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A Cold Branch
Photo: Anton Gvozdikov
I stared at the fire in discontent, wondering why the tree branch wouldn’t stay lit. We had been sitting by the fire for the better part of an hour and by that time the situation had become symbolic. No matter how long I left the branch in the fire, when I pulled it out, the flame wouldn’t last longer than a couple of seconds. I was growing increasingly jealous as I watched my friend’s branch endure the cold night and bring warmth to those around him.

I understand that it sounds silly, but like I said, in my mind the situation had become symbolic. Just like in my spiritual life, I couldn’t understand why my fire wouldn’t last in the cold air. See, my branch was old and worn, as opposed to my friend’s branch that seemed new and would light up at even the smallest feel of the fire.

When I first discovered the fire of Jesus Christ, I was like a thrilled cavemen and the smallest encounter with Him could light me up for weeks. As the trials of this life took their toll on me, God became just a part of my everyday life, I made Him smaller and smaller, underestimating His power and losing my still-growing faith. I rarely exposed myself to His fire, and my “branch” became cold.

Let It Go

At this point “just enough” of Jesus wouldn't do anymore. It was not enough to have a brief encounter with Him. I needed to be lit on fire with His love—to feel Him in my life like I used to when I was a baby Christian. I needed to stop holding my own branch, controlling how deep into the fire it would go and how long I would leave it there. I needed to let it go…into the fire.

Oh yes, it sounds crazy, and it probably is. But that’s what my Savior deserves from me—reckless abandon—to toss pride and self-reliance into the fire and let myself be completely consumed by Him. Then I would no longer live, but He would live in me (Galatians 2:19).

My life and my choices are no more. A cursory glance at the Bible becomes instead, a surrender to His Word. I was not to take the branch out of the fire at any point—surrender to Christ needed to be absolute.

So that night I tossed my literal branch into the literal fire, and wrote the words pride, jealousy, and bitterness on a literal piece of paper and tossed it in right along with the branch. And I prayed that I would have the strength to surrender the same in my heart, so that my flaws, and my self, would be utterly consumed in the fire of Jesus Christ. 

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By Raquel Levy. Copyright © 2010 by GraceNotes. All rights reserved. Use of this material is subject to usage guidelines. Scripture taken from the NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION ®.

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