Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. And all of us, with unveiled faces, seeing the glory of the Lord as though reflected in a mirror, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another; for this comes from the Lord, the Spirit.
2 Corinthians 3:17-18 NRSV
Last night I read the above passage in Second Corinthians and it made me wonder why we so often experience our faiths as limiting rather than freeing. Why do we experience faith as burdensome, as hard work? Could it be that what tires us out, what weighs us down is not our faith, but our resistance to believing more fully? We know that we are not of this world – but do we know it? Do we understand that there is a tension between who we are, whose we are, and the world we’re living in?
A few weeks ago, I borrowed John Burke’s book Soul Revolution from a friend. The book is structured around something Burke calls the “60/60 experiment” – a challenge to think about God at least one minute out of every sixty, and to do this daily for at least two months. Burke’s experiment is a fresh take on Frank Laubach’s “the game with minutes” (where the aim is to think about God one second out of every minute), which was itself based on Brother Lawrence’s habit of practising the presence of God. The basic idea is to spend more time engaging with God, to involve him in every aspect of your life and not just “restrict him” to quiet time, prayer, Bible studies, small group meetings or church.
Laubach noted that we can hardly expect the world to change when we – the Christians – are more preoccupied with it than with God. I think this is true of our spiritual lives as well: we can hardly expect to be changed by God if we don’t know him. Perhaps this is the root of this exhausting tension; perhaps the problem is simply that we don’t spend enough time with God. How quickly a day flies by; how often you find yourself at the end of it, muttering a short conciliatory prayer before collapsing into sleep. If we are called to live for Christ, to follow him (Matthew 16:24), we will never be able to “get by” spiritually with a half-hour of Bible study here and an hour of church there. That’s why we’re so tired – not because we do too much, as the enemy would have us believe. but because don’t spend enough time with God to experience his peace, his riches, his mercy, his friendship. We’re losing out!
In that spirit, why don’t we try the 60/60 experiment or the game with minutes? We can literally start right this minute – all we really need is the perseverance to try and to keep trying when we fail. Today, wherever you go, whatever you do, keep your mind on God as often as you can. Once a minute; at least once an hour. You don’t have to stop and offer a formal prayer, although you could do that; just remind yourself, Hey, God’s here. I’m doing this with him. We’ll check back in with each other in a few weeks and see how it’s gone. But I think it’s safe to say that we can expect the goodness and fullness of God – and isn’t he worth it?
For you are great and do wondrous things;
you alone are God.
Teach me your way, O Lord,
that I may walk in your truth;
give me an undivided heart to revere your name.
(Psalm 86:10-11 NRSV)
Here are a few resources:
There’s an app for the 60/60 experiment to remind you to “think God” once every sixty minutes.
I encourage you to check out Frank Laubach’s insightul booklet on “the game with minutes” – you can download it here, in .pdf format: https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/469660/frank_laubach_-_the_game_with_minutes.pdf
A collection of his writings is also available, also in .pdf format: http://www.dunedin.elim.org.nz/uploads/1/2/7/8/12786940/frank_laubach_-_letters_by_a_modern_mystic.pdf
Brother Lawrence’s book is available for download here: http://www.ccel.org/ccel/lawrence/practice.pdf