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

The Kingdom of Heaven is described for us in many ways. Sometimes we are told what the future Kingdom will be like once we’ve died and got to live with Jesus. Other times ‘Kingdom Talk’ is about how God’s Kingdom is among us now. If we allow God to control our thoughts and our actions, then a part of His Kingdom exists among us here on earth.

When Jesus was on earth His ‘Kingdom Talk’ revolved around the idea of servanthood, of the least being the greatest, of widows being clothed and orphans fed. His Kingdom was one of giving, acceptance and physical as well as emotional healing.

Paul continues that theme in Romans. He tells us that the kingdom of God here on earth is marked by righteousness, peace and joy. When we live lives marked by right living, peaceful attitudes and joy built on knowing who we are and being content with that, then God’s Spirit is evident in our lives.

One of the things that will steal our joy is when we allow people to make a list of rules about how we should live and how we should act. We allow them to decide for us what we should like or dislike, how we should worship, what music we should listen to or social activities we should engage in. They have a list of clothes we should wear and how we should wear them.

Paul tells us that kingdom living has nothing like that. Some people like meat, others like vegetables. Some like slow, quiet music, for others the louder the better. For some long hair is where it’s at. For others, the ears must be seen to be proper. Too many times we get too bent out of shape over what a person wears or what he eats. I’m not a fan of tattoos, but some of the nicest people I’ve met have lots of tattoos! That doesn’t make them any less of a creation of God than I am.

God’s grace gives us freedom to eat what we want, listen to music we enjoy, and do the things we enjoy doing. Our only rule is to allow the Spirit of God to guide us in those likes/dislikes and activities. We learn that as we grow in relationship to him.

Don’t let the ‘joy snatchers’ steal the joy you can have by living free in Jesus.

PRAYER: Father God, there are so many people around me telling me I can’t do this or I have to do that to be spiritual and to live for you. Sometimes their messages are confusing and critical. Help me to rely on you for the wisdom and guidance to live ‘kingdom life’ the way you intended me to live it. I claim the freedom I have in Jesus to guide me as I grow along life’s journey. Amen.

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