Your words were found, and I ate them, and your words became to me a joy and the delight of my heart, for I am called by your name, O LORD God of hosts.
- Jeremiah 15.16
If the housekeeper is a wise man he will not enforce a harsh rule, for the quality of the food will greatly influence the standard of observance.
- The Rule of Ailbe, Irish, 7th century
The “housekeeper” referred to above is the abbot of the monastery, leader of a group of men committed to following Jesus at all costs. The double entendre implied in this counsel suggests that disciples of the Lord need to be under a rule of discipline, but not one so harsh that it makes the content of discipline – the Word of God, prayer, singing, and so forth – distasteful to those who are under it.
We all have a rule of discipline, but for many of us, that rule – or set of disciplines – may not be as well-defined, or used as regularly as we need. We must seek a good working rule of disciplines before the Lord, one that enables us to find delight in submitting to such a regimen. Otherwise, our rule will become a burden, and we’ll simply set it aside.
Jeremiah delighted in the Word of God because he spent so much time in it, hearing God speak, reflecting on His Law, and considering the applications of truth to his life and times. He rejoiced to go to the Word each day, doubtless because he had covenanted with the Lord to study and learn according to a particular set of practices and exercises.
When people today begin to find delight in God’s Word, we will see the revival of God’s Church. But people do not delight in the Word, or in spiritual discipline of any sort, at least, not very much. Not just “laymen” but pastors have a difficult time establishing a rule of spiritual disciplines that will exercise their souls before the Lord in such a way that real transformation occurs.
Men and brethren, these things ought not be.
We can grow in the Lord, and take great joy in the process. But it all begins with establishing a rule we can live with, that will allow us to feed on the Word and presence of the Lord in a way that delights and transforms.
Isn’t it about time you began to take this challenge as your own?
Psalm 119.12-16 (Passion Chorale: “O Sacred Head, Now Wounded”)
Be blest, O God, our Savior; teach us Your holy Word!
Our lips proclaim with favor the statutes of the Lord.
How great our joy, dear Jesus, to follow in Your ways;
What more than this could please us, or brighten all our days?
Lord, help me to establish a rule of disciplines that will teach me to love You with all my soul and strength, and my neighbor as myself. Adapted from Columbanus, Monks’ Rule
We have prepared a worksheet to help you refresh your personal rule of spiritual disciplines. Simply write to T. M. and he'll send it along to you via email. And please consider how you can support our ministry, whether in your prayers, by your gifts, or by referring others to our resources. You can make a financial contribution to The Fellowship of Ailbe either by using the donate button here, or at our website, or by sending your gift to The Fellowship of Ailbe, 43135 Rudy Terrace, Leesburg, VA 20176.
 Ó Maidín, p. 24.