For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking but of righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit

(Romans 14:17)

      During the Season of Easter, I have been using the theme of joy in my articles.  As I’ve been thinking about Joy during this time, I’ve realized that most Christians simply forego the life of joy that God gives to us.  Simply we get caught up in other things.

     In the verse above, the Apostle makes the choice stark for us.  Is my spiritual life, or even my life, a matter of what other people are doing?  The eating and drinking here is following the dietary laws, and expecting others to follow them too.  Today’s world has deteriorated beyond simply judging others, it is now taking personal offense even at innocent things.  The comparison in this portion of Romans would be like bringing BBQ pork sandwich to the church potluck.  And then you becoming upset because that person should have known “that I don’t eat pork!” 

     Obviously, we want to be kind and considerate of others, but there are innocent things that happen, and we need to realize that your spiritual worth was not attacked.  Our default mode is assuming the person is doing this against me personally.  I have had people tell me that they left a church because the Pastor did not shake their hand on a particular Sunday.

     Being quick to take up personal offense is a sure-fire way loose that joy of the Holy Spirit.  A spiritual life of joy comes from me worrying about myself, doing the right thing, and seeking the way of peace.  It goes away when we are worrying what other people are doing.

     On this Pentecost Sunday, and the season that follows, let us be concerned with making it about joy in the Holy Spirit. 

Pastor Greg