The kingdom of God is not food and drink but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. – Romans 14:17
In sermons lately, I’ve been illustrating the Kingdom of God and the kingdom of earth. The Kingdom of God is bright. The kingdom of earth is dark and dull, and – as we’ve been saying – The Tree of Blessing does not Grow in the Cursed Earth.
Standing at the intersection between the Kingdom of Heaven and the kingdom of earth is Jesus. That’s why he came to earth. That’s why, at the beginning of his ministry, he proclaimed that the “Kingdom of Heaven has come near” (Mt 4:17).
So what is the kingdom of earth? Our earthly realm, while made good by God, is also corrupted by sin. It is physical. It is temporal. There is certainly good, but there is also darkness and despair. There is justice and injustice, blessing and curse. To survive in the kingdom of earth, fragile creatures must rely on “food and drink.” It’s necessary fuel. But it’s more than that. “Eat, drink, and be merry” is an earthy way of life. And we don’t have to be gluttons or drunkards to focus our lives on priorities and particulars of the earth.
But, “the Kingdom of God” is different. Today’s verse tells us that it’s “not food and drink,” money or property, power or greed. Rather it is “righteousness and peace and joy.” The Kingdom of God is perpetual “joy.” With God there is unending “peace.” God’s way includes eternal “righteousness.” And we catch glimpses of all three – as so much more – on this earth. After all, God made this world good. But because of sin, we experience it only intermittently. Therefore, if we want more “righteousness and peace and joy,” we need to rush to the one who came from heaven and stands at the intersection. That is Jesus – the second person of the Trinity. And the third person of the Trinity continually fans those flames of blessings as “righteousness and peace and joy [is] in the Holy Spirit.”
How much of the world do you have in your life? And how much Jesus? He and Holy Spirit are the secret to greater “peace and joy.”
In Christ’s Love,
a guy who has
a Spirit of Joy!