17th October 2022

What is a “Rule of Life”?

As an intentional Christian Community, our Rule of Life helps us to understand how we can live well together and be transformed as individuals into Christ’s likeness. As we begin our year with a new cohort of residents, they have been exploring what this means. Wisdom reflects on exactly what we mean when we talk about a ‘Rule of Life’:

‘The goal-oriented life is much simpler, in my opinion, when we develop good habits of prayer, meditation, discipline, and carrying out our obligations. According to Aristotle, having good character offers the soul “moral equilibrium,” which I believe is established as a result of the habits we cultivate on a daily basis. I think it’s necessary to discuss Rules of Life because of this and because I think it’s crucial for us to identify who we are, our story, and to constantly remind ourselves of the things God has placed on our hearts that bring us back to our foundations. 

What is a Rule of Life? 

The framework through which our behaviour as Christians is transformed as a result of our discipleship is known as a rule of life. It says, “This is who we are, this is our story,” and it calls us back to our fundamental beliefs by reminding us of the things that God has placed on our hearts. The Rule of Life’s use of the word “rule” does not imply that you should set rules for yourself. Instead, it’s just the standard you’ve established for yourself before God based on your own will and desires, as well as a list of characteristics for the person you want to be in Christ. 

A good example of a rule of life would be to centre your growth in prayer, scripture, and solitude. These practices can also help us live lives that are rooted, flourishing, and fruitful in Christ. Sabbath, reconciliation, and worship are communal practices for spiritual development. Additionally, missioner practice for improvement in justice, service, and blessing. 

The practice of creating a “Rule of Life” dates back to Saint Benedict, an early Christian monk, in the sixth century A.D. As they followed God together, Saint Benedict wanted to make his vision for the community he oversaw more explicit and even codify it. The Rule of Saint Benedict, the first “Rule of Life,” was what he put down on paper after having that vision. Since then, a lot of people have incorporated this practice into both their personal and communal lives. 

Why do we need a Rule of Life? 

A rule of life encourages us to pay attention to the here and now, to become aware of God in what we are already doing rather than adding more disciplines to an already hectic schedule. Our role is to be available, listen, watch, act, and simply be. By doing so, we are able to maintain our spiritual vitality and awareness of God’s closeness to us. 

How do we use a Rule as a way for living?  

If rules are too complicated, people will quickly disregard them. It is also beneficial for rules to contain a challenge component so that our body is stimulated to grow. A Rule should provide flexible guidelines within which God’s benevolent presence can be acknowledged and praised. I believe that ritual is necessary for the human spirit. Repetition and association are crucial components in maintaining a spiritual life, and we should use Rule of a method for living in the same way.

– Wisdom Chukwumereze Chikwe

To have a look at our own Rule of Life, click here.