Since the kingdom of God is … righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit, we pursue what makes for peace and for edifying one another. Romans 14:17–19
When Jesus began his ministry, he started by issuing this proclamation: “The Kingdom of God is near! Repent and believe in the good news!” To the ears of a nation which had rejected God as their King a thousand years earlier, this sounded as strange as it does to our ears today. It is an offensive message because it implies that its recipients are rebels who need to make peace, who need reconciliation with the King. Making peace restores our relationship with the King so we can enjoy all the benefits of being righteously aligned with him. In this context each us, as subjects of the King, has a unique relationship, trusting him as best we can. So we are at peace, even if our confidence in the King’s ability to order his realm wisely and powerfully is weaker than someone else’s faith. As we experience more of his wise and gracious provision, our confidence in him will grow. So when we see others whose faith is not as strong as ours, we do not criticize or judge. Instead, we encourage them in their faith, so they fully enjoy their peace. And, we enjoy how the King extends his grace in our lives, so that all who see what he’s doing for us appreciate him too.
Gracious Lord, as you incrementally impart peace to your godly ones, keep me from the folly of criticism or boasting.