Week 11 Day 5 Devotions
Seek Ye First the Kingdom of God
“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
In the Sermon on the Mount Jesus devotes substantially more words (looking at the English translations) to the subject of worrying than he does to the subject of prayer. Could this be because we worry more than we pray? And could the inverse be true, namely, that if we prayed more we would worry less? One doesn't want to trivialise the subject of worry or oversimplify the possible cures which might help those who are sometimes made sick by worry, but at the same time let us never forget that Jesus and Scripture tells us that we should not worry.
It is interesting that Jesus talks about worry in the Sermon on the Mount in the context of serving God or serving Mammon and the things that we think Mammon provides, life, food, drink and clothes. Jesus doesn't say that we don't need these things. In fact He says emphatically that our heavenly Father knows that we need them. There is a sense in which He seeks to teach us what our priorities should be: “Seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.”
In our text for today the Apostle Paul reminds us that the kingdom of God is not about food and drink, but rather is about righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. Wesley says: “For the kingdom of God, that is, true religion, does not consist in external observances, but in righteousness, which is the image of God stamped on the heart; the love of God and man, accompanied with the peace that passeth all understanding, and joy in the Holy Ghost.”
How will it affect your day to day, to be concerned first and foremost with loving God and loving people? In other words, if you're going to be anxious about anything let it be about using every possible opportunity to love as Christ loved.
In preparing this devotion I have taken time to pray to our heavenly Father for all those who will decide to make this righteousness a priority today. I have prayed that you will have a peace that passes all understanding through this day and that the Holy Spirit will bless you with the deep joy about which our text verse speaks.
Speak, gracious Lord, my sickness cure,
Make my infected nature pure;
Peace, righteousness, and joy impart,
And pour thyself into my heart. (127)