Do you feel like it’s hard to get in a routine of worship and spiritual growth? I do! But I’ve recently learned of an ancient Christian spiritual practice that is really helping me in all aspects of my life and business. Perhaps it will help you too.
So there’s an ancient Christian practice I knew nothing of until last week. I am practicing it every day now. I wanted to share it with you. Maybe it’s something you can begin using in your life and in your business. This is the kind of thing that is going to, by its very nature, help you grow as a person, it’s going to help you grow in your spiritual life (that’s really the point), it’s going to help you grow in your business life as well (that’s why we’re talking about it in the Faith-Full Business Podcast), and it’s going to help you grow closer to the Lord and reorient your life around union with Christ. That union that you have as a person who is redeemed by Him.
The reason why this is important to talk about on a business podcast is because we are to take every thought captive for the Lord. Everything that we do needs to be oriented around His desire and His sovereign will for the life of his people. If we believe that our business fits in to that, as I know I do, and as I’m sure you do as well, then we need to be working on things to that end to make sure that our businesses are being conducted in that way.
What I want to tell you about is an ancient Christian practice called “The Rule of Life.” I’m not going to pretend to have the history of this entirely nailed down. I guess the most famous instance of a rule of life going back into Christian history was of Saint Benedict. That’s about as much of the history that I know other than the fact that there were some monastic beliefs that were associated with monks. There were some monastic groups who practiced something like this. It’s actually not that fruffy, believe it or not. If you studied online business and entrepreneurship there’s a lot of that woo-woo stuff out there. I know that. I try to guard against that stuff because so much of it is unbiblical actually. This is not that.
This is something developed by Christians as a spiritual discipline.
If I could preface a little bit without going into a sermon, one of the big problems we have in evangelicalism is a lack of structure, a lack of ritual, frankly a lack of liturgy. I don’t come from a liturgical background, I have been around though liturgical kind of backgrounds. While I don’t wish to be in a liturgical background, I do wish to have more structure in my life. I do wish to have more spiritual structure around my life than what I have right now. The Rule of Life is helping me to do that.
What is a Rule of Life? It probably would’ve been a good thing for me to have written down a definition before I tried to explain it to you on this podcast, but I didn’t do that, so I’m going to try my best to explain it to you. The Rule of Life is a set of practices that you determine for yourself. You could also say maybe a list of commitments, a list of practices and commitments that you determined are going to help you orient your life around your union with Christ. The Bible talks of union with Christ. The apostle Paul talks about this. It’s very important. Every aspect of you, every part of you, there’s this union going on. It’s not just you, it’s we. It’s me and Christ, if you’re a Christian.
But so many of us don’t live our lives that way because we haven’t woven Christ into the fabric of the way that we do life, and into the way we do business, etc. That’s what we’re doing. That’s what the Rule of Life does.
I’ve done things with this before, filling out planners, using Michael Hiatt’s Free to Focus and Best Year Ever systems. There are elements of this in all of those planning things. Those courses, or those methodologies. Those are all good. They’re not bad, if you’ve got one that works for you, great. This will actually fit very nicely into something like that. One of the reasons I was never able to do those long term, I did them for a while, but I was never able to do them long term, was because ultimately while I knew they were good for my personal development, and even to some degree for my spiritual development, I wasn’t basing them on my spiritual development. It wasn’t an inherently spiritual practice, it was just something that helped my spirituality a little bit. But this is inherently spiritual. Everything flows from this.
My prayer is that I will, 30 years from today, have done this every day from now until then, and even beyond then and that I will be a different person for it. That’s what I’m working on. An example might help. When I first discovered this literally last week, I’ve been doing some reading, I’ve been doing some watching. There are books that you can find. A good book that I am reading right now is called The Common Rule. You can go check that out. It’s sort of a way to take this practice and make it something practical and modern. If you’re the kind of person, like me, who has a hard time coming up with things like this for yourself and you want a guideline to go by, I see nothing wrong with picking up that book and just essentially doing what he tells you to do.
I’m doing something a little different, at least at this juncture. I may incorporate some of the things that he has listed out. I think there are some really helpful things in there, like time away from your smartphone, etc. Things that make it really modern and practical. An example might help. That’s a good way to do it. Read a book about it. The Common Rule is a good one and it will give you examples of things you can do.
I’ll give you an example of what my daily template looks like. Right now I have a daily set of commitments, a weekly set of commitments and then a monthly set of commitments. I’m just going to go through the daily right now to give you an idea of that. Essentially my rule of life can be divided into three areas. Actually as I’m looking at this I’m thinking of a way it could be improved. I only have technically two sections. I have three sections but only two of them have section headings. So the first section heading would be “Practices.” So in my daily template I have “Practices”, “Reflections” and then my “Prayer List”.
In my Practices, I have bible mastery which is just simply the bible reading program I follow which is to read a book of the Bible at the time, literally, at a time. You work on it. The specific version of it that I am doing has you going through it smaller to larger. So I’m still in pretty small books right now. I’m in the book of Nahum which only has three chapters. I listen usually when I’m doing my bible reading like that and I listen at 2x speed. So I’m able to move through a book of the Bible fairly swiftly right now. The idea is that you listen to that book 20 days or at least you do 20 readings in a row. Not the same day. You can spread them out. You can do 2 a day or do 1 a day, whatever. You do 20 readings in a row and then you move on to the next longest book. That’s bible mastery. I do that every day.
I do 10 minutes of psalms and prayer time every morning. I do 30 minutes of reading every day. I listen to sing scripture, which is a fantastic app that allows me to work on my scripture memory through the use of song. Then I write my reflections.
So Reflections is the second section on my template. I write reflections down throughout the day as they happen. By the way, I use the note talking app Bear to make all this happen. So I write my reflections. I practice prayer, which means that I am alert and attentive to what God is teaching me throughout the day and not only do I reflect on those things, but I also pray. If there’s a moment when I need the Lord’s strength because my kids are going crazy, whatever it is, I really am trying to be intentional about taking a moment and just praying about it.
And then family bible reading is the last daily practice on the list. Daily bible reading. Our family bible reading is where we’re going to do a bible reading with the family, usually after dinner, and we’re going to do one every single day. Right now our kids are little so we use something called the Every Day Read and Pray Bible. It’s really helpful. It’s good and brings it down to a practical level. So that’s what we’re doing.
And then reflections, of course this is blank. I fill it out throughout the day and then my prayer list. Right now I’m keeping it very short, very practical, devoting intense prayer to a few things, rather than trying to fit everything in. You can do it differently. This is just how I’m doing it.
I just wanted to give you that for an example. This is not to brag or anything like that. I can genuinely say that is not my motive at all. The reason why I said I can genuinely say that is because one of the things I’m praying for is my own motives and really having empathy for others. Things like that.
So that’s my Rule of Life. My daily template that I’m working on. It consists of practices, reflections and a prayer list. Some practices I’m trying to do every day to reorient my life in the natural transitions of my day around my union with Christ. That’s the goal. So maybe that is something that will help you. I hope it will.
This is something that if you never heard of before, and if you’re an evangelical Christian, you probably never have. I’ve certainly never heard of anything like it. You always hear of course you should read your Bible every day, you should pray every day, you should do these different things, but I’ve never really heard of a systemized way of doing it before until I learned about this last week. This really is something that, for my little brain, looks like it’s going to be extremely helpful.
I wanted to share it with you and this has been a bit of a long episode, characteristically, so I’m going to sign off here, but I just wanted to wanted to share this with you and thank you so much for a listener to the Faith-Full Business podcast. We’ll see you in the next episode.