A Rule of Life is an intentional pattern of spiritual disciplines that provides structure and direction for growth in holiness. A Rule establishes a rhythm for life in which is helpful for being formed by the Spirit, a rhythm that reflects a love for God and respect for how he has made us. The disciplines which we build into our rhythm of life help us to shed the “old self” and allow our “new self” in Christ to be formed. Spiritual disciplines (or Spiritual Practices as described HERE) are means of grace by which God can nourish us. Ultimately a Rule should help you to love God more, so if it becomes a legalistic way of earning points with God or impressing others, it should be scrapped. If the traditional, ancient term “rule” concerns you because it sounds legalistic, think of “rule” as a “rhythm of life” or as a “Curriculum in Christlikeness” (Dallas Willard), or as a “Game Plan for Morphing” (John Ortberg)… The Rule which you write should include three things: a self-assessment, an explanation of how you will practice your chosen disciplines, and your form of accountability.
DOWNLOAD this short essay from The C.S. Lewis Institute which offers many discipleship resources, including this process for developing your own personal Rule of Life. These instructions quote, paraphrase, and adapt Marjorie Thompson, Soul Feast, chap. 9, and Adele Ahlberg Calhoun, Spiritual Disciplines Handbook, pp. 35-39.
Relationship with God, Self, Creation & Others
A six-week journey of reflection on growing a rule of life is available from the monks at SSJE as an anytime series for individuals and groups. Subscribe to receive the series’ video meditations from the SSJE Brothers directly in your inbox, or view the videos on their website. This video offering is accompanied by a helpful workbook, and facilitation guidance for small groups.
You can find the materials for this resource at https://www.ssje.org/growruleresources/.
SSJE (The Society of St. John the Evangelist better known as the Cowley Fathers) is an Anglican religious order for men. The members live under a rule of life and, at profession, make monastic vows of poverty, celibacy and obedience. SSJE was founded in 1866 at Cowley, Oxford, England (hence the common name for the order). The order house closest to Rhode Island is located in Cambridge, MA with a retreat center, Emery House in West Newbury, MA. The brothers offer spiritual direction, individual and group retreats, workshops and you are always welcome to attend worship. Visit their website at https://www.ssje.org/visit/. You can also explore the possibility of becoming a brother by starting with this page on their website: https://catchthelife.org/.