Earlier this morning I went to the gym to do one of the two workouts I would do during the day. When I go to the gym, there are two specific cardio machines that when I use them, I sweat profusely. This is not meant to gross anyone out who may read this, and I promise that if you stay with me, it will all make sense when it is all said and done. While on these machines, not only do I sweat profusely, but that sweat pours off of me and onto the machines upon which I am working. By the time I am finished with either of the machines, the handle bars, the steps, and the base of the machine itself is completely covered in sweat. There have been multiple times when I would work out on these machines, and as the sweat poured forth from me onto the machine, I would always think that others would see such a sight and would be grossed out. Even now as I write these words, I am convinced that there are some who are grossed out by such a thought in their minds. While working out on one of these machines today, there was a gentleman working out on the one next to me. I happened to look over while working out, and not only did I see the sweat pouring off of this particular guy, but I also saw this man sweating all over the machine. I have often wondered if people would watch as I worked out on either of the machines would be grossed out when they see me sweating all over the machines, and not taking the time out to either dry myself off, or wipe down the machines as I go. The more I consider such a reality, the more I consider the reality that most people when they go to the gym do so for one purpose and one purpose alone—to workout. More often than not, working out will cause one to sweat, and even sweat profusely—depending on the intensity of the workout. When I am on these particular machines, I have to admit that I am pretty intense in terms of length of time, and even the speed with which I work. As a result, I not only sweat, but I sweat all over the machine. Very rarely have I ever seen another next to me who leaves their sweat upon the machine as they workout—[of course I make sure to clean the entire machine upon the completion of my workout, as do others.]
When I witnessed this guy on the machine working out with the same intensity as me, and yes, even with sweat pouring on to the machine, I was actually relieved. I found myself actually grateful that there was someone else who left their sweat on the machine—someone else who seemed to workout with the same intensity as me. I actually felt relieved, for it meant that someone else used the machine the very same way I did. No sooner had those thoughts come into my mind that I began seeing a spiritual application connected with it. I found myself thinking about our spiritual lives, and our need for others who are willing to work with the same intensity as we are—in prayer, in intercession, in warfare, in conflict, in battle, in supplication, and the like. I found myself considering the tremendous need for those who are willing to get down in the trenches with us, and who are willing to work with such passion, such zeal, such intensity, such fervor, and of course, with the anointing of the Holy Spirit of Almighty God. I found myself considering how there is a great need in each and every one of our lives for those who are willing to come alongside us, and who are willing to leave their blood, their sweat, and even their tears on the ground. Tell me—when was the last time you actually got down in the trenches with another brother or sister, rolled up your sleeves, and got down in the midst of the dirt and dust with them? How many times have you come alongside another brother and sister and worked out with the same zeal, passion and intensity as they did.
I’m reminded of Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane when it is written that He prayed with such agony, such ferocity, such intensity, such passion, such zeal, and such an urgency that He actually sweat drops of blood. Three times He came to the disciples after He had instructed them to watch and pray, and three times He found them sleeping. In what was undoubtedly the darkest hour in Jesus’ life up to that moment—for His humanity actually wrestled with the divine will of God, which would ultimately send Him to the cross to die. Jesus understood the urgency of the hour, and as a result of this knowledge, He instructed the disciples—Peter, James and John—to watch and pray that they might not enter into temptation. Why do I mention this particular account in the life of Jesus? I mention this particular account, for in that moment in time—at that very hour—Jesus needed those closest to Him to get down in the trenches with Him, and to watch and pray. I am convinced that it was Jesus’ humanity that caused Him to instruct the disciples to watch and pray, for He understood that not only did He Himself need to be strengthened, but so also did they. Jesus knew and understood what was about to take place in the place of intimacy, and the disciples needed to be ready and prepared. It’s interesting to note that the only way the disciples could be prepared and ready for what was going to take place was through watching and prayer. It’s absolutely astounding that watching is connected with prayer, for there are specific times in our lives when our prayer must be accompanied by watching. There are specific times in our lives when we must do more than just pray, but must also watch, in order that we might fall into temptation. This particular account in the life of Jesus is one that warrants strong consideration—especially in light of what I am attempting to convey—for there is a tremendous need among us as brothers and sisters for those who are willing to come alongside us, and who are willing to sweat with us. There is a tremendous need for brothers and sisters to come alongside us and who are willing to sweat with us in prayer, to sweat with us in intercession, to sweat with us in warfare, to sweat with us in conflict and battle. We as brothers and sisters have a great and very real need for others to come alongside us and to weep with us in the trenches.
