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Rule of Life. The meaning of Rule comes from the Greek word for “trellis.” A trellis is a tool designed to enable a grapevine to get off the ground and grow upward, becoming more fruitful and productive. In the same way, a Rule of Life can be the trellis that helps us abide in Christ and become more fruitful spiritually.
A Rule of Life, very simply, is an intentional, conscious plan to keep God at the center of everything we do. It provides guidelines to help us intentionally pay attention and remember Him.
Remember God’s history of faithfulness with each new challenge. Exodus 14:10-14; I Samuel 17:34–37. We each face “Goliaths” and “Red Seas” during our lives as we journey with Christ. God invites us to remember His powerful acts through history and the specific ways He has delivered us from the “lion and the bear” (as with David). Forgetting leads to unbelief while remembering fills us with courage to follow Him wherever He leads.
Receive God’s limits as a gift. Matt. 4:1-11; John 3:27; Eccles. 3:1-8. God is God; we are not. God is perfect; we are not. While our culture resists the idea of limits, we embrace them. Limits are gifts and expressions of God’s love and goodness to us. We recognize them as a friend, keeping us grounded so that we don’t hurt ourselves, others, or God’s work.
Love my neighbor as I love myself—embracing my singleness as I bond with others, or in marriage, giving first priority to my spouse and children. Genesis 2:24-5; I Cor. 7:25- 38. We recognize both marriage and singleness as vocations in God’s kingdom, with deep significance for our walk with Christ. For those married, bonding with and serving our spouse comes before all else but Christ. For those single, we affirm our call to be the bride of Christ, bond in healthy ways to others, and serve as mothers and fathers who bear fruit for Christ.
Walk in community while respecting each person’s uniqueness. I Cor.12:17-31; Hebrews 10:24-5; Prov. 27:17. We place a high value on community, walking out our faith together as a local church family. At the same time, we affirm the biblical emphasis on the uniqueness of each person’s individuality and calling.
Apply emotionally healthy practices in order to love well. I Cor.13:1-3; Luke 10:25-37. Jesus made it clear that the second greatest commandment is to love others. Part of our discipleship includes learning new skills—peaking, listening, clarifying assumptions and expectations, and clean fighting, among others. These “practices” are easy to learn but difficult to implement consistently, especially under stress.
Listen more than I speak. Proverbs 18:7-8; James 1:19, 26; James 3:1-12. Scripture is clear that we are to be slow to speak and quick to listen; real maturity is reflected in our ability to control our speech. James states that if we are able to manage our tongues, we will be able to keep all our unhealthy passions in check.
Be a lover of God, seeking to live in the love of Christ above all else. Psalm 27:1-4; Matthew 22:36-38. Deut.6:4-9. Jesus identified loving God as the greatest commandment, a summation of all Scripture. We want to be a people who know God in our experience (heart and soul) as well as with our minds. Befriend silence. Ps. 37:7; 1 Kings 19:11-13; Ps.62:1-2. Our tendency is to fear and avoid silence, not befriend it. Yet silence is one of God’s great gifts, especially in our noisy culture. What makes our silence unique is its quality of being “before the Lord.”
Allow Holy Scripture to shape and form Christ in me. 2 Tim. 3:16- 7; Ps.19:7-11; Matt.4:4. We love the Word of God, affirming that maturing in Christ requires a life where we read, memorize, meditate, enjoy, study, and obey Scripture. Our focus is that Christ be formed in us, not simply the accumulation of more information about him.
Integrate contemplative practices and rhythms (e.g. Daily Office, Sabbath-keeping) to slow down my life. Luke 5:15-16; Ps.119:164; Deut.5:12-15. A great problem in Western culture today is our crammed schedules, endless to-do lists, and general busyness. Powerful, often demonic forces, keep us distracted and adrift spiritually. We affirm God’s call to order our entire lives in such a way that the love of Christ comes before all else. Recognizing our humanity and our limits, we choose to observe contemplative practices in order to slow down to be with God, ourselves, and others.
http://www.emotionallyhealthy.org. Used by permission.