"For the kingdom of God is not meat and drink; but righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost" ((Romans 14:17).
When jewelers want to show the exquisite beauty of a diamond, they always set it upon black velvet under bright lights. That way, the only thing that can capture and refract the light will be the jewel, making it appear in its fullest luster. I will attempt to do a similar thing right now as it pertains to the Kingdom of God. I want to illustrate it by way of contrast.
In The Mist, a movie based on the novel by Stephen King, a thick unnatural mist rapidly spreads across the small town of Bridgton the morning after a violent thunderstorm. With visibility reduced to near-zero, no one can see that the mist is concealing numerous species of bizarre, otherworldly creatures which viciously attack any human who ventures out into the open. In a weird plot twist the story goes suddenly religious when Mrs. Carmody announces that the only way to appease the darkness and stop the power of evil is by human sacrifice.
OK....so, that's the black velvet upon which I now contrast a most exquisite and resplendent crown jewel -- the Kingdom of God.
The Kingdom is the exact opposite of the Mist, with one exception. Both are pervasive, and carry within themselves something that is otherworldly. In the case of the Mist, it was horror and death brought about by hideous creatures. In the case of the Kingdom, it is righteousness, peace, and joy -- brought about by the Holy Spirit working in our lives.
The Kingdom is the royal, ruling power of God present now in our world; pervading all things with its redeeming influence; healing and transforming lives, homes and communities. And everything goes according to God's plan, as long as man doesn't try and make it become a religious thing. That's when the monsters appear.
Paul writes, "The kingdom of God is not meat and drink," meaning that God never intended for us to sit in judgement against others over matters of eating and drinking, or going to church on Sunday, or a host of other things all designed to divide us from one another.
Jesus brought the royal, ruling power of God into our world to make things right, not religious. Righteousness means set right with God and man. The immediate result of righteousness is always peace, for we are no longer striving to control one another into doing something the way we suppose it should be done. And the result of peace, is always joy -- the happiness of healed relationships.
Turn away from the unholy Mist, and live your life in the pervasive presence of the Holy Spirit -- for He is the one who produces the work of the royal, ruling power of God in our lives.....and through our lives for others.