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Rule of Life Intro
August 03 2018
August 03 2018

This morning, while meeting with someone, I suggested that they consider a Rule of Life. Having a Rule of LIfe has become a popular idea for many Christians lately. It's a hot topic. (For example, as a church, we've also been studying  Emotionally Healthy Spirituality which ends by suggesting that Christians live by a Rule of LIfe.)

But if we are honest, this very phrase sounds odd and obtuse. What do we mean by a Rule of Life? Why might we want a Rule of Life? These are small questions but require large answers. And what follows are a few initial thoughts that went through my head today.

A Rule of Life is a intentional plan or path that provides structure and direction for growth into Christlikeness. We are being "formed into Christ” (Romans 8:29, 12:1-2; Galatians 4:19). I read here that Dallas Willard called a Rule ‘a Curriculum in Christlikeness” and John Ortberg called it “a Game Plan for Morphing”. I like those phrases and they makesense. If I wanted to be formed to be more like Lebron James, it would require certain actions and activities. It would require a plan to grow toward Lebron-ness.

Of course, many people hear the above description of a Rule and think, “OK. So it is a pattern of spiritual disciplines.” But I would respond, “Think bigger.”  I would encourage us to think more holistically - about all of life. We want to be like Christ in all areas of life - not simply in our “spiritual lives”. God calls me to love of God, self, others and world and a rule should help me pursue those four loves. Thus, because I want to love my family, my Rule might include plans for a regular date night with my wife and scheduled breakfasts with my kids. Or because I want to love my body, my Rule might include a plan for plan for exercise and healthy eating.

But what about the fact that the very idea of a Rule sounds top-down, constricting, boring, and legalistic. Let's be honest. It feels very un-American - because Americans value individual freedom not conforming to rules!. It also feels unchristian - because Christians desire authentic relationships with God and we think authenticity is synonymous with freedom and spontaneity. “After all”, we think,”We are no longer ‘under law.’ Why would we then put ourselves under a Rule?”

These concerns and questoins are good ones and we will deal with them in the next blog post.


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