It’s possible to travel at high speed and not be aware you’re moving. A smooth airplane flight with the window shade closed will trick you into thinking that you’re static. Now, that same airplane moving at a fraction of the cruising speed during takeoff will throw you back in your seat and you will never mistake this for standing still. Why do we feel motionless when we’re moving at a constant speed of 500 mph but feel the affects of acceleration? The answer is inertia. Our bodies are reluctant to cooperate with changes in our motion, and acceleration causes force to be exerted on us that makes us move differently when we really don’t want to. This inability to change our own direction without an external force is explained by the physical principle of inertia. Newton’s first law of bodies in motion states: A body in motion remains in motion unless an external force acts on that body. When you’re riding in a car that turns a sharp corner and you’re pressed against the window, it’s inertia. Most people call it centrifugal force, but that’s not really correct because there is no force pushing you away; rather, the car turned and your body did not comply. The external force acting on your body making you change your direction of travel is the car door pushing on you. There is a spiritual corollary here which I will explain.
Inertia will lead you down the same path you’ve been on. If you’ve chosen the wrong path, you won’t easily change unless some external force acts on you. Maybe it’s the allure of material wealth that you place your trust in. When the market crashed in 2008, that was an external force changing the direction of your life’s path. Perhaps the death of someone close caused you to ponder the meaning of life – perhaps that external force acted so as to cause a change in your priorities. The most important question I teach my children to answer is this: How can I, a sinful man, be reconciled to a holy God? The fact is that from birth we are all moving on a path of spiritual separation from God. Only the Holy Spirit can alter that path – we cannot do this ourselves. Spiritual inertia is just as real as it is in the physical realm. A physical body in motion continues with the same direction and velocity it was given as its travel began until external forces change that direction of travel. Physicists call these initial conditions. What were your initial conditions? Were you born into a secular family environment? Was there atheism, abuse, or neglect? Was the worldview one that taught you to provide your own security through the pursuit of money and power? I could go back further, before your parents taught you anything at all, and show you that the Bible tells us of our initial conditions resulting from original sin. You see, we inherited Adam’s sin nature and don’t need to be taught to dislike God and His rule over our lives. We don’t need to be taught to steal or lie or to be selfish. It comes naturally to us as descendants of Adam. Good parents prune those behaviors from their children but cannot change that nature from sinful to redeemed. Only the Holy Spirit can do this for us by making us spiritually alive. God will change the direction of our lives and we will perceive that change in our spiritual motion. Like the airplane taking off, we can feel the force, or power, of God in our lives. Salvation does not come from within, it comes from God intervening in our life and by making us alive spiritually. Ephesians 2:4 tells us “But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ”.