RULE OF LIFE
A “rule of life” (ROL), from the Latin word for trellis, is an intentional structure we give to our lives to maintain healthy rhythms and boundaries so that we can grow upward (in our relationship with God) and outward (in our mission to the world) with greater fruit. In the words of our vision statement, a ROL plan helps us “both know and show the love of God in Christ.” Our lack of healthy rhythms is often due to a lack of thoughtful and intentional planning. Developing a ROL provides a self-paced plan to move us toward a measure of health.
Consider committing to the following seven practices. While you might not yet be able to engage all seven to their fullest capacity, try nonetheless to have some of each as part of your plan. And remember, be realistic! It’s ok to start small.
Click below to download an editable Rule of Life PDF
RULE OF LIFE PRACTICES & RESOURCES
SCRIPTURE: The Bible is God’s Word to us. By the presence of the Spirit and the Word of God, we have everything we need for life and godliness. The more we know God’s Word, the more time we spend in God’s Word, and the more we hear directly from God by His Spirit. Scripture is God’s primary way of communicating with us, so as we prayerfully approach Scripture, we can hear God speak back in His Word.
Resources: Though there are many different types of Bible reading plans, below are some suggestions. Additionally, we have included a couple of our favorites for those interested in helpful study resources.
Bible in one year
Bible in two years
Helpful Study Bibles & Resources
PRAYER: Cultivating a prayer life is foundational to a growing spiritual life. Like any relationship, communication–sharing and listening–deepens relationships, produces trust, and provides an opportunity for greater affection to another. Our prayer is communication with God, but it is also an act of worship as we acknowledge our dependence on and need for Him.
Resources: Using written prayers is one way to develop a consistent prayer life. Below are some resources that have been helpful to our pastoral leadership.
Morning and Evening - Charles Spurgeon
A Diary of Private Prayer - John Baillie
Small Simple Ways - Vinita Hampton Wright
Sabbath: Pick a day/time you will commit to cease from work. This time should be used for rest, rejuvenation, and an orientation toward the goodness of God and His creation. Ideally, your Sabbath will span an entire day (six days of work, one day of rest), but you might need to start with a morning, afternoon, or evening and progress toward incorporating rest into an entire day. Another practice may be to observe Sabbath rest on two half days.
Resources: Are you unsure how best to engage in sabbath rest? Check out this article for Tim Keller on six ways to do so.
Article: “Six Ways to Practice Sabbath” - Tim Keller
Worship: While all areas of life are opportunities for worship, specific rhythms of worship that take us outside of ourselves and into the lives of others are also necessary for healthy spiritual rhythms. Corporate worship, by the Word and sacrament, reminds us of our place amongst the people of God. Generosity reminds us that every good gift is from God for His glory, not our own. Service provides ways for us to show the love of God by being His hands and feet both inside and outside the church.
Resources: Consider the different ways to engage more fully in the life of our church. Corporate worship, membership, giving, and volunteers all help us become invested in the mission of Redeemer East Harlem.
Community: God never intended for our spiritual walk to be one we do alone. Christian community is one of the ways God helps us grow. The encouragement, rebuke, and accountability within Christian community is unlike any other form of relationship. Developing Christian community is often foundational to our long-term spiritual health.
Resources: While there are many ways to meet and get to know people within the church, consider being part of community groups, classes, or volunteer teams.
Physical & Mental Health: Prioritizing our physical and mental health can be vital to a vibrant Christian life. We should prioritize doing things that promote a healthy body (regular exercise, eating healthy) and mind (engaging with content and/or practices that lead toward mental health), but we should also avoid doing things that undermine physical health (sedentary lifestyle, excessive drinking/smoking, etc.) and mental health (forms of social media, extend screen time, in-take of particular types of content).
Resources: We might not think of mental and physical health as spiritual practices, but our spiritual life is not only about cultivating our souls. As embodied creatures made by God, our mental and physical health also impacts our spiritual lives.
Hospitality & Mission: As we develop our inner life with God, so should we develop our outward engagement with others. In such engagement, through word and deed, we seek to show the love of God in Christ. In hospitality, we seek to show the welcome of Christ by loving and welcoming others, especially those quite different from ourselves. As people on mission, we seek to share our hope in Christ with others so that they might, too, experience such hope.
Resources: In 2023, REH focused on what it means to have a public faith. The sermon series and resources developed continue to be helpful as we consider what it means to be a people on mission.