As we begin to understand that we are citizens of a higher and greater kingdom—the kingdom of God—it supplies us with an ability to have unity even under great suffering. Suffering with unity is the sign of citizenship in God’s kingdom.
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We’ve talked about the four chapters of God’s story, but we would never be able to make it through to the end of the story if God hadn’t come to meet us in the middle.
The apostle Paul, one of the most prolific writers of the New Testament and the man through whom a great deal of Christian doctrine and philosophy was formed, said that he longed to suffer so as to take part in Christ’s resurrection. Was he just a glutton for punishment, or was he trying to say that Christians need to suffer to appreciate their faith? Or was he saying something far deeper and far more beautiful about the effect Easter Sunday has on the way we see the world?
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Jesus promised that his yoke is easy and that his burden is light, but that doesn’t mean that living in a fallen world won’t present us with plenty of its own trials and difficulties. However, the gospel gives us the motivation—and the ability—to help one another through difficulties, even when we are going through them ourselves. Brian Habig, pastor of Downtown Presbyterian Church in Greenville, SC, follows up on his three-part talk at our 2011 Fall Retreat.