics to "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 okay is not enough
Help me fight through the nothingness of life

Chorus: 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
'Cause just okay is not enough
Help me fight through the nothingness of this life


Take me all the way
(Take me all the way)
Take me all the way
('Cause I don't wanna go through the motions)
Take me all the way
(Lord, I'm finally feeling something real)
Take me all the way

Chorus 2x

Take me all the way
(Take me all the way)
Take me all the way
(I don't wanna go, I don't wanna go)

Take me all the way
(Through the motions)
Take me all the way
I don't wanna go through the motions

I have friend named Steve who is currently serving as a missionary at an orphanage in South Africa. I’ve known him since he was in the second grade, and now he is 20 years old and living the best he can to share the gospel and be the "hands and feet" of Jesus. Ever since I met him, at age 8, I discovered that he had a real heart for Jesus, and we immediately bonded over the music of Jars of Clay.

He wanted to start playing guitar and asked my wife Jennifer, his second grade teacher, to teach him how to play Jars of Clay on guitar. We’ve been friends ever since and have always bonded over Christian music. 

Steve’s motto, which keeps him going while he is living for Jesus thousands of miles away from the comfort of the United States, is the last line of the chorus of "The Motions." I think anyone who considers themselves followers of Jesus can benefit from asking themselves that same question: "I don't wanna spend my whole life asking, 'What if I had given everything, instead of going through the motions?'"
You can watch the video for the song here.

Kevin Davis is a long time fan of Christian music as well as, movies, TV shows and multiple PodCasts. He currently lives in Pennsylvania with his wife and three daughters.

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