The essentials of a good Christian life are not necessarily just about church attendance, good behavior, and attention to social good. It’s about you and God alone. How do we do that? ◊
Several years ago, I proposed that many of us Christians at some point in our lives can be categorized as “60-Minute Christians“.1 Though well-intended, we can find ourselves living and accepting the casual and easy groove of the modern Christian walk. We can talk a good game, we look the part, we and our families go to church (when we can), we believe in God, Jesus, and the Bible, and we’re relatively good and decent neighbors and workers who support good causes locally and around the world.
The modern American Christian.
The 60-minutes I was referring to was 60-minutes per week.
A Low and Easy Standard
Think about it. If you just go to church on Sundays then you’ve met the standard. Add some preparation and driving time and even some after-church coffee or lunch with others and you’ve far exceeded those 60-minutes of good Christian time commitment. Stay an extra hour for a Sunday School class (does anyone even do that anymore?) or help out in the children’s nursery, or attend a mid-week Home Group session in someone’s home, and you’re easily into bonus territory.
Well, what’s wrong with that?
Actually, nothing. Except that it’s a far cry from a “45-Minute Christian.” That is, 45-minutes per day.
45-Minutes Daily. Are You Serious?
Now think about this one for a moment. We typically carve our ample time for morning coffee time, exercise time, commute time, work time, lunch time (sometimes), more work/project time, family time, dinner time, miscellaneous time, TV/Netflix time, bedtime, etc. The days roll by one after another, week after week.
Now throw in weekend time, date nights, and Sunday church time as described above, and you’d think that the 60-Minute Christian is not only looking pretty decent but actually should be commended.
But if you look at life in 45-minute (even 15-minute) chunks and then look at the Christian walk in a slightly different light, then the viability of a 45-Minute Per Day Christian is actually possible and even desirable.
The 45-Minute Christian
The essentials of a good Christian life are not necessarily just about weekly church attendance, good behavior, and attention to social good. It’s about you and God alone, developing a deep and personal relationship. Not just intellectually in our head through book knowledge and study, but intimately and honestly in our heart and soul. Our whole-self fully immersed and in love with the God who loves us personally, created us individually, and leads us purposely.
All the other things (church fellowship, good behavior and actions) then spring out of the one-on-one relationship we have with God. It’s not the other way around.
Here’s a way to consider investing 45-minutes each day to develop an uncommon Christian walk based on a deep and abiding special relationship with God:
- 15-Minutes – Read the Bible. Of course you could do more, but make the habit a sustainable one daily. Make it a lifelong project. Over and over again. And here’s a helpful key: the Bible doesn’t have to be read sequentially. Consider reading one chapter daily in 3 separate sections. Start with Genesis 1, Psalms 1, and Matthew 1. This will keep it interesting and immerse you immediately into a broad perspective of the Old Testament beginnings, the heart and nature of God, and the New Testament linkage with Jesus’ life, death, and implications of his resurrection.
- 15-Minutes – Pray for Your Day. You might start your Bible reading 15-minutes with a prayer like this: “God, be with me right now as I read your Word, right beside me. Teach me what You want. Open my eyes, heart and soul. Amen.” Then after your reading time, pray like God/Jesus is sitting next to you and talk to Him like your best friend. Pray naturally in your own words, perhaps something like this:
- “God, I give You this day. Be with me, protect and direct me as I surrender my will to Yours. I also pray for (name each family member). Protect and direct them as well and that their hearts and minds will surrender to you and Your Spirit today. God, I confess and pray for forgiveness for (name your sins and failures). Help me today in (name whatever areas or situations are on your heart). Bless me today with Your peace and fill me with Your Holy Spirit that I may fully act and reflect all that You would have me do and be today. Amen.
- 15-Minutes – Study or Read. You’ve just spent 30 minutes reading the Bible and praying. Think of the next 15 minutes as miscellaneous time to further study some of the Bible reading you did earlier, or perhaps read some Christian devotion or commentary or even a Biblical Viewpoint on a topic of choice. Consider this a special bonus time that allows you a buffer for expanded reading or prayer. In any event, the time is well used to drive you deeper into a communing relationship with God
Set a timer. You will soon realize that 15 minutes is not a very long time. It will go by quickly. Provide yourself a quiet spot to do this. Treat it like a 45-minute scheduled meeting at work or coffee-time alone with a good friend.
The Mind Transformation
With steadfast consistency there will soon begin to be a transformation and renewing of your mind – as promised in Romans 12:1-2. This new discipline is actually true spiritual worship that is pleasing to God. And consider that 45 minutes daily equates to just over 5 hours per week. It’s like devoting yourself to a new worthwhile educational course in Life, a God Course.
Be flexible, give yourself grace, but work toward consistency in your new routine. We don’t become perfect, but we become an abiding Christian disciple, a light in a dark world. Just a little bit at a time – a 45-Minute Christian.
Can you be a 45-Minute Christian?
Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will..” – Romans 12:1-2
1 The 60-Minute Christian, http://www.biblicalviewpoint.com/2014/08/01/the-60-minute-christian/