The Kingdom of God is Righteousness, Peace and Joy in the Holy Spirit—Romans 14:16-18
"Do not allow what you consider good to be spoken of as evil. 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" (Romans 14:16-18)
Paul was incredibly practical and gave great instruction. He knew that all of us were accountable to God and every person was at a different level of understanding. Because of this he gave instruction that lead toward mutual edification and building up of the body instead of tearing down by focusing on these divisions. Much of his instruction in Romans 14 is about eating and drinking and what is acceptable, and the underlying principal is just as true today as it was then. The principle of what Paul is saying is that we are to live for God, what we do and don't do should come out of a heart conviction and not because of rules and regulations given by others. What God has revealed to us as acceptable before him, we should be confident in.
Paul also reminded us that we should be patient and loving with others in their walk without causing them confusion and putting stumbling stones in their way ( Romans 14:15 ). But in the same way we should not allow others to condemn us for the freedom that Christ has revealed to us. Perhaps that is accomplished by not giving them opportunity to criticize us. We can do this by abiding in our freedom without flaunting or making a big deal about it.
The bottom line is that the kingdom of God which we have been called into is not about these physical things and mental debates. We should settle in our hearts and walk in the truth we know, but the kingdom is about righteousness, peace and joy. Righteousness is the state which makes a person acceptable to God. Through Jesus we are righteous before God as we have been given His righteousness through faith ( II Corinthians 5:21 ). Next comes peace and joy, this should continually be the state of our heart. We should walk in supernatural peace and joy because these are the fruit of the Spirit that was given to us at salvation ( Galatians 5:22-23 ). Paul said in the next sentence, "Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit" ( Galatians 5:25 ). These things are the true things that we should consider important and which we should see operating in our lives.
When we understand that the kingdom isn't about the natural but is about the amazing things Jesus did and provided for us we can toss aside all of these minor details, habits and hang-ups that hold us back. Verse 18 says that "anyone who serves Christ in this way is pleasing to God and approved by men" ( Romans 14:18 ). If we live this way in righteousness, peace and joy, then God has accepted and approved our behavior and we will win favor among mankind as well. Today, I pray that you understand this amazing truth and disregard the non-essentials that hinder you and I pray that you fully pursue God's kingdom today!