St. Benedict, in the 6th Century, initially constructed what is known as a Rule of Life (often also referred to as a Rule for Life).
The Latin term for “rule” is regula. From it we get our words regular and regulate. Very simply, a rule of life, is a pattern or rhythm of spiritual disciplines that provides structure and direction for growth in holiness.
A rule is not meant to be restrictive or legalistic. However, it does require a commitment. It is intended to help us establish a rhythm of living.
A rule of life gives us a way to enter the lifelong process of personal transformation.
The concept is called different things by various authors, but the core of it is essentially the same.
Ultimately, a rule will help you love God more.
St. Benedict simply called it a “Rule of Life.”
Ruth Haley Barton in her book Sacred Rhythms refers to it as a “rhythm of life.”
Dallas Willard, author of The Spirit of the Disciplines refers to it as “Curriculum in Christlikeness.”
John Ortberg in The Life You’ve Always Wanted calls it a “Game Plan for Morphing.”
Adele Calhoun, in Spiritual Disciplines Handbook writes,
“A rule for life is a simple statement of the regular rhythms we choose in order to present our bodies to God as our ‘spiritual acts of worship’ (Romans 12:1).”
Each rule, or rhythm, is a way we partner with God for the transformation only he can bring. Rules keep our lives from devolving into unintended chaos. (So we don’t cast off restraint) They are a brief and realistic enumerating everything you might do in a day. Life-giving rules are a brief and realistic scaffold of disciplines that support your heart’s desire to grow in loving God and others.”
Practically, draw square with four quadrants. Label the top left one Daily, top right one Weekly, bottom left one Monthly, and the bottom right oneYearly.
Ruth Haley Barton has suggested that a rule of life seeks to respond to two questions:
Who do I want to be?
How do I want to live?
Barton has combined the question to:
How do I want to live so that I can be who I want to be?