“Salt and Light”: Matthew 7 | A Rule of Life

“Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.”

Matthew 7:13-14

When did you reach a stage in your life when you thought: “You know, I’m not sure I’m fully prepared for this?”:

When you started college? Your first job?

When you had your first child?

When your business began to grow? When you were promoted?

When you had to make a difficult decision and close a business? Or leave a job that wasn’t working?

I don’t know anyone who feels completely prepared for life at each stage of the journey. We all of us reach major transitions in life with questions like these: “Wow, how am I going to make this work? What do I need to learn to make it – to succeed?”

It really does not matter how amazing your parents were, the first few months – years – of parenting are a blur. Even if you’ve been very disciplined and creative until now, if your business begins to grow it’s not about you at that point: You’ve got to learn a whole new set of skills to sustain that growth. If you’ve reached the point where you need “to call it” – to close your business; to move on from a job that no longer works, even if you have a great resume and good prospects you have to manage the personal, emotional, spiritual toll of that transition, and you have to shepherd your family through it, too.

We – each of us – find ourselves living life on the go. And we often reach stages in our life when we say: “Boy nobody told me how to deal with this!” It can feel a little like we’re being asked to build the house we live in as we run from here to there: No time to stop. No time to reflect, rest. Just: “Get going. Move on. Don’t waste another minute.”

I think we can go through life like that. I know I have had seasons where it’s all a blur and I’m trying to keep the siding on the house in the middle of a hurricane.

It does not have to be like that. At the end of the day, it is not spiritually heathy for life to be like that.

The verses from Matthew 7, cited above, come at end of the Sermon on the Mount. Jesus wants the strict attention of his disciples before he sends them out to build the Kingdom on the go.

Those words, and Jesus’ tone, ask us to make concrete decisions about how we live our lives now, week by week:

What does the “broad road”, “the broad gate” look like in my life?

How do I get off the broad road and begin to build a house on the Rock?

So, what is the one thing – or the few things – I can do day by day, so that I stay in living connection with Jesus and build a spiritual house for me and my family? The first and most important decision is this – everything else flows from it:

Slow down.

Slow down using your calendar.

Slow down, using your calendar, so that whatever you do – whatever part of the house you’re working on – you do that from the solid foundation of being with Jesus.

If you don’t slow down to be with God, you will carry none of his calm, joy, grace, and peace with you when you do for God.

I use the word “calendar”, but another word for it is a “Rule of Life”. A Rule of Life is a consistent weekly pattern of prayer, work, rest, and relationships. It came to prominence under Saint Benedict who started some of the first monastic communities: Monks and nuns living, working and praying together – creating a stable, spiritual house, during a time of almost unbelievable, chaotic societal deformation. And the way they lived that out was to carefully, prayerfully focus on those four things: prayer, work, rest and relationships.

If you sense that you’re at a point where you need to begin to slow down, and reassess those four areas of your life; if you sense God calling you to begin again, and rebuild on the Rock, check out this podcast about developing a Rule of Life, a pastor and author who transformed how I apply this in my life: YouTube | Podcast | PDF .

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