Friday, June 20, 2008

Emotional Inertia

Newton's first law of motion said that a body at rest remains at rest and a body in motion continues in motion in a straight line and at a constant velocity unless acted upon by some force.

Sir Isaac was talking about physical objects, but I am convinced that there is an emotional equivalent to this law.

People want to continue doing what they are already doing. If they are at rest they don't want to start moving. If they are moving, they don't want to change direction or velocity.

It is true for me when my alarm goes off early in the morning. I definitely have an emotional inertia that makes me want to keep lying there in my bed. Only my thoughts about the things I need to do will get me up and going. They are an outside force - moving me ahead.

It is also true in the routines of our lives. It takes some energy to get a routine going. Then, once the routine is well established I don't want to interrupt it our change it. I like routine. I'm used to it. Change is at least mildly uncomfortable and sometimes seems downright painful. Change makes us nervous.

Think about how churches operate. How often do people say things like, "We've never done that before." or "We've always done things this way." This is evidence of emotional inertia.

At Whipple Avenue we are about to begin a community canvassing program. I am feeling the emotional inertia. How will we be received? Will all this work be worth it? What is the benefit? Maybe we should just do the same old things and not try out new things right now?

What we need is an outside force that will act on us and make us get moving. I suggest that the force we need is love. My questions and fears are evidence of my self-love. It is easier for me and less threatening to me to just keep doing the same old routine. But I need a different love to get me moving.

I need a love for God. (Deuteronomy 6:5) "You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength." If I love God like that, I will be more concerned with obeying His will and telling of His glory than I am about my ease and comfort.

I need a love for my neighbors. (Leviticus 19:18) "... you shall love your neighbor as yourself: I am the LORD." It is easy for me to be complacent in my routine. I have a secure future in heaven. Why should I put myself out or risk ridicule by going out in door to door canvassing? One answer should certainly be that people's eternal lives depend on it!

People who are not followers of Jesus Christ are on their way to an eternity of punishment for their sin. If I love them, I should be moved by compassion to at least reach out to them in friendship. Maybe someone will end up changing the course of his or her life because of this simple friendly visit.

The Bible says that we are "living stones." Rocks just lie there, wherever you put them, but we are supposed to show signs of life. Even if you feel emotional inertia, allow the force of your love for God and your love for your neighbors to move you to action.

1 comment:

MomEee said...

Sometimes God puts that outside force upon us too. I often find myself struggling against being changed but God knows what changes are necessary. For His Glory!