In Romans 14:17
“For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking,
but of righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit,”
That means that when we’re making kingdom plans, we need to have a threefold witness: there must be righteousness peace and joy from the Holy Spirit.
So I always ask these questions:
• Is it right to do this?
• Do I have peace to do this?
• Do I have joy when I think about doing this?
A practical checklist for seeking the guidance and timing of the Lord
The Bible says “All things work together for the God of those who love him and are called according to his purposes”. So in order to find the good we must love God and we must recognize his calling and his purposes. The Good does not come automatically.
And the Kingdom three-fold check is one way that we can teach each other how to recognize the purposes of God and move in his timing. When you are seeking the Lord’s will and making your own decisions use this three-fold check. Ask the Holy Spirit to guide you and then say: Lord in your word it says, “The kingdom of heaven is righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.” Romans 14:17. Now show me are you in this?
Let me break it down once again for better understanding:
The FIRST check is RIGHTEOUSNESS
There are two levels to righteousness. Is what you plan to do right and are you doing it in the right way? There is the legal dimension of righteousness that you can judge according to the natural and spiritual laws. That means you ask: “Is it legal according to the laws of the land and according to the laws of God?” You can specifically consider the Ten Commandments and the Sermon on the Mount, to know if any action or thought is righteous.
But there is also the righteousness of God that comes from the finished work of Christ. Any religious effort that is designed to add to the work of Christ in making you righteous is not righteous.
In other words, it you are motivated by a desire to be righteous in the eyes of men or to earn credit in the eyes of God then it is not the righteousness of God. If you are trying to testify about your generosity like Ananias and Sapphira to gain the approval of people, that is not righteous, even though giving is righteous.
Or another example, perhaps you are wondering if it is God’s will that you fast. Fasting is certainly permitted in the Bible and in your country. So it is legal. But if you think that God will forgive your sins because of your fasting, then that is you trying to earn your own righteousness and instead of allowing the righteousness of Christ to be imputed to you.
So using the test of God’s righteousness on this plan to fast, you would realize that it this is wrong. On the other hand if you feel the call of God in your heart to fast to strengthen your spirit and listen to his voice that is righteous.
Another example was the case of a young man who wanted to help the refugees in our village. So we checked the 3-fold test and when it came to righteousness, I asked if he had permission from the Pastor to use the youth centre and if he had permission from the government to work with the refugees. You see kingdom righteousness respects order and authority.
The second check is PEACE
Do you have the peace of God, the peace that passes or surpasses understanding when you think about doing this thing?
Now don’t confuse lack of peace with natural apprehension. Like, for example, when you need to take an exam. If you have studied and rested on Sunday and done your level best to prepare, you should have peace to do the exam. But if you have been lazy you might be lacking peace. But that does not mean it is not God’s will for you to take the exam.You have to do your best in school and in doing your homework so that you have peace and joy when it comes to exam time.
When I travel to Pakistan, peace is very important. If we don’t have the peace of God, we know that we are in danger and that we need to change our plans, our route or our meeting location. To be out of the will of God in Pakistan can be fatal. Because suicide bombers can attack the church! So we need the peace of God in every move we make and in all our plans.
When you have the PEACE of God, you still can face some complications or difficulties but you don’t feel an inner tension. You don’t doubt yourself or question your own calling or identity. You know simply that you need to address a problem. But when the peace lifts you need to move.
Young ladies, young men, righteousness and peace will help you stay pure and guard your body. Outside marriage you can be aroused and excited but there will always be some fear. But when you stay within the will of God, there is no fear. You look forward to your wedding with peace and joy.
The THIRD check is JOY in the Holy Spirit.
When I make travel plans, led by the Spirit I always feel the joy of the Lord about the people I will see, the messages the Lord is giving and the miracles that God is going to do during the events. That is the test of joy. So brothers and sisters.
Why don’t you encourage one another as you make your future plans in life and in the church life to use the three-fold Kingdom check and look for Righteousness, Peace and Joy in the Holy Spirit. And the next verse tells us of the reward this will bring:
“Because anyone who serves Christ in this way is pleasing to God and receives human approval.”