"For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking but of righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.”—Romans 14:17 ESV
Paul wrote this counsel in the situation when Gentile Christians and Jewish Christians were in considerable conflict over how much of the Law of Moses that Gentile converts should be required to observe. Paul deals with this problem in most of his writings and we find it throughout Acts. In this verse he sets forth essence of Christian existence which is “righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.”
I’ve seen so many Christians all of these many years that were literally wearing themselves with guilt and fear over trying to live in “holiness” which was defined by a whole bunch of rules and regulations about what you could and couldn’t do. Others have brought horrendous anxiety and even depression upon themselves and others by being obsessed with a very negative worldview and all of the “end times prophecies” which are dominated by “doom and gloom.” These folks tend see the whole world racing madly towards hell, especially the younger generation who have very little interest in organized religion of any kind. I have noticed a great scarcity of “peace and joy in the Holy Spirit” among these very strict believers. I also have observed how so many of them who are very strict in their eating and lifestyle habits end up with terrible degenerative sicknesses, especially cancer. I’ve always tended to take my beliefs seriously and couldn’t do otherwise as that is part of who I am. But as I’ve observed how so many very conservative folks have ended up it has challenged me to do serious reflection and searching of heart. As far as the younger generation (aka millennials) is concerned, I’ve had many conversations with them where I listen carefully and have found many of them have very good personal values as well as being very courteous and respectful. More than anything else they tend to be optimistic in their worldview. Their overall philosophy is “live and let live.” Where all of this is going I don’t know. That is in God’s hands and I am content to leave it there. I have a very focused “faith journey” which has met all of my needs now for many years. I’m finding it best to not allow myself to get involved in any of this “doom and gloom” thinking, be faithful in what I’m called to do, and let God have charge of this world instead of me thinking that I need to do so. I think some folks actually feel that if they believe something hard enough that it might force the hand of God to make things turn out according to their predictions. Some of these “end times” predictions border on doing just that very thing.
I have tried to briefly summarize MY WORLDVIEW in the article below. As you read it, “take what you like and leave the rest” but it does express my honest convictions: