Through the presence of winter, there is tempests raging inside of my own heart far colder and biting. There is an undeniable call to lay my treasure down at the feet of Jesus. But I don't want to. If I give all of it up, should I become like the skeleton trees of winter, their life stripped from their branches which lie on the rain-soaked ground in stinking heaps?
My treasure has been elevated above Christ. It sits on the throne of my life and commands my every move. I bend into whatever shape it takes to preserve it and give it excuse to live. My sin-filled heart denies that this way of living will never carry.
When I first knew I must give it up, I didn't expect pain. I didn't expect the cutting away to draw blood. I didn't expect the bending over of body to touch the cold floor that caught bitter tears. How did I come to expect that I shouldn't have to fight?
"Every branch in me that does not bear fruit he takes away, and every branch that does bear fruit he prunes, that it may bear more fruit." - John 15:2
So I bask in pride that is quickly-acting poison. I walk with empty pastimes and distractions. I sell small pieces of my heart for assurance and acceptance. Through all of the selling, the Cross becomes covered and its shadow no longer commands me. I am commanded by the things that never last. By treasure consumed.
When I experience the sting of heart-pain, the cost, I shy away in fear and retreat back into what's comfortable and known. But inside, I die. And slowly, the cry of a heart who knows that this place is hollow, rises. Only death resides here in the shadows. Darkness that paraded as satisfaction, betrayed me.
The kneeling of the knees on the floor because of the cutting away is not death. It is truly the sign of life that can only come as we walk through the death of what we are tempted to hold close and preserve. The death of what sits on the throne of our lives. The death of something that was in truth, death itself. A death that commanded us.
In pain, there is an un-explainable peace. A joy that rises only from sacrifice and obedience. A soaring life that only follows the loose hands of surrender. The filling of a heart only when it has spilled its holding on of hopes and dreams at the feet of Jesus. And after all of the giving up and the cutting away, we may not encounter a future we expected but if bent to the will of God we can truly expect a future better than all our heart dreamed because in that giving up of our own will, is the only place where true life abounds.