Is “must” a command or a condition? We often confuse this.
“You must hold your breath when you go under water.”
This is not a command. It is just a condition of existence. “You must be good rather than evil.” In the same way this is also not a command, but simply a condition of existence. It just “is.” The life you live when you understand that morality is a condition—it is just the state of affairs of Being—not a command, is somehow different. It is outside the zero-sum game of winners and losers, right and wrong, mountains of blessings and curses, morality as a heavy suit of armor you won’t wear, but command others to wear. To escape this, is to see the two mountains well for the game-like nature that it is--to make a show of dividing into two teams and shouting from two mountains equal, but opposing, views of life. This reveals that both are always there, the negative and the positive, always in your landscape. That one does not exist without the other. And in the land of promise, in Paradise, you must always see them. And seeing them—seeing the two opposing mountains of sin and grace—seeing the tree with divided fruit in the center of the garden—helps you understand the paradoxical relationship of law and sin and “so should we sin more to make grace abound?” No. That is missing the point, Paul and Moses are describing—one in theological terms, and one in dramatic terms: One day—one day!—you might be able to escape the place you are and go to the place you were always supposed to be—your home—a place gushing with wonder and peace. In that place you will finally see life; this game; your life for what it is. And then seeing—understanding the spectacle of your mountains; you can begin to experience real life.
At the edge of the swimming pool, imagine being completely under water with bubbles rising all around; weightless and free; enjoying the experience of swimming just for the thing itself; with no ulterior motives. The moment is right before you. So Jump! Smile! Hold your breath! It is not a command. The water is not opposing you. It just is. You and it just are. At the edge of your life, imagine being really alive; celebrating the joys of a victorious race. The moment is now. So Go! RUN! Run for the joy of running itself! LIVE! Run the race! Cast the shouting mountains to the east and to the west! Dance before the ark naked! Pick up five stones and shout in the valley of Elah with the heart of God! Walk in the room with sinners and dine! Neither take the game too seriously like the pharisee nor shun it all together like the nazarite—Do it sincerely, perfectly—like Jesus! You can—you must—CHOOSE LIFE!