“For the kingdom of God is not meat and drink; but righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost” (Romans 14:17).
“Let every one of us please his neighbour for his good to edification” (Romans 15:2).
Serving God with a heart for His righteousness, peace, and joy is the kind of service acceptable in His sight and will edify [build up or strengthen] others.
Even the simplest of life’s necessities―the foods we eat―can become occasions for dispute and disappointment among brethren. Therefore, Paul urges us to pursue the things which make for peace and the things by which one may edify or lift up another. Look at the apostle’s writing. Do not destroy the work of God for the sake of food. All things indeed are pure, but it is evil for the man who eats with offense. It is good to neither eat nor drink or do anything, in fact, by which your brother stumbles, is offended, or is made weak.
Every kingdom is renowned for its distinctive features. Rome was conspicuous for its warlike posture. Historically, Greece was noted for its love of the fine arts. France is eminent for its taste. America is famous for her enterprise. But the distinguishing mark of the kingdom of God is “righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost.”
Being filled in the Christian life can be said to be filled with care and concern for others. Let each of us please his neighbor for his good, leading to edification. If you consider yourself spiritually vital compared to your brother, use your strength to serve your brother in Christ―instead of using your strength to please yourself.
The idea isn’t bearing with, but bearing up one another―supporting another when your strength is superior―or said differently; when he is weak. Preference for another goes against the whole tenor of our times, which counsels people to “look out for number 1.” Undeniably, Paul points the way to true happiness and fulfillment in life. He is telling us to get our eyes off ourselves and start building up others, and we will find ourselves built up. “Do you have faith? Have it to yourself before God. Happy is he who does not condemn himself in what he approves.” Remember, within the full context of Paul’s writing here is the subject of the eating of different meats to the offense of a brother.
A young lad was asked, “What is the kingdom of God?” He paused, and with an expression of seriousness and devotion, placing his hand on his chest, he said, “It is something here!” Then, raising his eyes, he added, “and something up yonder.”
Francis Mason Pastor Mason