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Definition of friction –

· surface resistance to relative motion, as of a body sliding or rolling.

· the rubbing of the surface of one body against that of another.

· dissension or conflict between persons, nations, etc., because of differing ideas,

wishes, etc.

· The resistance of an object to the medium through which or on which it is traveling,

such as air, water, or a solid floor.

· Physics: Friction is a force exerted by a surface against the motion of a body across its


Have you ever experienced friction or resistance or opposition to your intended direction or path? Have you ever gone against the current or against the wind or against the perceived norm? It would quite frankly be untrue to say no. Is friction necessary? According to the science of physics, the answer is yes. You might be thinking: why is it necessary? Well, if friction did not exist, there would be some vital things that we would not be able to do like walking or driving. I could list more examples, but I don’t want to make this a physics lesson, although I am highly tempted. Without friction, we would just be sliding. We would not be able to move around by foot or vehicle. In addition, picking up things wouldn’t be doable because things would just keep slipping through our hands, thus making playing sports a mere fantasy. (Ok, that’s all I am going to say.)

Let's think about friction socially, culturally, and/or politically, where the surfaces in contact are opposing ideals or differentiating opinions. Would slavery have ended without friction? Would Civil Rights and Voting Rights have happened without friction? These are obvious, right, but there are a plethora of historical examples that could be listed throughout the global community.

Well, if friction is necessary physically, the next question might be is friction spiritually necessary? Oh, the answer to this question seems to be too theological and heady. Maybe a better question is does friction exist spiritually? My hypothesis is yes it does. Let’s consider the spiritual surfaces that are in constant contact on this side of heaven, namely our flesh (our will, our own way) and the Holy Spirit (God, His will, and His way), light and darkness, sin and righteousness, rebellion and obedience, God’s ways and the ways of the world/the ways of mankind, good and evil, right and wrong, love and hate/prejudice, …. The paradoxes of life are remarkable. Are the paradoxes of life friction? Hmmm…

“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of light, it was the season of darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair.”

– Charles Dickens, A Tale of Two Cities

Definitely, sounds like the present world we are living in; wouldn’t you agree?

Both individually and collectively, we seem to be living our lives in a paradoxical state. This is doable for believers because we know that both through and in Jesus Christ our perpetual motion moves us forward or upward, if you will, to the fulfillment of our salvation. It is our faith and our hope in the demonstration of God’s love for us that makes living life on this side of heaven doable in the power of the Holy Spirit. Spiritually, let’s say that the frictional force is whatever goes against God in any way. So, that makes our flesh/our will/what we think is right/what we want to do, our sin, our rebellion/disobedience, the world, the devil, evil/wrong, … frictional forces.

Thankfully, God teaches us how to overcome these forces in His Word, through the life of Jesus Christ Himself and with the help of the Holy Spirit. You see, God’s complete work on our behalf gives us faith in a certain victory that will soon manifest fully upon Christ’s return. And God allows us to see glimpses of this victory as we face life’s paradoxes, both externally and internally, through answered prayers, adherence to what He teaches us through His Word, and submitting to the guidance of the Holy Spirit.

Spiritual friction helps us to understand our need of a Savior. It helps us appreciate how much God really loves us; and thereby, intensifies our worship of Him and our pursuit to glorify Him. It encourages us to spread the gospel with determination and without fear. Specifically, we should be more compelled to proclaim the gospel message, that Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection, which achieved victory over death and sin, have brought about salvation for the entire world.

John 3:16

16 For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son,

that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.

Some Synonyms for friction –

· agitation, erosion, irritation, resistance, abrasion, attrition, chafing, filing, grating,

grinding, massage, rasping, scraping, soreness, traction, fretting, trituration, wearing


· animosity, antagonism, bad blood, bickering, conflict, discontent, discord, disharmony,

dispute, dissension, hassle, hatred, hostility, quarrel, resentment, resistance, rivalry,

strife, trouble, wrangling, counteraction, faction, flak, impedance, incompatibility,

interference, opposition


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