So… “What is our Christianity about anyway?” I was reading through a book by Dan Lucarrani and John Blanchard recently and stumbled across this passage. Finding it a very interesting passage, I later went back to look deeper into it. The passage was Romans 14 in which Paul was addressing our Christian liberty in Jesus.
“I know, and am persuaded by the Lord Jesus, that there is nothing unclean of itself: but to him that esteemeth any thing to be unclean, to him it is unclean. But if thy brother be grieved with thy meat, now walkest thou not charitably. Destroy not him with thy meat, for whom Christ died. Let not then your good be evil spoken of:For the kingdom of God is not meat and drink; but righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost. For he that in these things serveth Christ is acceptable to God, and approved of men.” -Romans 14:14-18
Paul is saying to quit getting hung up on what things you can and cannot eat and drink as a believer because there is nothing of that evil of itself. Having charity is key here, since our good should not be evil spoken of. Don’t give opportunity for people to accuse you because you are lacking charity and discretion with something that you eat/drink that may offend someone. Why? Because Christianity is not about that. It’s rather about following after righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost.
Notice that first Paul mentions righteousness. This is because we as believers are to be seeking God’s righteousness first in every area of life (Matthew 6:33) since Christ-likeness is the end goal for each one of us (Romans 8:28). When we are following God’s way rather than our own selfish choices, a peace will come to us. God promises this in Isaiah 26:3 that those whose mind is stayed on God will have a perfect peace. This peace belongs to those that love the Lord’s ways (Psalm 119: 163). A natural by-product of this is that we will strive to live peaceably with all men (Romans 12:18). When this is followed in the order given of righteousness, then peace, only then will we have true joy in the Holy Ghost.
This is important to catch that joy in the Holy Ghost comes when God’s way is followed, not the way we please. Think about that! How true it is! There is a joy that fills a person’s heart when they are doing God’s will- it’s a joy that only God can offer. All the world can offer is momentary happiness. But we have someone a billion times better- a Savior Jesus Christ, who fills all our needs!
The promise is then that God will accept this form of “worship” (which is anything you do in your life), and the world (though they may hate us for it) will approve of it, seeing a difference in us that they expect because we claim the name of Christ.
So when you think about your relationship with Jesus Christ, remember that it’s not about the good things you can and cannot eat/drink since charity is to be the focal point there, but rather it is about following righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost because of our love we have for God and desire to reflect Christ in all we do. (: