Those controlled by the sinful nature cannot please God. Romans 8:8
After being diagnosed with early-onset Alzheimer’s disease, I tried to continue my work as an engineer and Operations Research System Analyst for the Department of the Army. Unfortunately, my brain was no longer working like it did before so my analytical abilities and reasoning skills were severely impacted. As a result, my work suffered immensely. The command for which I worked didn’t want me to retire because they felt they could use my well established analytical record and good name to push through less than optimal work. After totally messing up some critical projects, I knew in my heart I could not allow my exemplary record to become tarnished. Besides, I could no longer accept a large salary when I could no longer perform in an exemplary manner. Therefore, I opted to retire early at the age of 55.
I wonder how often our good Christian names are tarnished because of the way we live out our lives. Today’s passage reminds us that if we are controlled by our sinful natures we cannot be pleasing to God. As children of God and co-heirs with Christ (Romans 8:16-17), we must live and walk by the Spirit so as not to tarnish our God given relationship.
Scripture reminds us to live our lives in a manner pleasing to God. In Paul’s letter to the church in Thessalonica he wrote, “Finally, brothers, we instructed you how to live in order to please God, as in fact you are living. Now we ask you and urge you in the Lord Jesus to do this more and more. For you know what instructions we gave you by the authority of the Lord Jesus (1 Thessalonians 4:1–20).” The Apostle Paul desired the Thessalonians to live holy lives free from sexual impurity. He wanted the saints in Thessalonica to lead quiet lives, mind their own business, and work with their hands to ensure their daily lives would win the respect of others. Living under these holy guidelines and walking in the Spirit would certainly please God.
As I struggle with Alzheimer’s, I continue to work with my hands in service to others, live a peaceful life, mind my own business, spend time with the Lord, and do my best to avoid unrighteous activities. In fact, Alzheimer’s has enabled me to slow down; spend more time in prayer, reading, and study; and live more simply.
I pray my life is pleasing to God in spite of my disease. How about you?