Romans 14:17-18 (NIV)
17 For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking, but of righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit, 18 because anyone who serves Christ in this way is pleasing to God and approved by men.
Matthew 6:33 (NIV)Should this be the response given to the man at the Cambodian village, I can imagine him scratching his head with a puzzling look on his face and then asking;
But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.
Well, Romans 14:17 tells us that it is righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. Since the Kingdom of God dwells within you (Luke 17:21), the Holy Spirit also dwells within you (1 Corinthians 3:16), then the Kingdom of God is His righteousness (2 Corinthians 5:21), peace and joy in you."What then is the Kingdom of God?"
Here are some of the synonyms for the word "righteous"; moral, good, upright, blameless, honourable. The world sees these as qualities that you work at to become. However, the Bible calls these working for righteousness as your own righteousness.
2 Corinthians 5:21 (NIV)Notice however that "righteousness" from God's perspective, in 2 Corinthians 5:21 is not something that you do, but is what you have become in Christ ...His righteousness (Matthew 6:33), as the result of what He did at the cross. It is about your position, your placing, your being with God. It is God's gift by His grace ...so much so that you can come boldly to the throne of our gracious God. There you will receive his mercy, and you will find grace to help you when you need it (Hebrew 4:16 NLT).
God made him (Jesus) who had no sin to be sin (a sin offering) for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.
Have you ever wondered why 2 Corinthians 5:21 say "...we might become..." instead of just saying "...we become ...."? I believe it's because we find it difficult to accept, even doubt, that we do not have to work for it; that by His grace we become righteous. This unbelief, by our lack of understanding of what grace truly means, hinder us from receiving His abundant life (John 10:10), which includes His peace and joy.
Peace and joy are part of the fruit of the Holy Spirit (Galatians 5:22).
John 14:27 (NIV)Joy
Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.
Isaiah 9:6 (NIV)
For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counsellor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
Psalms 92:4(NIV)If you want these three qualities of Romans 14:17 to flow in your life, then seek to be conscious of your righteousness in Christ, not your own righteousness, but HIS righteousness. You become God's righteousness not by what you did or will ever do, but from the finish work of Jesus Christ at the cross.
For you make me glad by your deeds, O Lord; I sing for joy at the work of your hands.
Psalms 94:19 (NIV)
When anxiey was great within me, your consolation brought joy to my soul.
Spend time in prayer with Him, listening for His voice (John 10:3) and listen also to his Word in scripture, which will build up your faith in Him. In doing these, you are actually pursuing God, you are seeking His kingdom and His righteousness ...then all the things that you need will be added to you, including the approval of men (Romans 14:18).
Can you see how these three qualities flowing in your life, causes all the things that you need to be added on to you?