We as the people of God have a great need for others who are willing to soak our couches with their tears, and who are willing to soak our carpets with tears. Tell me—do you have such a brother or sister in your life? Do you have someone who is willing to get down in the trenches, someone who is willing to get down in the dirt and dust with you, and truly work with such intensity as you are? Moreover, are you yourself willing to be such a brother or sister to someone else? Are you yourself willing to come alongside someone else, and leave your blood and sweat on the altar in prayer and intercession? If you read the epistles which the apostle Paul wrote to the church, you will read of various men and women who came alongside both he and his companions—both in prayer, as well as in the work of the kingdom of Christ Jesus. There were even specific times when the apostle Paul requested prayer and supplication and intercession from others for them in order that they might be strengthened, and might accomplish and complete the work which the Lord had called them to. In fact, when writing to his spiritual son in the faith, the apostle Paul wrote that he wished that all men would lift up holy hands before the Lord in prayer. When I was at the gym this morning, I was actually relieved to watch this guy next to me work out with the same intensity as I knew I had done countless times before. I was actually relieved when I watched as he covered the machine with sweat, for it meant that I wasn’t alone at that very moment. There in that very moment, there was another by my side—even if he wasn’t doing so deliberately and intentionally—who was working out with the same intensity and ferocity, and who was leaving it all on the machine.
I am convinced that the same reality holds true among the weights, for there have been many times when I have found myself desiring another to come alongside me, and to actually work out with the same intensity as I have. There is something about someone else coming alongside you and working out with the same intensity and ferocity as you that seems to propel you to work harder, to dig deeper, and to go further. The same holds true even when you are running with someone else, for more often than not, running with someone else tends to cause you to push yourself a little harder, to dig a little deeper, and to run a little further. I know that there have been times when I have run with my wife, and even though I sometimes run faster than her, and even run ahead of her, just the fact of us running together seems to push her to dig deeper and to press on to complete the run. Even though there are many times when she is tired, weary and fatigued and doesn’t want to continue going, the fact that we are running together seems to give her the encouragement she needs to keep going. More often than not, by the time the run is completed, both of us feel good—even though physically we might by completely tired and exhausted. In these Last Days, I am convinced that there is a great and powerful need for brothers and sisters to come alongside each other, and to get down in the trenches with each other. There is a great need for us to get down in the trenches with that woman who has just left her husband because of infidelity, or perhaps even because of abuse. There is a great need for us to get down in the trenches with those children who have come from broken homes—homes where either dad is an alcoholic, or mom is a drug addict, or there is constant fighting and arguing. There is a need for us to get down in the trenches with those who are struggling with addiction and substance abuse. There is a need for us to get down in the trenches, to roll up our sleeves, and get in the dirt of lust, immorality, pornography, and the like. There is a need for brothers and sisters to come alongside others who in the trenches of depression, oppression, and perhaps even suicidal thoughts.
What’s more, is that when we come together in the house of the Lord, we would like to think that we can all worship with the same intensity, the same passion, and the same zeal as each other. While I realize that this is not always the case, and that at times might be difficult, I would like to think that it is possible that when we gather together, we can gather together and leave our blood, our sweat, and even our tears on the altar of the Lord. LEAVING OUR BLOOD, SWEAT AND TEARS ON THE ALTAR! LEAVING OUR BLOOD, SWEAT AND TEARS IN THE TRENCHES! As ministers of the gospel of Jesus Christ, there is a special calling on your life, and a special responsibility you have to get down in the trenches with those whom the Lord has entrusted in your care. Earlier today I began thinking about a church my wife and I used to attend, and how after every sermon, the pastor called up the prayer time—a specific group of individuals who were apparently the ones qualified to pray for others—and then called forth those who were in need of prayer according to what had been preached. In the almost two years we attended that church, I never once saw the pastor ever come down from the pulpit and actively pray with any member of the church. At the conclusion of the message, the pastor would call for the prayer time to come up, would turn the closing of the service over to a particular woman in the congregation who was in leadership, and he would walk to the back of the sanctuary. I will give him credit for being there to greet those who left the sanctuary for the day, but last time I checked, greeting never amounted to the same type of impact as prayer did. Oh, he was great at greeting people, and yes he did pray publicly from the pulpit, but never did I see him actually get down in the trenches around the altar and come alongside those whom he himself had called forward.
