Over the last few years I’ve been increasingly convinced that forming resilient disciples in our culture is going to take a lot more than good Sunday services and healthy small groups. As I survey the landscape of American Christianity, there’s much to lament. As Ghandi once said, “I like your Christ, but I do not like your Christians. They are so unlike your Christ.” The Church of Jesus is supposed to be salt and light in the world, but too often we’ve lost our saltiness, either conforming ourselves to the world or retreating to religious enclaves in fear. For the most part, American Christians look more like secular progressives or religious conservatives, and less like a people who give their allegiance to the Suffering Servant and Risen King—Jesus.

We’re aiming for fully formed disciples, people who not only hold deep biblical convictions but who hold those convictions with courage and compassion in an empire to which we do not belong and within which we are sojourners and exiles. We’re less concerned about good church services and meaningful small groups, and more concerned with disciples who are deeply formed by the gospel, are connected in life-shaping community, and are committed to everyday, disciple-making mission.

To that end, we’ve been encouraging our church to engage in a regular process of reflection, intention, and purposeful life planning. Traditionally this has been called a Rule of Life—a set of priorities and practices that help us live all of life as disciples of Jesus. A Rule of Life isn’t a bunch of rules to follow or resolutions to maintain. Rather, it is, as this resource describes, something of a trellis or framework designed to support the organic life of everyday discipleship to Jesus.

We encourage you to create something of a Rule of Life using this tool. There’s a ton of freedom involved in it, and the end result could be as simple as a single word and a few key practices. Or maybe you want to develop it into a working document that you return to daily, weekly, or monthly. There’s no right or wrong way to do it. The goal is to help you live as a disciple of Jesus daily, and to do so with grace.

Thankfully, the Spirit of God is at work among us, leading us toward maturity, and helping us in our weakness. We don’t have to dig deep and try harder. We just need to relax into the love of the Father given to us in Christ Jesus, and let the life-giving power of the Spirit produce His fruit in us.

May our Triune God cause abundant fruitfulness in your life.

Check out the full Rhythms for Intentional Discipleship resource here. 

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