Read This Week: Romans 14

Therefore let us stop passing judgment on one another. Instead, make up your mind not to put any stumbling block or obstacle in the way of a brother or sister. For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking, but righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit, because anyone who serves Christ in this way is pleasing to God and receives human approval. – Romans 14:13, 17-18 NIV

Relationships can be messy sometimes. As we do life and interact with each other, particularly around subjects of disagreement and controversy, intentions, comments, and words can be easily misinterpreted. Things can get misconstrued and dicey, especially online when we can’t physically see each other in a conversation or detect tone and intent. 

While we’re not ultimately responsible for how someone receives and reacts to us, we can be mindful of how we judge them, speak, and take nothing for granted about their relational experiences, or what could be going on in their life. This thoughtful and Spirit-driven approach will allow us to not get in the way of another’s spiritual growth or hinder their relationship with God by our treatment of them.

In the latter half of Romans, Paul talks a lot about how Christians should give themselves wholly to God, and this commitment should be evident in relationships and the interaction between people inside and outside of the Church. This devotion and love for others should also be apparent to those with whom we disagree on disputable matters. He sets the tone in verse 1 of chapter 14: Accept the one whose faith is weak, without quarreling over disputable matters.

It is clear from this passage that some relational problems were arising between the Jews and Gentiles around peripheral issues like food laws and special days. But Paul wants them to experience Christian love, especially those who are weaker in the faith. He makes it plain that no one should hinder another with their thoughts and actions regarding personal preference.

The passing of judgment and mistreatment of another over things that don’t ultimately matter or impact the gospel can get in the way of a person’s true worship and spiritual development. It can also prevent God’s family from living in harmony with one another. The Scriptures teach us here that none of us are better than any other believer; we are all saved by God’s grace and have been welcomed into His family through mercy and love. We cannot look down on our brothers and sisters and create obstacles to their faith. Verse 13 says:

Therefore let us stop passing judgment on one another. Instead, make up your mind not to put any stumbling block or obstacle in the way of a brother or sister. 

The “stumbling block” in this chapter is interpreted as spiritual destruction and we should all avoid being the cause of that in anyone’s life. Disputable matters, even if we may be right on them, should not take precedent over love and encouragement to seek the truth. We should focus on guiding and building others up for the kingdom and staying out of the way of what the Holy Spirit wants to do in their lives. Paul says in verse 17:

For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking, but righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit, because anyone who serves Christ in this way is pleasing to God and receives human approval.

When we make the eternal purposes of God our priority rather than arguing over minor disputes, we will express God’s righteousness, peace, and joy that transforms lives and relationships. Compared with this, our minor differences of opinion become irrelevant and of little consequence. We instead please God and do His will as a community. And when we please God, we don’t get in the way. Those around us are blessed, encouraged, built up, and their path to truly serving the Lord is not blocked by unnecessary obstacles.

8 Comments

  1. Jeri Centers on September 9, 2020 at 11:35 am

    God gave me a poem this week from Romans 14 verse 17:

    There is a place of calm
    A spot where all can find peace
    To fill the heart and mind.

    You won’t have to travel
    It isn’t very far
    You can reach it from right where you are.

    Just close off the world
    Shut down its’ interference
    Then open yourself up to the Spirit’s influence.

    Let God flood his peacefulness
    So he can fill your mind with joy and gratefulness.

    What that means to me is that once I feel God’s flow in my heart, I will begin to sing of God’s peace, joy, and gratefulness of the future that Jesus is going to bring to me.

    • Jason on September 14, 2020 at 1:23 pm

      The thing that stood out to me in your poem this week, Jeri was the hopeful truth that the peace and calm of God are not far away from us. This line grabbed me:

      You won’t have to travel
      It isn’t very far
      You can reach it from right where you are.

      We don’t have to travel, work, or perform to attain it. It is within us through His Holy Spirit. We can have it at any time and place and there is nothing on earth that can hinder or stop us from experiencing it.

  2. Heidi on September 11, 2020 at 11:11 am

    Romans 14:8 says, “If we live, we live to the Lord, and if we die, we die to the Lord. So then, whether we live or we die, we belong to the Lord.” What Father God put on my heart is everyone is important to Him and valuable. He loves everyone, Christ died for everyone.

