Rule of Life – Day 1

“It is my conviction that our heavenly Father says the same to us every day: ‘My dear child, you must always remember who you are.'” – John Stott

 

This week we are discussing the idea of a “Rule of Life.” A Rule of Life is simply a set of guidelines that set an intentional pattern of spiritual disciplines. It provides structure and direction in order to reconnect with God and grow to become more like him.[1] Some of us might get caught up in the word “Rule.” So, think of it instead as “a Curriculum for Christlikeness” or “A Game Plan for Change.” It’s a way of creating a routine for a life committed to God. It is, at its most basic, a set of guidelines that help us be intentional throughout our lives about the way we want to be.

A Rule of Life doesn’t have to be anything huge. Instead, it simply acknowledges that you want to draw closer to God and need to create a plan on how to make space for that. A Rule of life examines where you are right now and also how you hope to grow and mature. Then you simply develop a series of steps to help you achieve that goal. For instance, if you want to “let God’s word dwell in your heart” then part of your plan might be to memorize a verse or two of scripture and reflect on it throughout the day. If you want to overcome your anger, you might start with keeping a journal and write down when you felt angry and why so you can know your triggers and pray about them. If you want to be more present for your family, it means putting down your phone or turning off the TV during certain hours of the day. It is YOUR rule, your set of guidelines to help you grow and mature.

For instance, a rule of life might be what is found in Acts 2:42 – Devoting yourself “to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer.” That is a beautiful Rule of Life.

One of the longest lasting Rules of Life is the “Rule of St. Benedict,” which was written more than 1200 years ago to create a pattern and rhythm for life in a monastery. It shapes the routines of life, work, prayer, worship, reading, reflecting, as well as talking and sharing and confessing and living in community and how to eat and everything else.

At its core, a Rule of Life is about recommitting your life to God in every area, from work to play to worship to family life. It creates the space for you to connect with God in ways that are going to be most beneficial for you and help you grow in the ways that both you AND God want to shape you.

I want you to focus on these questions today, which talk about relationships: relationship with God and with other people:

  1. When and where do you feel closest to God? How do you enter most deeply into an awareness of his love for you?
  2. When do you feel farthest away from God?
  3. What practices have been meaningful for your spiritual life? What have been less helpful?
  4. What would other people say are your greatest strengths? What would other people say are your greatest challenges?
  5. Where do your relationships need attention?
  6. In your relationship with God and with others, who do you want to become?

Think on this for a short time. Feel free to write down your answers, even email them to me. I’d love to hear your thoughts. I’ll share my own tomorrow.

May God bless you today!

Path-up-a-mountain

 

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[1] Summary of Calhoun, Spiritual Disciplines Handbook, and http://www.cslewisinstitute.org/webfm_send/338.