For the kingdom of God is not eating and drinking, but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. For he who serves Christ in these things is acceptable to God and approved by men. Romans 14:17-18 (NKJV)
In this passage, the Apostle Paul is discussing how to act with other believers who may not have the same convictions as we do when it comes to the food that is permissible to eat. In those days, many of the believers were Jews, who had previously lived under the law regarding food that was considered either clean or unclean to eat. Paul is telling them that even if they have the liberty to eat anything and not feel condemned, they still need to consider their fellow believers who may not walk in that same freedom due to their previous religious training. He then explains that in the Kingdom, the important thing is not what we eat or drink, but righteousness, peace and joy, which come from the Holy Ghost.
We might look at it this way; physical things, such as food, drink, clothing, shelter, etc. are not the focus in God’s Kingdom. Instead, His Kingdom is characterized by righteousness, peace, and joy. Let’s look at these three things individually.
Righteousness: in the Greek, this comes from the Word dikaios, which refers to someone being made just, meet, or right. In other words, righteousness speaks of our being made right with God through the blood of Jesus.
Peace: the Greek word for peace is eirene. This word actually means more than just quietness. It encompasses all that is needed for our wholeness. One of its implied meanings is one, or oneness- the quality of being made one again. It speaks of the prosperity of the entire person. It is quite a word.
Joy: this is the Greek word chara, which means cheerfulness or calm delight. It is more than just happiness; it is a deep, abiding gladness of heart.
If we put all of this together in the context of our scripture, we could interpret our passage like this:
For the kingdom of God is not in physical things, but in being made right with God, which results in the prosperity of the whole person and produces a deep gladness of heart flowing from the Holy Spirit. For he who serves Christ from this place of spiritual wellbeing is acceptable to God and approved by men.
So, this shows us that the Kingdom of God is not limited to a place, but it is a state of being. That is why Jesus said in Luke 17:21 that the Kingdom of God is within us. Today, let’s remember that wherever we go, the Kingdom of God goes with us, and that God has placed all we need for our spiritual wellbeing inside of us. And, bear in mind that this should flow out of us and affect those around us. That is what it means to be Kingdom-minded.