For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking, but of righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit, because anyone who serves Christ in this way is pleasing to God and receives human approval. Romans 14:17-18 (NIV)
Looking at the verse above from Romans 14 it reminds us that the kingdom of God (true faith) is not about material things (eating and drinking), but about spiritual things (righteousness, peace and joy).
Why have some churches got this wrong? If we take the words ‘… eating and drinking …’ we can interpret this a number of ways. Firstly, it could refer to a church that is purely focussed on the social aspects of meeting the needs of its congregation or wider community. Secondly, it could be taken to mean any aspect of church life which has to do with the physical surroundings in which the congregation meets. In the first instance we find a church that is unbalanced, its focus is on the physical, but does not meet the spiritual needs of people. In the second instance, it could be a church where the congregation argues over things that may seem to be important, but don’t really matter.
Paul commends the church to concentrate upon the spiritual characteristics of righteousness, peace and joy.
Two reasons are given – firstly that this is pleasing to God and as individuals and churches we should want to do this. Secondly, we are told that it ‘… receives human approval’. Human approval obviously isn’t our goal, but if we think of it in the following way: if the spiritual life of the church is right, it will be noticed throughout the congregation and the wider community in which it meets. In other words, it will have an influence beyond the walls of the church, because people will sit up and take note of what is going on in that church.
So my encouragement to you is to live the kingdom life of righteousness, peace and joy.
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