I recently completed a one-day retreat at the HUB where Nick & Jamie led us through the process of prayerfully building a rule of life. This is the term that arose in the development of the various monastic orders. They were usually founded upon some governing guidelines, that they were convicted, should shape a believer's daily rhythm of life. These orders themselves were founded as the Christian faith became more and more enmeshed with the culture of the Empire (Constantine’s conversion and all that). Within a short time the entrance to the kingdom of God was no longer adult conversion but infant baptism. In time it became difficult to distinguish the citizen from the saint. In the “Rhythms of Life” course, designed in house by Pastor Nick, we provide the tools for the modern believer to build the spiritual life that orients to the fullness of life in Christ. But this is a family blog? What does the rule of life have to do with raising our families?
Consider this as a parallel: Just as we can find our spiritual life being shaped by the pattern of this world, so might our home life! Most of you grew up in a very Christian culture that espoused very biblical virtues of parenthood, childhood and family. However, the moral foundation that is currently shaping our culture, including our schools, is moving away from the bible and into some form of self-centred, value by consensus system. As Christian parents who desire to shape their home to most naturally produce God-fearing, Christ-loving, Spirit-led children, we may need to step back from cultural norms and review our daily and weekly rhythms and see how they line up to the bible and to what the Spirit is saying to us. What practices or habits do you engage as a family that help you spiritually? Where do bible reading, prayer and church attendance fit into your home’s rule of life?
My parents had it relatively easy. Culture supported the practices and values they engaged in our family life; Even in school the teacher had us recite the Lord’s prayer every day. My generation found there was less support from culture but neither was there much working against us. Today’s parents (ie: You!), however, face a greater challenge. Not only a lack of support from culture but the presence of active opposition. Not to spirituality in general, but adherence to the Church and biblical doctrines that espouse absolutes. To the idea in general that God has revealed himself and made it possible to know him and to know his will. And in so knowing to be held accountable to that knowledge. But lest I discourage you with my cautionary words let me encourage you with a scripture:
“His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us to his own glory and excellence….” (2 Peter 1:3).
In summation, I don’t think parents can float through family-life and hope that it all turns out well. I think parenting today requires some intentional rule of family life that will implement routines and habits that will orient you all toward the fullness of life in Christ. To that end, you have my prayers!