Peter Scazzero in his book, “Emotionally Healthy Spiritually” writes that most Christians are not intentional in growing spiritually, but have an unconscious rule for developing their spiritual life. They go to church on Sunday, are involved in a small group, say prayers before meals, and read the Bible when there is time. Scazzerro does not believe it is enough when you have an earthquake event in your life.
In a chapter titled, “Go the Next Step to Develop a Rule of Life – Loving Christ Above All Else”, Scazzero invites us to order our lives around spiritual practices and disciplines. A Rule of Life is a call to order our entire life in such a way that the love of Christ comes before all else.
The Rule of Life in early church is written in Acts 2:42-47.
42 They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. 43 Everyone was filled with awe at the many wonders and signs performed by the apostles. 44 All the believers were together and had everything in common. 45 They sold property and possessions to give to anyone who had need. 46 Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, 47 praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.
God made each of us unique and different, so our Rule of Life will not be identical from one person to another. Our goal is same, union with God in Christ, transformation into His image, and freeing our hearts from anything that stands in the way of Christ living in and through us.
Scazzero suggests four categories with a total of twelve elements for a Rule of Life:
o One Year Bible
o Read through book of Bible
2. Silence & Solitude
o A cutting edge practice for growing in Christ (Dallas Williard)
o Unplug for 5-20 minutes/day
3. Daily Office (prayer)
o Morning, midday, after work, evening
o Read Psalms
o Devotional book
o Bible study
o Listening online to bible teachers
o Stop – one 24hr period/week
o Rest from work
o Delight includes a sense of joy, completion, wonder, and play
o Contemplate upon God
o Not overloading schedule including children’s activities
o Monitor social media, technology, TV
o Limit credit cards/debt
o Tithing important simplicity – teaches generosity and dependency on God as our security and source
7. Play & Recreation
o Board games, puzzles
o Movies, books
8. Service & Mission
o Using time, talent, resources and gifts for others
o Using your spiritual gifts
o Commitment to the poor and marginalized
o Working for justice
9. Care for Physical body
o Sleep & rest
10. Emotional health
o Reading enrichment books
o Meeting with a trusted friend or counselor
o Building relationships w/siblings
12. Community (companions for the journey)
o Life group
o Meeting with a mentor
o Having a spiritual director
I agree with Scazzero, that a Rule of Life that causes you to love Christ above all else will deeply transform your life.
So, now what?
1. Write your current Rule of Life that is intentionally helping you love Christ above all else.
2. Drop any Rule that pushes you away from Christ.
3. Pick one or two rules to make an intentional part of your life.