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.
We have sung the chorus based on this and verse 19 in this church for many years, and it got to be a bit of a joke because we liked having meals together so much! The point, however, is that our focus is not to be on physical things but on spiritual. This is very much in line with Jesus’ famous statement: “But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.” (Matthew 6:33) We are certainly in the world, but we are not of it, again as Jesus said. (John 17:14, 16) The thing is, few people around us have that perspective, so what we do with physical things has a big impact on them. This whole chapter is about looking out for less mature believers, so that our use of the physical won’t get in the way of their appropriation of the spiritual. Our lives should exemplify righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit, thereby drawing those around us to desire and seek those things for themselves. When we make a big deal of the physical it can interfere with our own appreciation of the spiritual as well as keep others from realizing that the spiritual even matters. That’s what the devil wants, and we certainly don’t want to boost him!
Of course this applies to me as much as it does to anyone else. I am to be a good steward of the physical things God has provided, starting with my body, but my focus is to be on God and His kingdom, which as Paul says here, means righteousness, peace, and joy. I certainly desire and enjoy those things! At the same time, my body can be pretty demanding. I have certainly been known to get “hangry” at times! Particularly when fasting, either by choice or by circumstances, I need to be careful to reflect the values of the Kingdom that Paul mentions here.
Father, thank You for this reminder. The world can consider me a rather strange bird when I operate by these principles! Help me indeed walk in step with Your Spirit, in Your kingdom even while in this world, for Your glory. Thank You. Praise God!