July 24, 2011

Jesus, initiator of centripetal and centrifugal forces that keep our lives in orbit

I bet a number of us have studied a particular chapter of the bible time and times again and each time a different verse(s) would strike us and come alive. If we choose to meditate upon the verse(s), God expounds in awesome ways.

Recently, I meditated on The Message version of John 3:29-30:

29 -30"That's why my cup is running over. This is the assigned moment for him to move into the center, while I slip off to the sidelines.

This was John’s response to his disciples when they reported to him that Jesus was becoming more popular and attracting more people. This information did not upset John. Rather he was happy to slip to the sidelines.

I mused, churned it and God took over. It became clear to me that it was better if Jesus was at the centre of my life and activities. If he is at the centre, creativity and productivity will be higher. Since I don’t have the power to keep all things in equilibrium, having Jesus at the centre was the ultimate solution. Then I began to see him as the centripetal and centrifugal forces that keep me in orbit. I continued to churn; wondering how to fully apply the thoughts.

I had to refresh my memory of what I know about centripetal and centrifugal forces. I sensed God was trying to say we can’t do without him. So why try?

It was easier for me to understand that Jesus is the centripetal force pulling me to him. But how is he the centrifugal force?

First let me explain the forces. Centripetal force (centre-seeking) is the force that pulls an object towards the centre; thus making a circular motion possible. Centrifugal force means to flee from the centre. Centrifugal force does not act on the object but acts on the source of centripetal force to displace it from the centre. Interestingly, it is not the centrifugal force that causes an object to fly out of its orbit but rather it is the removal of the centripetal force.

Okay, I know we usually regard circular motion as going nowhere but are you aware that acceleration occurs in circular motions? Furthermore, application of circular motions achieve results such sedimentation and separations. It is also applied in carousels and turning cars to mention a few. And the moon!

The moon is kept in orbit by centripetal and centrifugal forces. The moon is pulled towards the earth by centripetal force and centrifugal force pulls on the earth and helps to keep the moon in motion. There is a balance between the two forces – they act in equal measure but opposite in direction. Imagine if centrifugal force was greater, what will happen to the moon? The moon would have taken off and probably land in my backyard, crashed to pieces.

Jesus is the influence that keeps our lives in equilibrium. Everything going on whether palatable or unpalatable is balanced by Jesus. He applies the centripetal force to make us seek the centre which is him.

But how does he apply centrifugal force since it is a reaction to centripetal force? Just like centrifugal force is needed to keep the moon in motion, we also need centrifugal force. Centrifugal force can be trials and tribulations. Depending on how we respond to them, they will just be the counter force required to keep us in equilibrium. The centrifugal and centripetal forces are net forces that keep us seeking the centre. The presence of Jesus and God inflicted trials in our lives are to keep us centre seeking.

However, we can respond in such a manner that it may appear that the centrifugal force is greater and may succeed in removing the centripetal force. When the centrifugal force becomes greater, it means we are responsible for the imbalance. This is because as Paul wrote to the Corinthians; the trials God bring our way are within our limits and he is always present to help us through them. However, when they exceed it means we have brought upon us the consequences of our disobedience. Our disobedience displaces the centripetal force which is the presence of Jesus from our lives. May we not allow sin to prevent us from always seeking the centre.

But then, brace yourself! Jesus is not just the centre; he is also the orbit. He is the sphere of influence on our lives and he is the main director of our lives. In sum, it is all about him!

I would like to hear from you. Do you agree that Jesus is the initiator of the forces that keep us in orbit? Perhaps God has revealed more of this to you. Please share. 


  1. Interesting comparison. It makes sense and really explains the role of trials and temptations in the fulfillment of our destinies.

  2. Thanks Ngozi for dropping by. I also found the comparison fascinating. I do hope we are encouraged to be calm and trust God as we journey through life.

    Take care.

  3. Beautiful and insightful comparative explanation of these two physical science phenomenon using the biblical works of Apostle Paul.