September 13

…the kingdom of God is not eating and drinking, but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. Romans 14:17

The blessings of the Kingdom of God are all interlocking, so that we cannot always distinguish the most important. The order here is important, in that righteousness is the foundation of peace, which then leads to joy. It is also true that, as we keep a peaceful heart, we are able to worship. It is in peace that faith flourishes and we are able to hear the voice of the Spirit in our heart. Joy rises in the midst of peace, and gives us a perspective that overcomes our enemies. The challenge for us is to abide in peace and joy, and so overcome sin and rise above the enemies of our souls. Peace is not the absence of problems; it is the settled focus of a trusting heart on the faithfulness of God. Joy is not happy circumstances; it is the anticipation of God’s marvellous future provision based on what He has already done. From prison, Paul kept exhorting believers to have joy – not because he enjoyed prison, but because he anticipated the blessings of heaven. It would have been ‘pie in the sky when you die’ if Paul had not experienced the foretaste of heaven by a powerful baptism with the Spirit. We have the downpayment of heaven in the gift of the Holy Spirit, and this is what makes us assured of the bliss to come. Keep the settled focus. Remember the blessings received so far. Remember that those are the foretaste of the powers of the age to come. Then let righteousness, peace and joy be the kingdom you live in.