For the kingdom of God is not eating and drinking, but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. For he who in this way serves Christ is acceptable to God and approved by men. So then we pursue the things which make for peace and the building up of one another. Romans 14:17-19

Today’s thoughts from today’s verses:

There are many things in life that become important to us; things we give our time and energy to; things that command our devotion and become our primary focus. Far too often these things run counter to what God considers important or at least they are counter-productive to God’s will being realized in our lives. Jesus instructed us to pray in this way to our Heavenly Father: “Your kingdom come, Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.” A radical reordering is needed for our lives and for life over all the earth. We call this radical reordering the “kingdom of God.” Today’s passage says that “the kingdom of God is …. righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.”

When we follow the way of the world, our lives will include much that is not righteous; we will be caught up in the rat race of success that knows little of true and lasting peace; and true happiness and joy will elude us at every turn because we look for them in things that are unable to provide them. Notice our passage connects righteousness, peace, and joy to the Holy Spirit. Neither the world nor any of us in it can be reordered apart from Divine intervention. When we receive the forgiveness of sins in Jesus Christ, we are indwelled with the Holy Spirit and thus begins God’s radical work of reordering our lives from the inside out. 

As we become ones who come to know true righteousness, peace, and joy through the work of the Holy Spirit, we become ones who serve Christ and the kingdom of God. Our passage says, “he who in this way serves Christ is acceptable to God and approved by men.” Our life in the world, including marriage, family, career, community, etc. provide the settings in which we give ourselves to the reordering work of the Holy Spirit so that those around us experience the impact of the true righteousness, peace, and joy that is increasingly taking hold of us. And so, we experience the kingdom of God and live for its advancement as it touches the lives of others through us. This is what it means to live fully and it is this that truly delights the heart of God. 

Today’s prayer response from today’s thoughts:

Lord, help me to be devoted to your kingdom. Fill my life with righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit. Thank you for how you are reordering my life in the world. I am truly being freed from the world’s grip and the areas of my life are becoming aligned with your kingdom. May the changes in my life draw others to Christ. May others clearly see that I no longer live for myself but for the advancement of your kingdom. I choose to pursue the things which make for peace and the building up of others. Amen!