Romans 14:17 – For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking, but of righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. (NIV)
I am constantly amazed each week by the number of magazines at supermarket checkouts that announce to the world a brand new diet that will help us all lose twenty pounds a month. Every week, they publicize a brand new diet, and I have calculated that if we were to follow each new diet every week, we could lose about 250 pounds in any given year. For most of us, that would use up our entire body. We could all disappear in a year!
I guess diets sell popular magazines, and people feel that if they just read about a diet, then at least they're making an effort in the right direction. The photographs of the diet dishes always look tantalizing, and I am sure that many people start off with a new grocery list of items, but then fall off the diet wagon within a couple of weeks. However, hope is to be found at the next checkout, for lo and behold, there's a better, easier diet printed on the cover of the latest glossy magazine!
Sometimes, we approach the Bible in the same manner. We kick off each new year with the vow that we'll pray more regularly and read the Bible each day. We make an effort to accomplish this, but somehow, we get distracted or over-burdened. Before we know it, our resolutions are broken, and we are spiritually stuck. Our intentions are correct, but our accomplishments are limited.
I like it when Paul reminds us that the kingdom of God does not depend upon feasting or fasting, diets or doctrine. The kingdom of God is best manifested when we do the right thing, seek peace in our relationships, and joyfully worship God. When those qualities are evident in our lives, then God's presence through Jesus Christ is shown to the world. As Christians, we should try our utmost to bring these gifts to the community that we live in. In doing so, people around us will see and be attracted to the kingdom of God through Christ's endearing love.
Prayer: Lord Jesus, help us to be righteous without becoming self-righteous. Enable to seek peace without going to pieces over issues. Empower us to show our Christian joy to a joyless world. In all these things, help us to be sincere and effective servants of the kingdom of God. In Your holy name, we pray. Amen.