How do you feel about rules? When I was young, I didn’t necessarily like them, but I was a rule follower (mostly). Maybe you hear the word “rule” as something restrictive and hard. This spiritual practice invites us to consider a different rule, a rule of life or what some call a rule for life. This is something that you spend time considering and planning. Some people have life verses or a motto by which they frame their life. A Rule of Life is a trellis for your spiritual life to grow and be shaped with the intentional framework which keeps us accountable and offers guidelines for how we spend our days. A Rule of Life provides a way to partner with God’s Spirit for our own spiritual life and transformation. It helps us in our discipleship, following after God’s own heart. One of the first Rules of Life can be seen in Scripture – in Acts 2:42. In Acts 2 we see the patterns of what the early church did, how they held their spiritual lives together. The Bible says, “They devoted themselves to the apostle’s teaching and to the fellowship , to breaking of bread and to prayer.” These things, this “rule” shaped their lives and their hearts, no matter what the circumstance of a day. Do you have a Rule of Life? You likely do but maybe don’t call it this. What guides how you live your life? A Rule of Life is a simple statement of the regular rhythms we choose in order that we can be with God and present our best selves to Him and for others. A rule helps you set limits and tells God your longings and intentions. A Rule of Life is meant to be written, so you can read it again and again and change it as needed. If the word rule makes you uncomfortable, use the words ‘rhythm for life’ instead. Why not write a rule of life out today. Take your time. Pray, ponder, ask God, pay attention and look for what opens you and keeps you tethered to God. At the end of today’s practice I will list some specific questions which may help you as you try and write your own rule. This is an ancient practice that can be so helpful for us today.
Spiritual Practice: A Rule of Life
Scriptures: Deuteronomy 20:11, 15,16, 19-29 (Try reading in the Message); John 10:10; I Thessalonians 5:24, Acts 2: 42
Practice Includes: Writing out something concrete that helps draw you more deeply into your relationship with God and love God more ; developing regular and repeated relationships and experience or practices that make space for God in the midst of your life; creating a plan to honor your desires and limits; creating/developing a spiritual pathway that suits you and your personality and where you are in your stage of faith; opportunities to review and assess your spiritual journey not with comparisons to others but by your own unique rule for your personal growth; a road map of sorts, for your spiritual life.
Potential Fruits: Living with intentionality and in cooperation with the Holy Spirit for your own life; partnering with the Triune God for deep change and accountability to how you will love; intentionally and practically loving God with all ‘your mind, heart, soul and strength’; choosing a path of spiritual rhythms /practices/disciplines in response to hearing from God and awakening to the awareness of your heart with Christ’s heart for you; having an intentional and obedience- centered life with God.
A few questions to ponder about the practice: what unspoken rules order your life right now?; how or who determines what you wil and won’t do?; how is a rule of life similar and different from a mission statement? ; do you have a life verse from Scripture? If so how might that be a spring board for writing a rule of life? I read in a book and wrote in my journal the following: A rule of,life can be a plumb line, allowing a still point from which you can gauge the intentionality of your spiritual journey. On a regular basis, look at your life in light of your rule. What do you see? Where is God drawing you to Him? What is giving you life? Where does your life feel out of control and not centered in Christ?
Writing a Rule: Consider when and where do you feel closest to God. Pay attention to the experience and practices and relationship that draw you toward God. Include those in your rule; What is most important to you? Where do your relationships need attention and who do you want to become? If you had 6 months to lives, how would you spend your time? This might help shape some of your priorities.; what do you currently do to realize your longings and goals. do you work, pray, study, socialize, workout, etc.? What things hinder and help your spiritual journey?; what practices help you- daily, weekly, monthly and yearly? What are limitations in your life right now? What are the dreams and longings that remain steady throughout all life circumstances for you. What do you want to change?; Choose several practices that surface from your desire for God to do a transforming work in your life that are realistic and suit the realities of your life in this season.
Rules of Life are meant to be read, looked at, reviewed, revised and adapted. They meant to be a living document.