The Kingdom Within
“For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking, but of righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.” – Romans 14:17, NIV
Oftentimes, when we think of the Kingdom of God or the Kingdom of Heaven, we look for the outer expression of God in the physical world.
Some may think it’s found in the size of their local church and how many people they can attract.
And then, some think that being a part of the Kingdom is based on restrictive diets – what we should or shouldn’t eat and drink.
However, the Apostle Paul tells us that the Kingdom of God is neither of these things. Paul says the Kingdom consists of righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit, definitely not what we eat or drink.
Or is it?
The Kingdom of God is not the natural food and drink we take in but the spiritual food and drink we consume by reading God’s word. When we eat the bread of life and drink the living water, an inward transformation takes place in each of us. This inward transformation then manifests itself outwardly, exemplifying the character and nature of the Father. So, one could say that the Kingdom of God starts with an inward change that mirrors an outward manifestation.
Righteousness means doing right in all areas of our lives, meaning our nature, attitudes, actions, and what we say—in other words, observing and keeping the commands of God so that we are found acceptable in His eyes.
Peace, the second temperament of the Kingdom, means living in harmony with one another. It means living a life free of things like strife, bitterness, jealousy, or anger and living in accord with others.
The third characteristic of the Kingdom is joy in the Holy Spirit. This type of joy is not dependent upon our feelings or the world, but it’s a joy worked out in us by the Holy Spirit. World-renowned Gospel singer Pastor Shirley Ceasar sings this song, This Joy I Have.
The first stanza of the song goes like this:
This joy I have the world didn’t give to me, ooh ooh.
This joy I have, hey hey hey, the world didn’t give to me.
Oh, this joy I have the world didn’t give to me.
The world didn’t give it,
The world can’t take it away.
Thus, joy is a gift from God. That’s why Pastor Ceasar was able to say that “the world didn’t give it, and the world can’t take it away.”
The gift of God that we celebrate this season embodies joy, peace, and righteousness. Jesus is the example God has set before us to model our lives. Therefore, when we function and flow in the same manner as Christ, we are the Kingdom at its best.
Join me next week for Coffee on The Couch.