Measure of Music: Winners Never Quit

This song encourages me in my Christian walk every time I listen to it. In a surprise to no one, I am a sinner. And while I really wish I didn’t, I still fall into sin. Ugly sin. Repeated sin. Even though I have been a believer for as long as I can remember, I still mess up. Sometimes I mess up in the same old ways. Sometimes it feels like it doesn’t get any easier. What is up with that whole “sanctification” thing anyway? As I grow in Christ, am I not supposed to be sanctified? Aren’t I supposed to be cleansed of my unrighteousness like it says in 1 John 1:9? Doesn’t Romans 6:2 say that I died to sin? And am I not called to holiness in 2 Corinthians 7:1 and Matthew 5:48?

I’ll be honest. Sometimes, I do not see a lot of progress in my own sanctification. Sometimes, I feel like I see regress. That sucks. Ephesians 4:1 says God wants us to live a life worthy of the call we have received. If I continue messing up, despite my best efforts, am I really doing that? Sometimes it seems like I should give up. Like the path is too narrow and the way is too steep. Like I am banging my head against a wall of sin that I will never get around.

Even when I do experience victory over sin, I feel like it may only be temporary. When I hear the line “Save your applause for the end of the show,” in Pedro the Lion’s “Winners Never Quit,” I think about that. I am fearful of celebrating the victories because another defeat may be just around the corner. I don’t know how it ends. I don’t know if I win. If I match up to the standards I am called to.

But then I remember what the Christian life is really about: Grace. “Count it a blessing that you’re such a failure. Your second chance might never have come.” This line has brought me to tears. Our failures and successes do not define us. Grace does. Christ does. This is what Paul talks about in Philippians 3:9-10 and 12-14:

And be found in him [Christ], not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ – the righteousness that comes from God on the basis of faith. I want to know Christ – yes, to know the power of his resurrection and participation in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death…Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.

God is not keeping score. Jesus accomplished the perfection towards which we strive. Our faith in His faithfulness is our righteousness. His grace covers all. God redeemed us. He took hold of us. He called us. No matter how many times we screw up on the way to the goal, remember what a blessing it is to be reminded of our daily need for grace. Press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of you.

–Ben Honken

Measure of Music is a recurring blog where we examine the deeper meaning of song. We don’t believe that music needs labels like “Christian” or “Secular”; all art can be beautiful, and all art can point to the Author of beauty. Proverbs 24:32 says, “I applied my heart to what I observed and learned a lesson from what I saw.” This is what we seek to do with Measure of Music: As we uncover the truths expressed in music we uncover truths about God.

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