Oh, if you are a minister of the gospel of Jesus Christ, you have a responsibility—a duty and obligation—to get down in the trenches with those whom have been entrusted into your care, and to pray with them, and/or pray for them. I never once witnessed this pastor lay hands on any member of the congregation, and quite honestly, I would dare say that this pastor would only personally pray for those in leadership at the church—those who had gone through a very detailed and lengthy process of “discipleship,” which was more like legalism and religion. One thing that I absolutely love about Christ Jesus our Lord, is that He actually got down in the trenches with those to whom He had been sent. Jesus Christ our Lord actually got down in the midst of those who had been leprous, and actually touched those whom society proclaimed to be unclean. According to Old Testament law, those who were leprous not only had to cry out in the city and streets “unclean,” but they were also not allowed to have any physical contact with others. Jesus got down in the trenches with the lepers, and actually stretched forth His hand and touched them. Jesus got down in the trenches with those who were demon possessed, and those who were demon oppressed, and actually delivered them from such possession and oppression. Jesus got down in the dirt in the case of the woman caught in the act of adultery, and wrote in the dirt before her accusers. Jesus got down in the dirt and spit in it in order to make clay to anoint the blind may’s eyes. Jesus got down in the trenches of those who were blind and deaf, and those who were paralyzed and lame. Jesus Christ is a perfect example of one who was willing and able to get down in the dirt and trenches with those who desperately needed healing and deliverance, and He spent three and a half years doing it.
What a powerful and supreme example we have in the life, the ministry and person of Jesus Christ. What a powerful example we have of how we as the body of Christ on the earth are called to get down in the trenches with our brothers and sisters. I would dare say that we spend too much time keeping ourselves clean, that we neglect getting down in the dirt with others. I would dare say that we are far too concerned with our image and what people think about us, that we are not willing to cry with those who are crying. Tell me—when was the last time you wept with those who were weeping? When was the last time you mourned with those who mourned? When was the last time you prayed with those who were in perhaps one of, if not the most intense struggles of their lives? We as the people of God have been called to get down in the dirt, to get down in the dust, and to get down in the trenches with others. We have been called to leave our blood, sweat and our tears on the altar of the Lord, and even spend ourselves for the sake of others. Tell me dear brother and sister—are you willing to spend yourself in worship and praise alongside and with your brother and sister? Are you willing to spend yourself in prayer and supplication and intercession with those around you? When speaking of the pastor of this particular church, I am in no way attempting to call him out per se, but merely to illustrate the tremendous need for men and women who are willing to sweat with those who are sweating—in prayer, in intercession, in worship, in warfare, in conflict, in battle, etc. There is a tremendous need for men and women who are willing to leave their tears, and yes, even their blood on the altar, in order that others might have someone who has come alongside them in their moment of need, and even in their darkest hour.
