In this lies the heart of the rule; to love Christ, to shun wealth, to remain close to the heavenly king, and to be gentle towards all people.
- The Rule of Comghall (Irish, 6th or 8th century)
...that I may know him and the power of his resurrection, and may share his sufferings, becoming like him in his death...
- Philippians 3.10
Each of the many monastic communities that sprang up during the period of the Celtic Revival had its own "rule." The rule was a standard for conduct and life together within the community. It was subscribed and held to by each of the members, and provided a bond and framework for their lives and ministries.
The primary purpose of such a rule was to encourage love for Jesus Christ. The disciplines and guidelines of the rule were all constructed with that as the chief end - to be like Jesus.
Each of us lives by some kind of rule of life - some values, disciplines, priorities, and routines that we pursue faithfully in the belief that this is the way to full and fruitful life. Most of us have not written our rules down, and so it's easy to fudge on them, when convenience dictates, or simply to ignore them.
But write your rule down and share it with a soul friend and now you have the beginnings of something really powerful to help you grow in the Lord. The rule doesn't have to be a yoke to which you are slavishly bound, so that you become a world-class legalist over time. Rather, it can be a standard to rise to, a framework to define your path, and a resource for directing your steps day by day. You can change your rule if it turns out to be too demanding, or enhance it if it's just a bit too light.
Celtic Christians were fiercely disciplined, and they made a much more lasting impact in their generation than we're presently in the process of doing in ours. Perhaps this is an area where they could teach us something of what it takes to turn our world rightside-up for Jesus?
Today in ReVision: Proof of Sin - Need some? I got it.
This Week's Download: Soul Friends - Get a soul friend and write a personal rule to share.