in-er-tia (in-ur-shuh) n. the tendency of an object in motion to remain in motion, or an object at rest to remain at rest, unless acted upon by an outside force.
Raise your hand if you have ever tried to get something started. Anything. A group. An initiative. A ministry. How did it go? Was it smooth sailing? Did everyone you talked do follow through on their promises? Did everyone who encouraged you stand by you all the way? Was it as easy as it seemed in your head? Did it last?
If you ever tried Amway or something similar, you know how it goes: you catch the vision, you attempt to impart the vision to your friends, you see reality fall short of the vision, and you eventually throw in the towel, recognizing that all of your friends and acquaintances are, like the Israelites, “a stiff-necked people” who will never get it. It is the same in the church. The problem is not the people, per se, it is inertia.
When you know something is a great idea, you know that God is in it, and you know, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that you have been called to leap forward, that’s when inertia kicks in.
INERTIA PREVENTS INVOLVEMENT
People are subject to physics – when at rest, people tend to remain at rest. We are a busy culture. Folks are tugged in every imaginable direction by attractive pursuits – many of which are, shall we say, less than healthy – leaving very little mental or physical energy for “new ideas.” Even with pursuits that people know are in their best interests, physically, emotionally and spiritually – exercise, prayer, family time, continuing education, evangelism, community service, Bible study – people are hesitant to take on anything new.
INERTIA ENABLES FAILURE
Even when people do, in an attempt to better themselves, undertake something new, they are oftentimes easily derailed by “outside forces.” Right when you seem to have a rhythm, right when you begin to recognize momentum, something knocks you off your bike. Have you ever noticed how almost anything seems like a good reason not to go to the gym? Has it ever seemed almost impossible to find time to pray or read your Bible? Does it ever seem like distractions are drawn to your endeavors like moths to flame? Can I get a witness?
So inertia is evil, right? It is the enemy of success and effectiveness and innovation, correct? No. Like most influences in our lives, inertia is neutral. It is a force of nature we need to master. Money is not “the root of all sorts of evil,” but love of money is. Inertia is not evil, but allowing it to prevent you from following God’s clear direction for you life is.
INERTIA ENABLES MOMENTUM
The same force that keeps things stationary allows things to move. Once something is really going, it is hard to stop. Once in awhile, even an Amway distributor is successful. The right combination of vision and leadership and investment can lead to a “movement.” This is to be encouraged.
INERTIA PREVENTS STAGNATION
If you are really moving, you will be too busy to get bored, too busy to get distracted, and too busy to listen to naysayers. It is in the midst of this kind of inertia that God births revival. This is what Luke was describing in the second chapter of Acts. The Jerusalem church was too busy being the church to get distracted, and in that environment, God “added to their number daily those who were being saved.”
So, if we are to embrace inertia, we must discourage failure and stagnation in favor of involvement and momentum. To do that, we must empower the outside forces that set movements in motion and disable the outside forces that derail them. How do we do that?
FIRST: Step out in faith, take a risk, and trust God.
God blesses faithful risk-taking. No one can promise you an easy run or guaranteed success when you step out, but I will personally guarantee that if you do not step out, nothing will happen.
NEXT: Pray, pray, pray.
Pray for straight, smooth roads with no potholes. Pray for protection from the schemes of the enemy and the distractions of life. Pray for passion, direction and perseverance. And when you face curves, potholes, schemes and distractions, pray them away.
Inertia is good. Inertia is bad. Inertia is inevitable. Recognize it. Embrace it. Ride it out. In other words, go with God.