Recently my colleague Brian Gray, COO and 5280 Fellowship Director, wrote a short reflection guide for our donors on living out the Christian life in our daily work. Here’s my introduction to the booklet. If you’d like to receive monthly updates or receive a booklet, visit here.
When I was a new Christian, one of the first things I learned from my involvement in campus ministry was that Christians are supposed to have a daily “quiet time.” This usually involved structured Bible reading, perhaps a devotional book, and — if I was particularly motivated or had the time — a list of prayer requests.
Daily devotions worked for me for years, but eventually, I grew tired of them. I had read the stories, done the prayers, experimented with dozens of devotional books. Eventually, I fell away from morning devotionals. And for years, I felt a deep sense of shame. Was I failing? What was wrong with my spiritual life? Had God left me completely?
Strangely enough, in the past several years, my spiritual journey has become harder. I’ve felt stress more acutely; I’ve noticed myself react with a short temper or an arrogant reply in interactions with my family or co-workers; I’ve felt spiritually exhausted. I’ve noticed deep areas of unkindness in my soul toward even those I love the most. The question I’ve once again asked myself is: Lord, can I really change? Is it even possible to be “conformed to the image of Christ” in this life (Romans 8:29)?
In this time of asking questions, my colleague Brian Gray, COO and director of the 5280 Fellowship, has quietly, persistently re-introduced to me the rich Christian tradition that I had overlooked. For so many years I saw “spiritual disciplines” as restrictive — even un-Protestant? Wasn’t I simply saved by grace?
I’m slowly beginning to realize that spiritual disciplines are like a trellis, as Peter Scazzerro says in his wonderful book, Emotionally Healthy Spirituality. A trellis is a structure that vines grow on. They don’t cause the growth; but they do support the plant’s growth. In the same way, spiritual disciplines are the trellis upon with the Holy Spirit grows His fruit in our lives. Prayer, Sabbath, confession, simplicity, solitude, celebration — these are the structures upon which the Spirit climbs into our hearts and penetrates our emotions in the process of sanctification.
At Denver Institute for Faith & Work, our mission is to form men and women to serve God, neighbor, and society through their work. Did you catch that? We’re really all about formation. And this is why we’re giving you this gift today.
This short publication — Spiritual Disciplines for Your Work: A Reflection Guide — is meant to be a gift. It contains short, reflective exercises for each month of the year. I want to encourage you to use this, put it next to your bed, read it with a spouse or family, or even bring it to your small group.
The oddity of this brief publication, which has its foundation in the spiritual practices we originally designed for the 5280 Fellows, is that it’s not just meant for the quiet time in the morning, in isolation from the rest of your life. It’s meant as a tool for your daily life at work. As you see yourself respond emotionally to a boss, or feel the pang of disappointment at a lost opportunity, or wonder about your future career path, use these disciplines to quiet your heart and turn your focus to Christ. He alone can provide what we’re looking for.
I’m now re-exploring the spiritual disciplines in my own life. I hope you’ll join me on the journey. “In him was life, and that life was the light of men,” (John 1:4). What joy is ours if only we will die to ourselves and take up the easy yoke of Christ, the only place where we can finally find rest for our souls (Matthew 11:28-30).
Grace and peace,
CEO and Founder
Denver Institute for Faith & Work