For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking, but of 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 14:17-18
In today’s passage, the Apostle Paul reminds us that life in the kingdom of God is not just about eating and drinking. Nope, it has nothing to do with that at all! Instead, Paul declares that life in the kingdom of God is all about righteousness, peace, joy, and service. These things are pleasing to God.
It reminds me of another passage. This one comes from the Psalms and declares, “May the righteous be glad and rejoice before God; may they be happy and joyful (Psalm 68:3). I love the way the psalmist proclaims that the righteous should to be glad and rejoice before God. Isn’t that the way we should live our lives in the kingdom of God?
It seems so simple. God asks so little of us in the big scheme of things. He holds the universe together, supplies all our needs, blesses us, sacrificed His only Son for us, provides us the opportunity to live with Him for eternity, and a host of innumerable acts of grace. In exchange, God simply wants us to praise Him with a spirit filled with joy, peace, and gladness. Wow, what a great deal! But wait a minute. Does this mean only when things are going my way and I’m on top of my game? Let’s scan both passages for a minute. I don’t see any qualifiers or conditions in either passage indicating we are to be glad, joyful, and peaceful only when things are going our way. We need to be this way all the time as we live life in the kingdom of God.
Even in the midst of dealing with Alzheimer’s disease, we are to be glad and rejoice before the Lord. Now I know that is a pretty bold request given all Alzheimer’s disease entails! But life in the kingdom of God isn’t over even though we struggle with the disease. There is still lots of living and loving left in our lives. God isn’t through with us just yet and the final chapter of our lives hasn’t been written.
So rejoice and be glad before God today. Praise Him with a joyful spirit and thank Him for all He has done in your life up to this point. Alzheimer’s is most certainly a challenging condition to say the least. It requires each of us to remain positive and find ways to cope with changing conditions. But the Holy Spirit is the key to keeping our lives righteous, peaceful, joyful, and filled with service!