This week’s eNewsletter Feature
was written by Rev. Dr. Raymond Hylton,
FPCE senior pastor.

Have you ever heard of a Rule of Life?

Let me put your mind at ease – I am not talking about stodgy, impossible rules only the ultra-religious can practice and attain. A Rule of Life is not just for clergy types or monks living in a secluded, otherworldly religious order.

Neither is a Rule of Life the latest rage being promoted by so-called “Influencers” on social media.

So what is it?

Surprisingly, a Rule of Life goes back 1,700 years to the Desert Fathers and Mothers who went into the deserts of Egypt to seek a deeper life with God.

A Rule of Life is a way of ordering your life to receive the Grace and Love of God.

Image courtesy of Pixabay.

The unfortunate, confusing truth is everyone already has a concept of a “Rule of Life” that distracts from God or directs us toward God; that either diminishes our desire and awareness of God’s presence in us and the world or enlivens our desire to know God. Intellectually, we know Jesus’s invitation in John 15:4: Abide in me as I abide in you. Just as the branch cannot bear fruit by itself unless it abides in the vine, neither can you unless you abide in me.

But how do we experience the daily, living-breathing delight that comes from abiding in Christ?

Years ago, I spoke to a man who complained that he could never become a Christian. I asked why, and he said, “Other than coming to church on Sundays, singing hymns, drinking coffee after worship, and making sure I get involved in a committee, what else do I do? Are there any practices that guide me in my life with God?”

His question opened up a 24-month journey in developing a Rule of Life that helped him forge practices around prayer, submission, and obedience, living as a servant before God and others, practicing self-control, generosity, and daily (not just Sunday) worship. So, in that light, a Rule of Life is a set of daily habits or core practices that enables followers of Jesus to know Jesus intellectually and experientially. The end result of such reordering of one’s life is a deeper love for God. Such a lifestyle changes us and empowers us to live freely and joyfully as servants of God in our sadly broken and unruly world.

In our complex, anxiety-ridden, politically splintered society, over-filled with empty pursuits, God calls you to a rooted way of living that instills joy and fills you with the eternal hope that transcends the negative forces at work in the world.

Your personal Rule of Life
If you are interested in experiencing God beyond Sunday and developing practices that order your whole life with God and others, let me know, and I will share some of the resources I am using.

Still, this Sunday, I hope you are planning to worship with us. We are turning toward an overlooked and under-appreciated practice–gratitude. Read more about this word from Luke 17:11-19.

Remember, you are deeply loved by God.

Pastor Raymon Hylton

© 2023 First Presbyterian Church of Evanston

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