Advancing the Kingdom of God

Verlyn Verbrugge

READ : Romans 14:13-23

For the kingdom of God is not food and drink but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. (v. 17)

I lived in Nigeria for a year and sometimes attended native services. I couldn’t help but notice two types of singing. Some songs were songs translated by the original mission church (actually, translated Dutch psalms); the others were indigenous songs sung in the Tiv language, using native instruments. The former were sung laboriously; with the latter, the walls rocked!

Yet some of the older Nigerian believers struggled to accept the indigenous songs. For them, that song style was too closely associated with the pagan worship they had long ago rejected. But second- and third-generation Christians were trying to praise God and reach out to fellow tribe members with the power of their own traditional rhythms and instruments.

Christian freedom presents a problem in almost every church. It can surface in conflicting views about appropriate living, proper food, various rituals, worship styles, and so on. Perhaps your community has conflicts about certain behavioral choices.

As Paul reflects on issues of Christian freedom, his overall governing principle is clear: Are you sincerely trying to advance the kingdom of God by living in righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit?


Dear God, help me to advance your kingdom through a life of righteousness, peace, and joy. Amen.