The Lucy Principle

Lucy-Scarlett-JohanssonThe new movie Lucy starring Scarlett Johansson hit number 1 in the country this weekend.

The sci-fi thriller asks the question, “What would happen if someone were able to use 100% of their brain’s power?”

The premise is that most people only ever use 10% of their brain. It’s an interesting concept – if not a completely scientifically accurate one. And clearly by it’s box office haul it’s a question that’s intrigued a large audience.

Which makes me wonder – what if they made a movie about someone who was able to use 100% of their spiritual power?

It seems like we only use 10% of the Holy Spirit in our life (if that). Attending church once a week. Reading the Bible for 5 minutes in the morning. Listening to a little Jesus music on the way to work.

In Lucy, Johansson’s character takes a fictional drug which allows her brain to grow in strength everyday.

I don’t think there’s a magic pill which will make us more faithful. I don’t think simply going to church more often or having a daily quiet time will take us to 100%.

So how would someone go about achieving full usage of the Holy Spirit’s power?

I think someone using 100% of the Holy Spirit would look like someone completely unconsumed with themselves.

To let the Holy Spirit have room to work in our lives we have to make less room for our desires and concerns.

Here’s a simple way to think about it: One time at a youth rally I was praying with a group of college students. We were all holding hands in a circle lifting up “popcorn prayers” – everyone taking turns going around the circle and praying.

One of the voices in the group chimed in and challenged us to focus on anyone but ourselves during prayer.

He said we were free to pray for others because if we spent our time praying for someone else, then we could trust someone else was praying for us.

“If you’re praying for someone else, then you’re covered,” as he put it.

“You’re covered.” That’s always stuck with me for some reason – the notion that we can focus on others because we are covered. Covered by His grace. Covered by His discernment. Covered by His love.

Only when we begin to trust that we are covered by God will we be able to move toward full usage of the Holy Spirit inside of us.

As Lucy’s brain power goes closer to its maximum potential, she becomes more concerned with herself. She desires more of the drug which is feeding her brain. She becomes consumed with her own livelihood.

It seems logical. The smart way to survive this life is to watch out for one’s own interests at all costs.

However the faith life often moves in rebellion to the common-sense life. Making room for the Holy Spirit is a daily discipline of self-denial of our own interests as we seek to serve our fellow man.

If using 100% of our brain power means we become completely obsessed with our own well-being, then using 100% of our spiritual power must mean becoming completely obsessed with the well-being of others. 

After all, we are covered. We are free to spend our time inviting others out of the storm and under the covering.

What do you think someone’s life would look like if they used 100% of the Holy Spirit’s power?


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