17 For the Kingdom of God is not a matter of what we eat or drink, but of living a life of goodness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. 18 If you serve Christ with this attitude, you will please God, and others will approve of you, too. 19 So then, let us aim for harmony in the church and try to build each other up.
I don’t know about you, but it often seems to me that we have almost as much strife ad disharmony in the church as we see in the world, especially at churches where there’s too much idle time for members who should really be involved in ministry of some sort. Paul told his church members at Rome to learn to concentrate on the more important things that really matter in the kingdom of God. Some of which are character principles that really affect how we behave, and according to the Word, is still applicable today. These can be accomplished in the strength, and through the power of the Holy Spirit These are:
- Goodness - I believe this is a life where we are blinded to the ill against us. Live to be good to others in spite of their rudeness and hatred. Remember, Jesus asked His Father to bless those who hung Him on the cross, how much more should we ask for grace and peace on those that merely look at us funny or say evil things about us out of ignorance or hatred.
- Peace - I believe the easiest way of thinking about this is to think of those things that are not troublesome or lead to fighting or unrest. If you strive for a peaceful life, you will avoid those things that lead to strife or unrest. Remember, this requires the power of the Holy Spirit!
- Joy - Think about times that would normally really aggravate someone who cannot boast of the power of the Holy Spirit. Now think about a Christian who is truly filled with the power of the Holy Spirit. The 'Joy' that you will see in that child of God, in spite of the circumstances, is the 'Joy' that Paul is referring to. It is only possible when God's hand is upon your life and helping you to overcome the circumstances you are facing. It can never come from strong drink nor any type of food that you might eat.
Friends, Paul, through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit reminded Christians that God will be pleased with you and approve of you, as this type of living will lead to harmony among His people - the church. Therefore when we see disharmony brewing, let us challenge each other on which of these characteristics must be out of whack. Let's examine ourselves before God and ensure that we have these characteristics in order in our own lives, so that we may do our part towards harmony in the church!
Lord Jesus, You have given us the formula for peace and harmony among Your church - our Christian community. Please empower us to wipe away the scales from our own eyes so that we may see clearly what might be preventing us from doing our part towards a harmonious church, one that the world might look at as truly being the example of Christ. One that they might want to join and actually enjoy praising God with, and working alongside for the furthering of the gospel in our communities. Lord, may Your kingdom come and find us representing You well. May Your church be especially living under the inspiration and powerful hand of Your Holy Spirit. For I ask this in Your precious name, Lord Jesus, my deliverer and peacekeeper, AMEN!
NOTE: If you have been challenged to make a decision today after reading this devotional, please speak with a local Bible Teaching pastor, or contact me at NuggetsFromGodsWord@outlook.com so that we can pray with you and give you help and or encouragement as you begin, or continue your walk with Jesus. Any words underlined above will indicate a link to a song that came to mind as I wrote the devotional. Feel free to click on the link and listen as you continue to read or pray.