This is our major teaching series at Christ Church this winter and spring. It’s about creating what Christians for centuries have called a “Rule of Life.” Click here for the sermon downloads. The first two are, I trust, helpful introductions. Read on to better understand how to prayerfully work through a personal plan for more intentional discipleship. At the end are numerous linked resources to help you.
What is a RULE OF LIFE?
Serious Christ-followers have always sought to become “Spiritual Athletes” who, like the Apostle Paul, seek to ‘train themselves in godliness.”
We don’t want to confuse Rule with rules! ‘Rule’ comes from the root word, Regula, which meant a measuring stick or signpost. A rule of life lays out spiritual expectations which give structure and form to our spiritual lives, identifies our successes and failures, and provides us with goals to attain, not on our own but with God’s power and the support of the community.
Think of “rule” as a plan for discipline; a “rhythm of life;” a “Curriculum in Christlikeness” (Dallas Willard); or as John Ortberg calls it, a “Game Plan for Morphing” or being transformed!
Henri Nouwen put it this way:
A Rule of Life offers creative boundaries within which God’s loving presence can be recognized and celebrated.
It does not prescribe, but invites;
It does not force but guides;
It does not instill fear but points to love.
It is a call to freedom: freedom to love,
providing the practical steps to love God and neighbor.
This may be a new exercise, so be sure to be prayerful and realistic. This is a practical way to engage in the spiritual disciplines for which you can honestly and truly be held accountable.
A Rule is not about adding onto an already busy life.
The disciplines should bring balance, and help to prioritize and impact your entire way of life, “to take your ordinary life–your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life–and place it before God as an offering.” (Rom. 12:1, The Message)
Our Game Plans will vary widely, depending on our needs, character, maturity, and life situation. Not only will people choose different disciplines, but how the disciplines are practiced will also vary.
The Rule which you create should include three things:
1. a self-assessment,
2. an explanation of how you will practice various disciplines,
3. and a form of accountability that works for you.
Remember the Goal: to be conformed to the image of Christ for the the glory of God and for sake of others!
Once you have chosen your spiritual disciplines, ask someone to help you be accountable and to pray for you. For this role, consider a friend, a small group, or a spiritual guide.
Each week we will be teaching and providing questions to work through (or discuss with others). At the end of this series, consolidate everything into one page. This can be changed and adapted as you discern with the Holy Spirit and with others as we help one another with the question: How goes your walk with Jesus?
. Overview of the Bible – Lyle’s online course is on our church website here.
. The Books of the Bible New Testament, audio version.
[Some of these instructions and guidelines are adapted from Marjorie Thompson, Soul Feast, chap. 9, Adele Ahlberg Calhoun, Spiritual Disciplines Handbook, pp. 35-39, and the Northumbria Community Rule.]