“If you want to be perfect, go, sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.” Matthew 19:21
It was a Saturday night. God had been putting it on my heart to go through my wardrobe and discard the items I had worn while I was an alcoholic. Out with the old and in with the new. If I am a new creation clothed in Christ, then what I clothe myself with outwardly should be a reflection of the internal. Why would I want to be wearing garments I had blatantly worshiped the darkness in? I don’t. I thought it would be an easy process. An hour. Maybe two, tops.
Well what I wore while an alcoholic turned into what I owned while an alcoholic—which was a 7 year span. Everything from socks, to jewelry, to bedroom furniture, to pots and pans, to curling irons, to nail polish (of which I had a plethora), to office supplies, and back to coats. Everything must go. Whatever touched my life while I was drinking and living licentious in the world must be purged from my possession. So what I thought would be a late night evening chore, turned into a weeklong undertaking. Going through every single item I owned—every blouse, bag, book, belt, and blanket. Every item down the rings on my key chain and finger. I had to go through my entire home, piece by piece, trying to remember when it came into my possession and how I had acquired it. (You don’t realize how much stuff you actually have until you have to go through it all).
I believe God had me go through this process for a greater level of purification. The purging of my possessions externally was a symbol of the attachment to the old self I had in my heart. I want nothing to do with anything from that time in my life. When we are crucified with Christ, everything dies. I want my external to represent my internal.
Not that these objects were haunting me daily with memories of sins long ago, if that were the case I would have tossed them immediately. It was more that they had the potential to bring back memories at any given time and by doing so, resurrect the old Tesia in my present. That my possession of them in the present represented my allegiance or fondness in my heart towards actions in the past. To me these objects weren’t pure or sanctified because so much sin had been committed in and around them. To be honest I couldn’t believe some of the things I still had in my possession. Shoes I had gone to raves in. Mugs I had drank wine from. My heart wrenched and I was repenting left and right, thanking Jesus for His grace and mercy in my life. Separating myself from these items solidified in my actions the choice I have made in my heart. To be wholly devoted unto the Lord; purified and sanctified in Him. I prayed He would purify my heart as I purified my home.
“The Kingdom of heaven is like a treasure hidden in a field. When a man found it, he hid it again, and then in his joy went and sold all he had and bought that field.” –Matthew 13:44
In his joy.
As I was going through this process I found myself torn over the silliest of things. Mostly utilitarian items. A belt. A whisk. A garlic press. As I held the belt in my hands waffling over whether or not to toss or keep (even though I knew I had worn it well throughout my drinking years) I realized, “What am I thinking??? It’s a belt! Do I not believe that Jesus provides for each and every one of my needs? Do I not believe that He will provide me with a belt? He is God after all.” And it immediately went in the toss pile. I found through this process my love and devotion for God grew. My trust in His sovereignty and provision grew. As I chose Jesus over each item, my heart fell deeper and deeper in love with Him.
“Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant looking for fine pearls. When he found one of great value, he went away and sold everything he had and bought it.” –Matthew 13:45-46
Some of these things I had owned since I was an adolescent and had sentimental value. There was one item in particular I was wavering with. My 16th birthday ring. It was an aquamarine with two tiny diamonds set in a white gold band. On the inside was engraved the word “Treasure” (my mother’s nickname for me growing up). I had worn the ring throughout my wandering years and my heart was struggling with relinquishing the item. In asking God what to do, this verse immediately popped into my head.
“Store up for yourselves treasures in heaven…” –Matthew 6:20a
As I stared into my hand I started laughing. Literally what I was holding was trash. Garbage. It will mean nothing in eternity. And suddenly the words of Paul rang true in my heart.
“I consider everything a loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them garbage, that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own…but that which is through faith in Christ—the righteousness that comes from God on the basis of faith. I want to know Christ—yes, to know the power of his resurrection and participation in his sufferings.” –Philippians 3:8-10a
While voluntarily weeding out items from my possessions isn’t a great affliction or suffering, it was my sacrifice to Jesus. My heart truly said, “I lay it all down Lord. It’s all garbage in comparison to knowing and having You. I want You and only You Jesus. Take it all. Take my life. May I be poured out for Your sake.” And I can’t begin to tell you the inexpressible joy that comes with obedience to God. In his joy he sold all he had. In my joy I gave away all my trash, and traded it for the treasures of heaven.
Throughout this time the spiritual warfare was real. The Devil is a legalist and the accuser of the brethren. I couldn’t help but get the feeling that me owning these items somehow gave Satan rights to my life—inroads I was unaware of, and he had a vested interest in me not being rid of it all. He had a vested interest in destroying my life in the past, so anything he can do in the present, he will. Nausea and light headedness came in waves. Internally I felt a ripping and tearing. I physically felt things being pulled out of my heart. Like what was happening in the natural was affecting change in the spiritual. We never know what one act of obedience can lead to, and I believe through this process I was purified spiritually to depths I can’t fully comprehend.
During this week long process I was babysitting a little boy. It was well beyond his bedtime and tears were streaming as I tried to put him to sleep. Nothing seemed to be working and I thought to sing him a lullaby. As I was racking my brain for the limited list of lullabies I know, Jesus brought to remembrance one my mom used to sing to me. It goes like this:
Lord, You are more precious than silver;
Lord, You are more costly than gold;
Lord, You are more beautiful than diamonds;
And nothing I desire compares with You.
By “more beautiful than diamonds” I was tearing up. I had given away my 16th birthday ring at this point. As I sang “nothing I desire compares with You,” my heart prayed it and I knew it to be true of me. There is no earthly possession I desire that compares with Jesus. Not one thing. And if the only thing I were to take away from this entire experience was the revealing of devotion in my heart to Jesus, it was all worth it. I want my faith to be real. I want an unshakable and unmovable faith and hope in Jesus Christ. I want my only satisfaction to come from Him.
In. Christ. Alone.
My rock and my sure foundation. I will not be shaken. I can honestly say from the depths of my being there is nothing worth keeping if it’s keeping me from Jesus.
So while 90% of my clothes, accessories, and shoes are gone (I’m grateful it’s summer…all the coats and boots left), and my cabinets and closets are emptier than the day I moved in, my heart is full and overflowing. While I don’t have the resources to replenish what was removed, I have Jehovah Jireh—my God and my Provider. Where your treasure is there your heart will be also. I know that my treasure is in heaven and my heart is the Lord’s.