September 20th 2009

Overcoming Inertia

The disciples were called Christian first at Antioch”.

Acts 11:26 (NIV)

You probably remember learning about the Law of Inertia, usually defined as the tendency of matter to stay as it is, whether at rest or in motion. Inertia is what makes it hard for us humans to change. We prefer things to just stay as they are. It’s more comfortable, and at least on the surface, it seems easier.

The challenge in doing anything new is to overcome the inertia — to overcome our tendency to keep things as they are.

Consider the first century Jerusalem church, the church that, in one sense, had everything. They had the apostles, they had first-hand knowledge of Jesus, and they even had many eyewitnesses of his resurrection.

They also knew Jesus had said, “Go into all the world.” But the Jerusalem church had trouble overcoming its inertia, and as a result, it never became a church known for its outreach.

It took a major controversy surrounding the ministry of Paul and Barnabas for the Jerusalem church to even consider the question of letting uncircumcised gentile believers into the church and admitting that they could be saved without keeping the law of Moses. You can read the story in Acts, chapter 15.

The bottom line is that the Jerusalem church never became a real driving force in spreading the gospel. It was a victim of inertia, slow to change its view of the world and slow to change its view of how it could serve God.

The church in Antioch, on the other hand, became a center of missionary activity. It was the church that sent Paul and Barnabas out to proclaim the gospel throughout the Roman Empire. It developed a different kind of inertia from the Jerusalem church — a tendency to stay in motion, instead of at rest.


I pray that every congregation in the body of Christ will pray for a heart like that of the church in Antioch, and keep an eye out for the ways God equips his people to reach out and serve in the name of Jesus.


Study by Joseph Tkach 

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