Three Simple Rules

How do you keep your faith strong?  When bad things happen and life gets hard, what spiritual disciplines do you go to that keep your faith in tact?  Bishop Reuben P. Job published a little book called "Three Simple Rules: a Wesleyan Way of Living", a more modern interpretation of John Wesley's General Rules, to help us learn how to live a faithful, Christian life.  Yes, these are simple rules, but simple doesn't mean easy.  

1.  Do no harm.  Seems simple enough, right?  Just don't hurt anybody.  But that's not always as simple as it may seem.  Sometimes we don't know when we are hurting someone.  Sometimes we don't know what people are sensitive to.  Bishop Job writes that when this first rule isn't followed, it isn't because it is too complicated.  instead, it is because it takes a whole lot of self-discipline to live up to it.  Every decision we make, every thing we do has the potential to negatively impact somebody.  To be intentional about not doing that, as simple as it may sound, is very difficult.  And it may also mean that we have to do something other than what would most benefit us.  Although difficult, intentionally avoiding harm to others is scriptural.

2.  Do good.  This one, I think, is my favorite of the three.  It is my favorite because it acknowledges that even if we get the first rule mastered, that still isn't enough.  Of course, doing no harm is great and should be our goal.  But even that still isn't enough.  Not only do we have to intentionally avoid doing harm, but rule number two teaches us that we must also be intentional about doing good.  Bishop Job calls this a proactive way of living a faithful life.  We don't have to wait for somebody to invite us to do something good.  Existing ministries are not the only way to do good.  We can start new ministries, do new things, go new places and meet new people.  We can be intentional about eternally expanding the amount of good being done in the world; feeding the hungry, clothing the naked, sheltering the homeless, giving to the poor, loving the outcast, being a friend to the lonely and a voice for the silenced.  Again, another simple rule.  Simple, but not easy.  It, like rule one, requires self-discipline and intentionality.  

3.  Stay in love with God.  Another simple, but challenging rule.  Just love God all the time.  Simple, right?  But that gets tested when we get a bad medical diagnosis, or when financial, emotional, mental or physical struggles come into our lives.  In this book, Bishop Job reminds us that John Wesley taught us several ways of staying in love with God; public worship, communion, prayer, reading scripture, Bible study and fasting.  These spiritual disciplines, also called works of piety, give us strength and guidance, and most importantly, they establish, strengthen and maintain our relationship with God.  Our God is a God who wants to be known and a God who enjoys our intentional efforts to know God better.  

These three simple rules all had one thing in common; intentionality.  They are things that aren't just going to happen on their own.  We have to be intentional about them.  So, let's be intentional about not hurting others.  Let's be intentional about doing good things in the world.  And let's be intentional about keeping our love of God.  If you would like a copy of this little, but incredibly powerful book, let me know and I will get you one! 

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