Peace: Day 28
Life By the Spirit Brings Peace and Joy
By Donna Riemer
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 receives human approval.
Romans 14:17-18 NIV
As a young Christian, I put so much effort into what I was like on the outside. I did not grow up in a house that followed our Lord. Some would define it as “dysfunctional.” The Christians I knew lived very differently, though. When I became a Christian, I thought it was important that “I” change the way I presented myself, controlling my actions, words, and even interests. I was convinced that those changes were the proof of a new life in Jesus. The truth was that I was manufacturing that “change” in my own control, and most times it was inauthentic and hard.
As I grew in my relationship with Jesus, I came to realize the kingdom of God is entered only by the sovereign work of God through His Spirit. To enter the kingdom of God I need to come under the reign of God, letting Him guide and instruct me. As I surrendered more and more of my life, my living looked very different. My life wasn’t being lived by my own power anymore but by the work of the Holy Spirit. The change was real, genuine, and actually resembled the righteousness of Jesus.
As the Holy Spirit keeps drawing me into the purity of righteous living, the residual has been peace: an inner peace that comes from the evidence of trusting the promises of God. This peace calms the storms of my soul like nothing else can. It brings me peace with God and enables me to live at peace with all people: my fellow Christians, my neighbors, and even my enemies.
As righteous living brings peace, peace has brought joy. This is no worked-up, artificial, manufactured joy. It is the fruit of the Holy Spirit! It does not depend on circumstances or happiness. It’s far deeper. It is an inexplicable joy that is foreign to this world. This is the “Joy to the World” that we sing about that was born on Christmas day!
As I ponder these verses, I am humbled. The truth of living a life surrendered to the Holy Spirit is the righteous living produced not by my own effort or strength, but His. Oh, how freeing this is! But the very best part is that my life could somehow “please” the God of the universe … wow!
Father God, I am humbled that, by Your grace and mercy, You have shared Your truth. You continue to reveal Yourself through Your Holy Spirit. You never give up on me. May Your kingdom come and Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven. May my life be an authentic reflection of Kingdom living. Thank You for Your son born on Christmas day, showing Your righteousness and bringing Your peace and Your joy to the world. Amen.
Brag of someone’s skills and their value. Let them know you believe in them.
Hold open the door for people when you enter a building.
Choose a few small gifts to unwrap early. Celebrate together that God gave us such an amazing ad unexpected gift as Jesus!