Inertia: A tendency to do nothing or to remain unchanged. Inertia: A property of matter by which it continues in its existing state of rest or uniform motion in a straight line unless that state is changed by an external force. Inertia + friction must be overcome if change is to take place.
While we may be talking physics here, it speaks to human behavior as well.
Behavioral change, generally, does not come easily – even if we know the change has a great chance of being beneficial. If you doubt me, just ask an alcoholic or an abused spouse. This problem is caused by two factors holding us back. One is inertia. The other is friction.
Take attending live, in-person worship on Sunday mornings as an example. Studies regularly confirm the value. And how many times have you heard someone say – or said to yourself, “I know I should go to church, BUT …” BUT, I love staying in my PJ’s, drinking my coffee, and staying home. BUT, it’s my only day to sleep in. BUT, my life is already so busy … and “will it really make that much of a difference?”
Inertia – the tendency to do nothing or remain unchanged – even when we know better. It takes some sort of “external force” to get us moving. And, while I know fear and guilt can be a motivating factor in many people’s lives, I don’t think that is the best way to go. A much better way is through attraction or magnetism.
Then there is also that factor called “friction.” Any behavior change I make in my lifestyle affects the entire system … or should I say “upsets”? Spouse … children … friendships … or maybe even the person who used to sit where I have plopped my body. Add that to the inertia within myself, and it is pretty easy to reach the decision to stay put – that is, to resist the external forces suggesting otherwise.
But then I read, “Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful. And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another.” (Hebrews 10.23-25) And I ask myself, some hard questions. “What happens to my hope, my courage, and my joy when I stay away for prolonged periods of time? “What happens to my faith, and my sharing of that faith?” “What happens to my love, my good works, and my encouragement of others?”
I cannot speak for you, but my personal answer to all those questions is, “nothing good!”
And then I start to think how King David long ago said, “I was glad when they said to me, ‘Let us go to the house of the Lord.’” (Psalm 122.1) And do not forget how important it is for all of us to continually hear – from as many voices as possible, “The Gospel is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith for faith, as it is written, ‘The righteous shall live by faith’.” (Romans 1.16-17) These words replace fear and guilt with peace and joy … freeing a person to truly live.
Like I said, though I cannot speak for anyone else, this the kind of external force that will (generally) overcome all of that wicked inertia in me