The Kingdom of God – not in religious observance

The Kingdom of God is a central theme in the Bible, especially the teachings of Jesus. The aim of this devotional series is to prayerfully reflect on the Kingdom of God and its manifestation in and through my life.


Romans 14:14-21

14  I know and am persuaded in the Lord Jesus that nothing is unclean in itself, but it is unclean for anyone who thinks it unclean.  15  For if your brother is grieved by what you eat, you are no longer walking in love. By what you eat, do not destroy the one for whom Christ died.  16  So do not let what you regard as good be spoken of as evil.

17  For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking but of righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.

18  Whoever thus serves Christ is acceptable to God and approved by men.  19  So then let us pursue what makes for peace and for mutual upbuilding.  20  Do not, for the sake of food, destroy the work of God. Everything is indeed clean, but it is wrong for anyone to make another stumble by what he eats.  21  It is good not to eat meat or drink wine or do anything that causes your brother to stumble.

Observation and reflection

Context: The congregation(s) in Rome were divided in their understanding of which holy days were to be observed and which foods were religiously acceptable.

Focus on verse 17.

  1. Rephrase the sentence “the reign of King Henry VI extended throughout the British Isles”.
    1. What is meant by “The Kingdom of God” in verse 17?
  2. Why (in this context) does Paul say “The Kingdom of God is not in eating and drinking
    1. Why is this an important distinction even today?
  3. Replace the following words with short phrases to describe what it means or implies in relation to “the Kingdom of God”:
    1. Eating and drinking
    2. Righteousness
    3. Peace
    4. Joy
  4. What does Paul mean by the qualifying phrase “…in the Holy Spirit”? [hint: where else does Paul write about “Holy Spirit… peace… joy”?]
  5. According to this verse:
    1. What is God’s reign like?
    2. Where does God reign?
    3. How is God’s reign extended in practice?

Application and prayer

Jesus did not come to enforce ceremonial religious observances.  He came to bring righteousness, peace and joy in our hearts and relationships.  Do you experience that?

Jesus taught us to pray God “Let Your kingdom come!”  (Matthew 6:10).

  1. In which relationship of yours do you not experience “righteousness, peace and joy”?
    1. Pray that God will work in your hearts to establish his “righteousness, peace and joy”.
    2. Make an appointment to discuss this with the other person so that there might be God’s reign may be evident in your relationship.
  2. Is there an aspect of your life that does not correspond to God’s “righteous” reign?
    1. Confess that to God and pray to God who is ready to forgive, gracious and merciful, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love.”
    2. Bring that area of your life to God in prayer, asking him to create his righteousness in your heart.
  3. Is there something about your nation or neighborhood or world which upsets you (i.e. violence, corruption, perversion, poverty, etc)?  Pray for God’s Kingdom to come in “righteousness, peace and joy!”


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