Peace and Joy are Not Options
For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking, but of righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.
What strikes me in this Scripture is that as believers, a part of God’s kingdom, we cannot opt out of kingdom fruit which is peace and joy. So how come many of us do not feel joyful or peaceful? If it’s part of the package deal, where is the disconnect? First of all, feelings are not always reliable. Secondly, life in the kingdom is not based on feelings, it is based on the Living Christ who has chosen to deposit His Holy Spirit in us. Circumstances do not and cannot define our happiness, peace and joy. It is the internal work of the Holy Spirit that pours out supernatural peace and joy when life is anything BUT peaceful and joyful.
The kingdom is not the things we are concerned with such as eating and drinking, but the kingdom consists of the internal working of peace righteousness and joy through the Spirit in us as believers.
Recently I lost my joy. My peace was perking along but where did my joy go? I spent way too much time trying to figure out what was going on and then Paul’s words in Romans 14 jumped out at me. My problem was not that my joy was hiding under my sofa playing hide and seek. My problem was that I had taken the wrong train, gotten on a detour and found myself staring at my own resources. Never a good thing. The only way to find my joy was to seek first HIS kingdom.
Seek first the kingdom and His righteousness and all these things will be added. (Matthew 6:33)
If the kingdom of God consists of righteousness, peace and joy then looking for those things isn’t the answer. The answer is seeking Jesus.
When Jesus was speaking to the Pharisees, a group of religious leaders who opposed him, Jesus tells them essentially that the kingdom of God was among them. He was and is the Kingdom! So it is in Jesus that we find our peace and joy. So those of you who like me were searching for lost joy or peace, stop searching for those things and seek Jesus.
Jesus Himself said that if you seek first His kingdom and righteousness all of these things will be added. It’s not so complicated as a game of hide and seek. It is simply spending time with Him, reading His Word, and allowing His Word to transform your life. Perhaps the circumstances that have robbed you of your joy are not going away anytime soon but the Prince of Peace will pour into your thirsty souls bringing His Peace.
Friends, life is pretty chaotic these days. The world seems to be upside down and there is a break down of the values we once held dear. Last week there was a terrorist attack in Barcelona. Fear is real. As a body of believers the world needs us to bring peace and joy into the lives of others. These things are not hidden from us. They are hidden in the kingdom for us. The Kingdom is within.