“Share in suffering as a good soldier of Christ Jesus. No soldier gets entangled in civilian pursuits, since his aim is to please the one who enlisted him. An athlete is not crowned unless he competes according to the rules. It is the hard-working farmer who ought to have the first share of the crops. Think over what I say, for the Lord will give you understanding in everything.”

// 2 Timothy 2:3-7

Life is often found and forged in the trenches. The term ‘fighting in the trenches’ denotes a military tactic that was used in World War I, when soldiers lived in conditions both brutal and agonizing for months at a time – all in the name of a cause worth fighting for, which they would go to the grave to protect.

We are enlisted into God’s army as good soldiers of Jesus Christ, called to fight for His cause. Compared with WWI soldiers, how much more should a soldier of Heaven be willing to sacrifice all on Christ’s behalf? The call to go to the front lines for the sake of the Gospel demands a sense of urgency. The message of the cross requires radical abandonment. The cause of Christ – the good news of His grace and the scandal of God’s love – is worth risking everything for.

It is messy in the trenches. There will be times when we have to claw, fight, push and bite our way through, but it’s in these trying moments when God’s grace cleans up the mess. When we commit every day to seeing heaven and earth collide, the toil becomes totally worth it.

Paul was clear that trials would be a common thread throughout the Body of Christ. But by faith, we can see these trials through a different lens. Regardless of the sufferings we endure, God's commitment and faithfulness toward us remains the same. He is the constant one. Jesus is alive, and He is with us. He is more real, more present, more alive and more united with us than we know. He is God of both the mountaintop and the trenches.

What would our neighborhoods look like if we had an army of soldiers that committed their days to fighting in the trenches for the lost of this city? It is in the trenches where we will reach the unreachable and love the unlovable. Let’s mount up.

// Kyle Negrete