Monday, April 3, 2017

#MessageMonday - Do Not Resuscitate: Walking In God's Will

First Baptist Church of Glenarden, main campus exterior / Metro Acoustics

First Baptist Church of Glenarden, main campus interior / Metro Acoustics

I've been a virtual member of First Baptist Church of Glenarden in Upper Marlboro, MD since the first time I visited there in 2014. I have a local home church in NC, but I call FBCG my home away from home. Based on size and seating capacity, FBCG would be classified as a mega church. At a whopping 205,000 square feet, it seats 4,000 people, but it feels personal.

Every Sunday, members greet the guests with warm smiles and heartfelt prayers, making them feel like part of the family. Under the leadership of Pastor John K. Jenkins, Sr. and First Lady Trina Jenkins, the church fulfills its mission, "Developing Dynamic Disciples through Discipleship, Discipline, and Duplication," both inside and outside the sanctuary through community outreach, classes and activities ranging from departmental retreats to health expos. The ministry at FBCG is something truly special, and the fact that so many of their members are active in the community at large is exemplary of how the Church should be, not just a building, but a body.

Pastor John K. Jenkins, Sr.
First Lady Trina E. Jenkins
I watch FBCG's noon service almost every Sunday, but yesterday's sermon particularly blessed me. It was a powerful message called "How to Know God's Will," as referenced in Ephesians 5:8-17. In the message, Pastor Jenkins touched on a few key things we have to do in order to make sure our life is aligned with God's will, but I'll focus on the two points that resonated with me the most: 1) Walk as children of light and 2) Stop having fellowship with unfruitful works of darkness. These seem fairly simple, but they're easier said than done.

Until we make the choice to be saved and accept Jesus Christ as the head of our lives, we are walking in darkness. When we become born again, God turns the proverbial light on in our lives so that we can discover our purpose and our truth. Just like we have to decide to accept Christ as our Lord and Savior, we have to decide to walk in the truth that God shows us. Once we know the truth, we have to make decisions that reflect the truth. If we're not making the right decisions after the light has been turned on, our lives will be a mess because we are not living according to His will.  We can't continue to live in darkness.

Pastor Jenkins' discussion of darkness was a segue into his second point. In order to align our lives with God's will, we have to choose to cut out ALL darkness in our lives; the darkness we recognize in ourselves as well as the "dark" people in our circle. This reminded me of a quote I saw awhile ago on Twitter from pastor and psalmist Smokie Norful: "Sometimes elevation requires isolation."

In other words, the growing process, the process of relinquishing your will to God's will almost always require you to cut people off. Cuts hurt, but they will be worth it. Some people in life weigh you down. You may not understand why right now, but every person God removes from your life is removed for a reason. Everybody can't go where God is taking you because what God has for you is tailor made for you. There's no room for negativity where you're going, and God won't take you higher until you cut off that deadweight: pessimists, jealous "friends" who are secretly praying for your downfall, bad ex-boyfriends/girlfriends, and anything else in your past that you've been holding onto long after God said no. All of that has to go in order for you to grow and get the blessings that God has for you.

If it's already dead, leave it alone. Trying to resurrect it can ruin you. Some of us try so hard to resurrect situations that are already dead, and before we know it, dead things consume us. We know that we're being called to go higher, but we can't move forward because we're so busy looking behind us. Some of us have things in our lives that need to die, but we keep resuscitating them. We speak life into situations that should've died a long time ago because we're afraid of the change that will occur when they're over. If you're dealing with something in your life that needs to die, let it go and trust your process. Trust that God will replace those people/places/things in your life that stunted your growth with new opportunities and relationships that will encourage you to keep pressing toward Christ. Say, "Lord, your will be done," and mean it, then watch God work in your life. His plans are always better than ours.

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