I often wonder what it would be like if we had no choice but to serve God? If there was no free will. Many people believe that this whole notion of free will is a fallacy. I used to be one of those people. Maybe I still am. Instead of exploring the issue I decided to let it go. One thing I realized about myself is that I am a very inquisitive person. I like to ask questions and there never seems to be enough answers to my questions. I am a logical being for the most part. But this logical bone of my mine can lead to my demise… Things have to make sense. If it doesn’t, it boggles my mind. What quirk of yours will keep you out of the kingdom? Is it your love of this world? Is it your intellect? Is it your never-ending need for answers?
This past weekend was the Hebron youth retreat lead by Brother Kevin Taylor. The theme of this retreat was “Are you Ready?” I must say that after hearing the word, I’ve realized that most of us are not even close to being “ready”. Some of my friends know that I am rarely impressed by preachers and speakers of the word. I am not down with the loud talking, screaming, the lyrical word play etc. It just doesn’t move me. I’m sure it’s somewhat effective because these people draw crowds and it’s not like what they are talking about isn’t the truth, but I’m over the antics. I have said all this just to really say that Kevin Taylor is what some would call “the truth”. He’s not afraid to talk about what’s really going on and he’s not afraid to call us out on the issues that are killing us.
On the first day he asked us a powerful question. ” What are you holding on to that’s keeping you from the kingdom?”. Whenever people hear this they automatically think the big stuff like sex and drugs. But for many of us it’s the little things. I mentioned before that it is my curiosity that is my vice.
I was born a SDA. Raised in the church active from birth. I never really understood fully how things worked. I just knew this is what I had to do. I think some of you feel me on this. Well as I got older church became more and more of a routine. By the time I got to college I was in search of something more. What that was I had no idea. Most people don’t know that I used to speak arabic as a child. So when I got to college I enrolled in arabic to see if I could salvage the lost language. Well arabic class turned in to Islam 101. After every class the professor asked me the same question. “Why don’t you convert to Islam? You’re confused you’re a jew and a christian at the same time.”
I thought about what he said and I realized that I did not have any answers. I also realized that all the scholars in my school were either atheist or agnostic. I knew God was real, but which God? Was he really the same and if so, where would I best serve him? Because I had become skeptical of this SDA thing.
The devil is a liar! I know this for a fact because he introduced me to someone who had answers. Unfortunately I would come to find out that they were not the best answers. I don’t have to go into detail but those of you that know me, know exactly what I’m talking about. I became intrigued with the Israelite movement and add that with my Africana studies minor I was about to be the next Assata Shakur lol. But anyways, the point of this long rant on my life is that sometimes its not the big things that will keep you from the kingdom, it could be your personality, they way you eat, the way you take care of yourself etc. This quarterly is about health and healing and last weeks lesson spoke on how even the way we treat our bodies can keep us from the kingdom. If you do not sleep or eat breakfast how can you meditate on his word?
Kevin Taylor also said it best when he said that for some of us it is our bellies that will keep us from the kingdom. He spoke on how fasting is how we train our minds to exercise control. If we cannot exercise control over our appetite now, how do we expect to show control in the last days? Will we sell our soul for a piece of bread? Will you sell out your brother or sister for some water?
It’s real out here in these streets and as me and my friend keep saying the christian walk is not easy. But it’s not supposed to be, that’s where many of us go wrong. We think accepting christ in our lives means that life is supposed to be painless. That sorrow and pain will never come our way. This is just the beginning of the sorrow so get used to it. The end is here.
I can admit that I am not ready can you?