    Living a life with Jesus is awesome because we’re learning to be like Him, we’re learning to be a light for Him. We’re learning to be a good servant, a good friend, a good helper for Father God. Whatever we do, it’s important to think of others first, and how it could affect them because God chose us to be His light. He depends on us to love on others, encourage them, and look for the good. We belong to Lord, it’s up to us to live for Him. That means to seek Him with our whole heart, and spend time learning how to be a light in the dark world. Spend time being a good student for God and teach others as we learn.

    God is saying to me, “Everyone is valuable to Me. What’s important to Me is that you care enough to help others. You live for the kingdom of heaven, you are a part of My family so whatever you do, do it for Me. Do it in love, be an encourager, a helper, look after people, pray with people, and you will be light. You are living a life with Jesus, people will know you belong to Me, you will have peace in your heart, and My joy will overflow.”

    • Jason on September 14, 2020 at 1:36 pm

      Thank you for your continued insight, Heidi. I thought this line was really good and changes our view on what it means to follow Jesus and live for Him:

      Living a life with Jesus is awesome because we’re learning to be like Him, we’re learning to be a light for Him. We’re learning to be a good servant, a good friend, a good helper for Father God.

      When we realize that we are to be God’s light in the world, it can really change our perspective and inspiration for living like Jesus in our everyday lives. As Jesus said, we are not to hide our light under a basket or put it out. We are to constantly shine and radiate the glory of Christ in our actions, words, and behavior on a daily basis.

      It is a humbling, yet empowering thing to know that the Lord desires to use us as His light to shine in the various dark corners of the world.

  3. almaschmidt on September 11, 2020 at 2:58 pm

    This week in Romans 14, God gave me a song called, “Building in His Spirit”:

    We are building, building, building in His Spirit
    Let’s sing Glory Glory Glory to the Lord

    With His peace, joy, and love in our hearts
    Building our foundation, our foundation in the Lord

    Let’s be true to God’s heart
    Building up one another
    Leading in spiritual growth

    We are building, building, building in His Spirit
    A strong foundation to show others God’s love, peace, and calmness. Amen.

    God’s foundation is so strong and made out of The Rock. He protects us and will never let us down. So let’s stand next to him in everything we do. I am thankful to God for His strong foundation.

    • Jason on September 14, 2020 at 1:25 pm

      I really appreciate your song lyrics this week, Alma. You show how building our lives on the foundation of God and His truth is what directly leads to our peace, joy, and spiritual growth. It also empowers us to express the essence of God’s love. The building of the foundation on The Rock is so crucial for success in life. As you said, He protects us and will never let us down.

  4. Kathy on September 14, 2020 at 9:39 am

    God said this to me in Romans 14. You will have to appear before Me with humility and give an account of yourself before Me. I will deal with others. You are not to judge others. You are to walk in love towards others whom My son Jesus loves and died for. Your liberty in Jesus and your freedom from the law is good, but not if you use it to destroy another person in Christ.

    My kingdom is about righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit. Serving Me with a heart for this is the kind of service that is acceptable in My sight. There is nothing pure in causing someone else to stumble. There are things I am challenging you to give up, but continuing to approve them in your life condemns yourself. Don’t cling to hindering things because you think they make you happy. Real happiness is found to be closer and closer to Jesus.

    What this said to me was I need to continue growing closer with God to be able to truly give up the things that hinder my relationship with Him. Running back to unhealthy things because it is familiar to me, needs to not be an option for me. God’s power can help me not do these things. I need to continue loving on people for Him, not judging them.

    • Jason on September 14, 2020 at 1:29 pm

      I think we need to be reminded of this truth and reality every week, Kathy:

      You will have to appear before Me with humility and give an account of yourself before Me. I will deal with others. You are not to judge others. You are to walk in love towards others whom My son Jesus loves and died for.

      It is so much for effective for us, as we do Kingdom work, to focus on loving God and others and properly handling our freedom in Christ than for us to try to adjudicate and judge the behaviors, actions, and attitudes of others.

      Thank you for this exhortation and necessary reminder from God’s word. It is needed constantly in our lives so we can stay focused on the right things.

Leave a Comment