What does 24 hours without God look like?
Last week, a situation along my spiritual journey prompted me to ponder . . . What would it be like to try to omit God from my day? Now stick with me. I’m not saying to throw away your faith--quite the contrary. I’m actually asking you to take a closer look at how much of your day is typically infiltrated by your faith.
To be clear, this is not a comparative contest. I’m not posting point results. There is no winner. This is an individual spiritual exercise between you and God.
Be fair in the assessment of yourself. If you don’t normally pray multiple times a day, don’t try to pray more just to earn extra points. If you don’t usually listen to Christian music, don’t adjust the dial on your radio station. If you are not in the habit of reading God’s Word, I do hope you start, but just not on the omission day.
Are you up for the 24 hour “Omission Challenge”?
Every time you think of God--give yourself a point.
Every time you are about to talk with God in prayer--give yourself a point.
Every time you are about to read God’s Word--give yourself a point.
Every time you are about to worship God with music--give yourself a point.
Every time you are about to share an encouraging word with someone about God--give yourself a point.
Any time you turn to God for anything--give yourself a point.
(P.S. Don’t do this on a Sunday, or whatever day you typically go to church.)
I would never convince anyone to stop thinking of God, praying, reading the Bible, listening, worshipping, encouraging, (Do it all!!!) . . . but just for 24 hours, hit pause if you find that you are about to do any of the above. Hold it. Experience what it is like to not be actively connected.
At the end of your 24 hours, add up all of your points. How many do you have--a lot, or a little?
Speaking of points . . . what’s the point of all of this? It's not about earning virtual God points, but rather to reveal a spiritual point of dependence and appreciation for His presence in your life.
Here was my personal take-away from my omission day:
It was rough. Very rough. I saw what it was like to try to extract God from my life. I was able to physically stop myself from outward expression, but it was not possible to remove Him from my inner thoughts. This is because God is not just a sprinkled addition to my day. GOD IS MY DAY. All day. Every day. Permeated.
My life is heavily influenced and connected to Him. Similar to an earthly marriage, two become one. "But the person who is joined to the Lord is one spirit with him. " (1 Corinthians 6:17 NLT)
To some people, this challenge will also be heart-breaking. That’s what it felt like to me--a painful break-up. You know the "absolute association mentality" . . . when a couple splits and suddenly every-single-thing reminds them of the person they are not with anymore: songs, shows, places, words, foods, etc. Because all memories and experiences somehow point back to the one we love and miss.
To others, this challenge may impact a portion of their day, but not enough to feel like they have just been torn away from their first love. It may seem like an “off” day--but not unbearable.
To others, this challenge might not affect much of their day at all. Because when Jesus is just a periodic “add-in,” it does not hurt to eliminate Him for a few moments. It’s hard to even tell that God is missing if He does not get that much space or time to begin with.
Again, this is not a faith competition. No pride involved. It’s simply a personal spiritual exercise, between you and God, to see how much of your heart/day is given over to Him.
If you choose to participate in the 24 hour “Omission Challenge,” I pray that it opens your eyes to how dependent you are on God, and that it gives you a renewed appreciation for His daily involvement and availability in your life.
“Teach me your way, Lord, that I may rely on your faithfulness; give me an undivided heart, that I may fear your name. I will praise you, Lord my God, with all my heart; I will glorify your name forever.” (Psalm 86:11-12 NIV)
(P.S. In case you are wondering what today’s picture is . . . it’s NOTHING. Because that’s what my day without God felt like: Dark, Empty, Nothing.