Maybe you’ve heard the saying, “Life is not a sprint…it’s a marathon.” That caution and encouragement makes a lot of sense, since most of us tend to waffle between a frantic pace and the inevitable collapse. But, to be completely honest, most of us could probably complete the distance of a marathon in a few days, even if we had to do so limping at a snail’s pace.
The Christian’s journey with Jesus is more of a life-time hike, isn’t it? He takes us up mountains where we can see the big picture of His plan, breathe the fresh air of His grace and intimate relationship, and renew our commitment to Christ for what’s ahead. After all, we know there will be valleys and trenches when He takes us back down.
My incredible wife, Lauren, and I have had quite a journey with Christ so far. We taped this video 4 years ago. And we continue to walk with the Lord Jesus…and stumble, and flop down to pitch temper tantrums, and rest in Him, and run, and stumble again. But He has never left us or forsaken us. Lauren and I agree, He is our glorious God and Savior.
The goal of this blog is to equip and encourage you with tools for this life’s trenches.
I need to be clear, though. No amount of tips, insights, motivations, or determination can rescue us from all hardships of this life. In Luke 9:23, the Lord said “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.” A life-time hike of putting to death our self-centered goals and desires will be hard. Living in humility and serving others will seem foolish to the world. In times of great stress, even we may question our faith in the Lord, just like John the Baptist (Matthew 11:2-3), Peter (John 18:15-18), and many others who had seen Him face-to-face. Jesus was clear. “In the world you will have tribulation….” But just as clearly He finished by saying “But take heart; I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33)
Building our heart, mind, soul, and strength in Christ will not save us. Only Jesus saves those who follow Him by faith, and He perfectly secures their salvation. So why should we put any effort into our walk with Christ? Using the same imagery of journeying, before the Lord washed His disciples’ feet “Jesus said to (Peter), ‘The one who has bathed does not need to wash, except for his feet, but is completely clean. And you are clean…'” (John 13:10) But much of this world is a dirty place, isn’t it?
So, by God’s grace, I will be providing you with some tools to help you prepare for, wade through, and recover from those trenches by resting in Christ. And by “rest” I’m not talking about doing nothing. It’s very possible to run toward some goal so hard that we’re covered in sweat but also loving every minute of it. That’s real rest. The Lord created us to be doers, influencers, and even rulers in this world, but rulers in Christ (not exhausted quitters or control freaks) for our rest and others’ rest in Him.
As I’ve stated in the tagline at the top of the website, the goal of this blog is your greater joy in Jesus Christ – specifically through leadership and counseling. You can click on those links for introductory articles on 4 basic areas in each.
The Lord has called all of His people to be godly leaders: most simply to encourage and equip others to follow us in a godly direction. That direction is for a closer relationship with Christ and all the blessings of His kingdom, even the privilege of blood, sweat, and tears for Him. As the Apostle Paul said, “Follow me as I follow Christ.” (1 Corinthians 11:1) And “counseling” is simply helping the stuck or wayward to get back on track. So every parent, older sibling, role model, volunteer, and certainly every Christian is to lead and counsel others to follow Jesus by faith.
How are we to do this? By walking with Him. The greatest joy comes in facing more than we can handle and experiencing His incredible work through us and in us as we serve Him and others. The proof is in the path – even if we don’t fully understand our place in the journey at the time.
God willing, over time I will provide a variety of tools for your trenches. You might find some encouragement to your faith and service to Christ in some of my completed video series, such as Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount and the book of Philippians, written series, such as Counseling as a Person of Understanding (from Proverbs) and a 40-day devotional series, or study materials like W.A.I.T. Training: relational fitness, body & soul and Life in Desert Places: a topical Bible study. To find many other posts within each of the seven series, go to menu above and click on the link at the bottom of each page.
Unless otherwise indicated, Jeff Dillard is the author of all posts in this blog, the goal of which is your greater joy in Christ through leadership and counseling. Jeff and his wife, Lauren, have been married since 1995. By God’s grace, they have four wonderful children and two grandchildren. Jeff was ordained by the Presbyterian Church in America and commissioned as an Army Chaplain in 1998. He has Master’s degrees in Divinity, History, and Counseling. Since 1998, he’s had the privilege of equipping and encouraging others’ faith and service to the Lord Jesus by leading congregations and counseling in multicultural settings across the United States. Seven of those years have been in Germany, Korea, and Iraq. For leisure, Jeff enjoys simple time with his family, exercise, playing guitar and trumpet, and trying foreign foods with friends.
Please note that the contents of tools4trenches does not necessarily reflect specific beliefs or practices of organizations in which Jeff Dillard works or worships.