Inertia is my middle name—yours too!
What does that mean? A particularly depressing definition is this: “a tendency to do nothing or to remain unchanged.”
No matter how self-motivated we may be, each of us needs to be stirred up once in a while; it is the human condition. Inertia, the resistance to being moved, is deep in our DNA. We resist change and we tell ourselves a lie when we deny it.
“I’m ag’in it!”
In the bicentennial year 1976 I heard Arkansas Governor Dale Bumpers tell of the answer a 100 year old man gave to a reporter who asked him if he had seen any changes in America in his 100 years. “Yes Ma’m,” he said. “And I’ve been against every one of them.”
In Psalm 45, the poet confessed his need to be stirred up.
His method was recitation of scripture, perhaps even an original composition, “for the King.” In this he advanced into New Covenant life. The Lord has given us the means of spiritual stirring of the heart. This is a ministry of the Holy Spirit abiding in our Calvary-cleansed hearts.
- When we read the Scriptures carefully and prayerfully, our hearts are stirred.
- When we sing or confess praise and worship to the Lord, the Holy Spirit stirs us up.
- To gather with the saints of God to worship in the church house on the Lord’s Day should be a major stirring of the heart.
- Holy conversation with other believers can stir us up as we hear the voice of the Spirit in their words.
- Participation at the Table of the Lord as we receive the substance and life of Christ stirs us deeply.
- To obey the Lord for no reason except that we love Him and we want to serve Him, warms the heart and stirs us and moves us forward in life.
These Holy practices are contained in the testimony of the Psalmist: “My heart is stirred by a noble theme…”
Finding the Noble Themes
There are themes that are not so noble that can also stir us up.
- Emotions can be stirred by words and images and even our own imaginations.
- The deeds and words of others can stir us toward mimicking them—joining them in what they are doing.
There is a saying that applies to hunting dogs in reference to their love of their masters: “He is whosever’s dog that will hunt with him.” Like a dog controlled by genetics and a powerful nose, we can shift our loyalties from the Lord to others and find ourselves, noses to the ground and tails fiercely wagging, on a trail that leads to sin. We are stirred, but not well-served by these temptations.
Don’t let your heart sleep late!
When our hearts are at rest, it is a good thing. But we must be careful not to let them sleep late! There is a time to stir them up! There is worship to be given and work to be done. We have a story to tell to the nations, a Kingdom to represent, and we have a cause, a holy cause, a noble cause, one that stirs the heart.
Psalm 45 NIV
My heart is stirred by a noble theme as I recite my verses for the king; my tongue is the pen of a skillful writer.
Exodus 35:21-22 NKJV
Then everyone came whose heart was stirred, and everyone whose spirit was willing, and they brought the Lord’s offering for the work of the tabernacle of meeting, for all its service, and for the holy garments. They came, both men and women, as many as had a willing heart…
Haggai 1:14-15 NIV
So the Lord stirred up the spirit of Zerubbabel son of Shealtiel, governor of Judah, and the spirit of Joshua son of Jehozadak, the high priest, and the spirit of the whole remnant of the people. They came and began to work on the house of the Lord Almighty, their God, on the twenty-fourth day of the sixth month in the second year of King Darius.
2 Peter 3:1-2 NKJV
Beloved, I now write to you this second epistle (in both of which I stir up your pure minds by way of reminder), that you may be mindful of the words which were spoken before by the holy prophets, and of the commandment of us, the apostles of the Lord and Savior…
2 Timothy 1:6-7 NKJV
Therefore I remind you to stir up the gift of God which is in you through the laying on of my hands. For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.
Lord Jesus, Give me victory over my own inertia. Lord, I open my heart to Your Spirit—inspire me as I read Your Word! Breathe Your breath into my spirit. Let the same Spirit that raised You from the dead quicken my heart, stir my soul, and awaken my mind. I have a song of praise to sing to You that the world needs to hear—that I need to hear! I have a work to do that is filled with assignments from Your Throne—help me be faithful and “do the work!” Your anointing can take be beyond the limits of my talent and provide strength beyond my human abilities. Help me rise up today and shake off any inertia that has lulled me into ineffectiveness. In Your Name and for Your Kingdom, Amen.
Rise Up, O Saints of God
Words: William P. Merril (Adapted SRP); Music: Aaron Williams
1.Rise up, O saints of God!
Have done with lesser things.
Give heart and soul and mind and strength
To serve the King of kings.
2. Rise up, O saints of God!
His Kingdom tarries long;
Bring in the day of brotherhood
And in the night of wrong.
3. Rise up, O saints of God!
The church for you doth wait,
Her strength unequal to her task,
Rise up and make her great.
4. Lift high the Cross of Christ!
Tread where His feet have trod;
As followers of the Son of Man,
Rise up, O saints of God!
© 2017 Stephen R. Phifer All Rights Reserved