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  • Writer's pictureMatt Beaney

#1048. Righteous, peace and Joy in the Holy Spirit (3/5/24)

On Sunday we had Dale Barlow, from the New Ground leadership team speaking on The Holy Spirit. This week’s devotionals are loosely based upon his message. Today we reflect upon how the kingdom of God is marked by righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. 

‘For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking, but of righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.’ (Romans 14:17)

Lesson: The Holy Spirit wants to enjoy the gift or righteousness, peace and joy, but also to grow in these attributes that mark out citizens of the Kingdom of God. 

To listen to this devotional, go to:

The kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking

I think that many people would say that ‘eating and drinking’ is a great joy to them. Personally, going out for a meal with friends and family would have to be one of my favourite things. Is such an attitude wrong? What is meant by ‘the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking’? This is a great example of how understanding the context of a passage is often very important for a correct application of a text. Here, eating and drinking, is about the observance of Jewish food laws. Here, Pauls is teaching, that in the New Covenant (after Jesus’ coming) the food laws of the Old Testament are no longer binding on us who are in the Kingdom of God. This is why earlier, we read:

‘I am convinced, being fully persuaded in the Lord Jesus, that nothing is unclean in itself.’ (Romans 14:14) 

If this were not the case, Christians should, for example, refrain from eating pork and any meat with the blood still in it. This, as I’m sure we can see, was a hugely contentious issues for those first Christians from Jewish and Gentile (non-Jewish) backgrounds. Here, Paul is seeking to bring unity (as we saw in yesterday’s devotional) between people from different backgrounds and approaches to food and drink in worship. 

In essence, he’s saying that you can eat and drink anything (and every day is holy) but don’t use your freedom to offend and be a ‘stumbling block’, unnecessarily, to your brothers and sister who have a weaker conscience. Sometimes we have to curb our freedom out of love for others. 

The Kingdom of God is righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit

Rather than dividing and being unloving about ‘disputable issues’ (v.1 - issues about which God allows us to have differences of opinion) such as food, drink, and special days, we are to be marked by ‘righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit’.  What does this mean?

Righteousness - The people of God, who are born again and filled with the Spirit,  know that they are righteous through faith in Christ. This, in turn, leads them to seek to live righteously, in line with God’s Word. 

Peace - Those in God’s Kingdom, who are filled with the Spirit, know that they have peace with God through faith in Christ. They no longer have to earn peace through observing the law. This, in turn, leads to having inner peace and being peacemakers in the church. 

Joy - Finally, citizens of the Kingdom, are filled with joy because they know God and His gift of righteousness and peace. They are filled with joy because they have hope. This, in turn, leads to building a joyful church. 

I hope we can see that anyone and any church that is truly being led by the Spirit will be filled with righteousness, peace and joy. These three things are gifts to those who enter the Kingdom, but they are also attributes and manifestations of the Kingdom that are to be pursued. 


The Holy Spirit wants to enjoy the gift or righteousness, peace and joy, but also to grow in these attributes that mark out citizens of the Kingdom of God. Those in the Kingdom of God are gifted with righteousness, peace and joy, but, the Holy Spirit wants to produce this fruit and these attributes in us so as to build a loving church community. we read in Galatians 5: 

‘But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,  gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.  Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.  Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit.  Let us not become conceited, provoking and envying each other.’ (Galatians 5:22-26) 

Are you filled with the joy that comes from knowing that God has gifted you with righteousness and peace through faith in Christ? The Holy Spirit wants to convince you of your new standing with God. Secondly, are you keeping in step with the Spirit so as to ‘make every effort to do what leads to peace and to mutual edification (v.19).’ Are you being a conduit of contention and anger, or of peace and joy as the Holy Spirit works in and through you? 



1. Notices

It might be good to begin with notices. Please share from this week’s Church News.

Please ensure that the members of your group are aware and familiar with using the daily devotionals, which are accessed in Church News, the Teaching button on the website and are now available on the major podcast platforms. 

2. Icebreaker

How has God been speaking to you from His Word this week and how has this helped you? 

3. Worship together

Let’s begin our time together by lifting our eyes and hearts to worship our great God. Perhaps you have readings and songs that you would like to use together. Let’s be open to the gifts that the Spirit wants to give in order to encourage one another.

4. Study and pray together

Our message on Sunday from Dale Barlow, was on The Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit has been promised to us. By His power, we are enabled to believe on Jesus. He causes us to be Born again and receive a new heart and outlook. He wants to fill, empower and impart His hope and comfort every day. 

Dale used a number of stories and texts to talk about the Holy Spirit. I suggest that you choose one or two texts from below from which to discuss and pray together: 

  • Did God speak to you about anything specifically from Sunday’s message?

  • John 14:16-20, 16:7, 7:37-39: What has Jesus promised us? How do we enter into and are we entering into His promise? 

  • What does Romans 5:1-5: What is our hope and how does the Holy Spirit help us to rejoice in it in all circumstances? 

  • 2 Corinthians 1:3-4: How does God teach us in suffering and what does this lead to?

  • Romans 15:13: What does the Holy Spirit enable us to do?

  • Romans 14:17: What are the attributes that mark out those who are in the Kingdom? 

  • SIV - How does the Holy Spirit lead and empower us into His mission? 

  • SIV - Do we have any stories of how we have ‘Served, Invested, and inVited’ recently?

  • Let’s pray together that, this week, we will have opportunities to ‘SIV’; and pray for anything else that's come out of our time in God’s Word.

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