This particular individual who was on the machine next to me provided a powerful example of the tremendous need for us as the people of God to be willing to live our lives selflessly, and to actually come alongside others, in order that we might help them in the midst of their struggles. I am reminded of the battle between the Amalekites and the children of Israel, and how so long as Moses’ hands were raised, the children of Israel would gain victory over the Amalekites. Whenever Moses’ arms began to come down, the battle would shift in favor of the Amalekites. It was Aaron and Hur who recognized this tremendous need, and actually came alongside Moses and not only lifted his hands up, but held his hands up until the battle was won. Oh that we as the people of God would be willing to come alongside others and hold their hands up until the battle has been won and victory has been had. There is actually another place in Scripture when the army of Israel engaged in battle against their adversaries, and two specific brothers each led a particular group of men who engaged the enemy. In this particular account, the brothers made an agreement that if the battle was too strong and powerful for them, they would help the other brother out. If the enemy was overpowering one brother, the other brother would turn back and help that particular brother engage the enemy. While I don’t know the specific names of these brothers, or the reference [I did attempt to look for it], the application, nonetheless, is incredibly powerful. There are those moments in our lives when the battle might be too strong for us, and when the enemy might be too strong for us to handle alone, and there is a great need for another brother or sister to come alongside us and help us defeat the enemy who is before us.
Oh that we as brothers and sisters would live with such a reality manifested in our lives, and that we would be willing to engage the enemy and adversary with our brothers and sisters, and that we would engage the enemy and adversary with the same intensity and ferocity as our brothers and sisters. Oh that we would leave our blood, sweat, and even our tears on the battlefield, and that we would soak the ground with such things—proof and evidence that we as brothers and sisters are willing to come alongside each other and help each other in any conflict, battle or struggle. Who among us are those who are willing to bear the burdens of another, and are willing to help them carry the burdens they have been called upon to carry? Have we forgotten that even when Jesus was asked to carry His cross along the Via Dolorosa, the cross became too heavy for Him, and He needed someone to come alongside Him and help Him carry the cross. Simon was asked to help Jesus carry His cross, and I am convinced that when they finally reached Calvary, Simon had drenched the Via Dolorosa with his sweat. Perhaps he even drenched the Via Dolorosa with tears as well, for He was in fact called upon to help Christ carry His cross. Oh, are we willing to leave our blood, our sweat and our tears on the ground as we come alongside others in order that we might help them carry their cross? We as brothers and sisters are called on by the Lord our God to leave our blood, sweat and tears on the ground, in order that we might help our brothers and sisters carry the cross they have been called to bear.
I recognize that this is a lot to come from what seems like a simple encounter at the gym, yet I believe with all my heart that the Holy Spirit wanted to teach me something very specific. I believe with all my heart that the Spirit of the Lord wanted to speak to me, and to declare to me that I have been called to get down in the trenches with my brothers, and to help them carry their cross, and to help them engage their enemies and adversaries, and to help them in the midst of their conflict and struggle. I believe with all my heart that if you are not willing to be such a brother or sister for another, do not in the least bit, expect, or even demand that another provide the same for you. We as the body of Christ have been called to live and walk just as Jesus Christ did, which means that we must roll up our sleeves and to get down in the dirt with our brothers and sisters. What’s more, is that this isn’t even limited or relegated to those within the house of the Lord, but those in the world as well. How many of us have neglected and even abandoned our responsibility to get down in the trenches with those in the world because we haven’t wanted to soil our garments? Oh that we would cast aside our need, and even our desire to keep our garments clean, and even our reputation, in order that we might leave our blood, sweat and tears on the ground for the sake of others. Have we forgotten that it was said of Jesus that He was a friend of tax collectors and sinners? Jesus Christ could have cared less about His reputation among the religious community, for He had to be about His Father’s business. I am convinced that this might even be what the prophet Isaiah was speaking about when He wrote and prophesied of Jesus being a man of no reputation. IT was the apostle Paul who wrote about Jesus being of no reputation, and of humbling Himself—even humbling Himself to the point of death. Oh that we would cast our reputation aside in order that we might come alongside the lepers, the blind, the deaf, the lame, the paralyzed, the sick, the demon possessed, and those who are in desperate need for healing, deliverance and salvation. OH that we would cast our reputations to the wind in order that we might leave our blood, sweat and tears at the altar of the Lord, and even in the trenches of the earth. Oh dear Lord, would you help me to be such a brother to others? Would you provide me with opportunities to be such a brother for the sake of others in their lives? Would you bring such brothers alongside me who can sweat with me, who can bleed with me, and who can weep, cry and mourn with me? Even so Lord, let this reality be manifested in the midst of your people in the earth in these Last Days.