As we further explore the idea of there being tensions between two truths in the Christian life, this message seeks to explore the tension between joy and sorrow. Are believers always meant to be joyful? And if so, wasn’t Jesus referred to as a ‘man of sorrows’? There is a definite tension here – one that will only be resolved when what is ‘not yet’ becomes ‘now’.
The life of the Apostle Paul was full of trial. At the time of his conversion, the Lord said of him, ‘I will show him how much he must suffer for the sake of my name’ (Acts 9:16). Reading through the book of Acts and any of his letters will bring those trials to mind – beatings, shipwreck, imprisonment, hatred, scorn and threats against his life – all of these were part of Paul’s experience. But there was another aspect of Paul’s life that he wrote about in 2 Corinthians 12:1-10… his ‘thorn’. The passage is helpful, for Paul was not the only one to have a ‘thorn’, and if you have one, then you will want to know how Paul dealt with it!
Russ Grinter asked us to consider what is noteworthy about the new year. More than wishing “happy new year” and resolving to seek happiness ourselves, in 2 Corinthians 5:11-21 we read that Jesus makes us really new. From now on, our identity should be in Christ – not what we do or how the world sees us. We should not depend on our effort but on what Jesus has done as our substitute. By faith, God looks at us and sees Jesus’ righteousness. Jesus makes us really new.