For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking, but of righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit, because anyone who serves Christ in this way is pleasing to God and approved by men.
Serving Jesus today in righteousness, peace and with a joyful heart is pleasing to Him. If being pleasing to God is important to those who follow, then these are important verses of Scripture! The way we serve Him… the demeanor, the spirit or the heart we have matters. Paul also says that men will approve too. Nobody complains about such a heart! Righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit is attractive to people.
There are ‘heart assassins’ in my life that want to remove these qualities from my service to Christ. These situations, dynamics and choices I make can virtually steal the peace and joy I should have. When peace and joy are absent, unrighteousness of heart, soul and mind usually show up in their place! If serving God in His Kingdom is a matter of righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit – and these things are pleasing to God – then actively defending against these ‘heart assassins’ is more than just optional for me. I want God to be pleased with me! I want to hear those words “Well done, good and faithful servant!” And somehow I don’t think the amount of tasks accomplished is a part of that faithfulness.
So the ‘heart assassin’ of overwork, for instance, needs to be neutralized. Why do I bite off more than I can chew? Why does doing the workload of 3 people seem doable and right to me so often? Is it because I’ve done it before? Sure, I’ve mostly done it, but peace and joy easily go out the window. I become driven. Then what does the church have? A pastor who is a ‘goal accomplishment animal’ but has little peace and a scarcity of joy. Is that what God would have me model? But I’m getting a lot done! Yeah, yeah.
I am also struck by how much I am drawn to this ‘heart assassin.’ I invite him in… I enjoy his presence… (I do?). Pleasing God must be more important to me than goal accomplishment. It’s the chief goal! If I serve Christ with righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit – Jesus will be pleased and people will approve. People will be fine… they’ll be OK… they’ll be applauding even. The last person I will have to convince that this is right is that guy I shave with in the mirror.
Lord Jesus – search my heart today. Know my heart and motivations and lead me in the way You would have me go. I want to please You above all else, so be the Lord of my calendar today. Reign over my task list. Be the King of my heart and infuse me with righteousness, peace and joy in Your Spirit – for Your Name and glory. May my life be appealing to others, that they may be drawn into Your sweet Presence. Use me this day, I pray.