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Recognize events that record Jesus’ practice of solitude and silence and what this implies for believers
1.1 Matthew 4 and Luke 4, Jesus’ temptation in the wilderness
- 1.2 Mark 1:35, Jesus withdraws to pray
- 1.2.1 Jesus developed the regular habit of finding times for solitude, silence, and prayer in order to receive direction from his Father.
1.3 Luke 12:12–16, Jesus chooses the Twelve
1.4 Matthew 14:13-21: Jesus feeds the 5,000
1.5 Luke 9:10: Jesus tries to draw the disciples away from the crowds
1.6 Matthew 26:36-46: Jesus in Gethsemane
Recognize why solitude and silence are important in our lives.
1.1 “Without solitude it is virtually impossible to live a spiritual life.” (Henri Nouwen)
1.2 Abba Poemen said, “If a person remembered that it is written, ‘By your words you will be justified and by your words you will be condemned,’ he would more readily choose to remain silent.” (Becoming Fire, 276)
1.3 “We need to find God, and he cannot be found in noise and restlessness. God is a friend of silence…We need silence to be able to touch souls.” (Malcolm Muggeridge)
Recognize the descriptions of solitude and silence
Solitude is choosing to withdraw from human interaction.
Solitude is the spiritual discipline of voluntarily and temporarily withdrawing to privacy for spiritual purposes. It may take place in an isolated closet, room, attic, garage, basement, guest house, park, beach, retreat center, desert, mountains, etc
In practicing solitude, we are disconnecting from our habit of being joined to people and things.
Silence is the practice of attending and listening to God in quiet, without interruption and noise. Silence provides freedom from speaking as well as from listening to words or music.
The practice of silence frees us from the distracting static of the noise that is all around us.
Silence is the way to make solitude a reality. Without it, solitude has little effect. Only silence will allow us life-transforming concentration upon God
Recognize the definitions of a Rule of Life and why we should develop a Rule of Life
A rule of life is “a guideline we choose to regulate our lives in order to facilitate our spiritual growth.”
“A rule for life offers unique and regular rhythms that free and open each person to the will and presence of Christ. The spiritual practices of a rule provide a way to partner with the Holy Spirit for personal transformation.”
“A personal rule of life is a way of ordering our lives to catch the wind of grace.”
“A rule of life seeks to respond to two questions: Who do I want to be? How do I want to live? Actually, it might be more accurate to say that a rule of life seeks to address the interplay between these two questions: How do I want to live so I can be who I want to be?”
- Helps one stay focused in the journey toward Christlikeness
Recognize how to put together a Rule of Life and how to structure it.
- *Build in BALANCE
- 1.1.1 Include practices that come easy to you, as well as ones that stretch you and are a bit out of your comfort zone. God will often call us to grow by stretching us to develop the non-dominant side of our personality.
- *Build in FLEXIBILITY
- 1.2.1 Avoid becoming rigid and legalistic, especially in the beginning attempts to form a rule. Life happens and we need to hold things loosely during those times when things do not go according to “plan.”
Be flexible, but guard your time.
- * Recognize the seasons of your life
- 1.3.1 Life circumstances will help determine what you can actually do now. Each season of life provides an opportunity for God to teach us valuable lessons.
- *Picking and Choosing
- 1.4.1 What do I need to let go of? What do I need to take up?
1.4.2 If you are going to establish a new rhythm for your life, it almost always means that you will need to let something go in order to pick up something new.
Structure: A helpful skeleton for developing your rule is to think in terms of: “What will I do… daily…weekly…monthly…half yearly…yearly?”