Monday, January 9, 2012

“New Wine”

Inevitably as the calendar rolls over to a new year, we tend to reflect upon the old and contemplate what the new will bring.  We look forward with anticipation to the new; however the positive outlook for the new is often hindered by what is carried over from the old.  The following verse reflects that this fact is true in our spiritual lives as well as in our physical.  God impressed this verse upon me as a focus for my life in 2012.        

No one sews a patch of unshrunk cloth on an old garment; otherwise the patch pulls away from it, the new from the old, and a worse tear results.  No one puts new wine into old wineskins; otherwise the wine will burst the skins, and the wine will be lost and the skin as well; but one puts new wine into fresh wineskins.” (Mark 2:21-22)

According to scripture, being filled with “new wine” is reflective of the Holy Spirit being poured out upon God’s children.  One of the Biblical promises that I cling to and pray daily over myself and my family is found in Isaiah 44:3 where it states, “I will pour water on him that is thirsty, and floods upon the dry ground: I will pour my spirit upon thy seed, and my blessing upon thine offspring.”  I truly need the Spirit to be poured out upon myself and my family, and I desperately desire to be filled with this “new wine,” but according to the above scripture, if my “wineskins” can’t handle the “new wine” it will be of little value to me.  The “new wine” will be lost because the old container cannot adapt to the changing nature of the new.  Our old ways of thinking and doing things are not necessarily bad, but may not accommodate the processes associated with the “new wine.”  As in the parable above, be it putting a “new unshrunk patch” on an old garment, or “new wine” in old wineskins, the result is the same.   The old loses its usefulness altogether, and the new is wasted.   Old garments have fulfilled their purpose, and old wineskins obviously served their need well; but we have now entered a critical hour in history, and we can no longer settle for “old garments” or “old wineskins.”  “You know what (a critical) hour this is, how it is high time now for you to wake up out of your sleep (rouse to reality). (Rom. 13:11) AMP    We desperately need the “new wine,” therefore are in desperate need of a new wineskin to hold it.   We can no longer get by on rule keeping or law oriented religion.  We can no longer be content with traditions, or spiritual entertainment, orchestrated by man’s natural abilities.  All that will suffice is that which comes from the breath of the Father himself.  That which comes from man is no more than cheap amusement, while that which is poured out by the Spirit is no less than life itself.  Being filled with the Spirit is no longer an option.  Oh, how we settle for so much less than Jesus wants to give.  Not understanding the abundance of God’s grace or how it pleases God to extravagantly give to us; we settle for a few spiritual crumbs from the master’s table when we could be feasting “with Him” as an honored guest, “at” the table.  “For it is the Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom.” (Luke 12:32)

To make use of the “new wine” and assure that none is wasted, we must by grace receive a new mind and a new heart.  Our traditional way of thinking must be submitted to the Spirit, and some sacred cows may need to be slaughtered. If we are to be filled with the “new wine,” we must be able to stretch and change, move and flow, however and wherever the Spirit leads.  Our ridged order, well designed ideas and paradigms must be submitted to the flexibility of the Spirit.  Obviously none of this comes easily or without some mental anguish, but the reward is great.

New wine must be put into new wine bottles.” (Mark 2:22b) KJV

We cannot receive the new wineskin needed for holding the “new wine” by some religious activity or by holding our mouth just right while jumping backwards through some hoop.  We cannot receive a “new mind” by trying harder or by turning over a new leaf.  (Trying to receive in this manner is part of the “old wineskin” that needs to be replaced.)  The “new wine” as well as the “new wineskin” is received only as a gift of grace, appropriated by Jesus’ finished work.  It comes as we “hunger” after, and submit our hearts to that glorious grace

I urge you to pray to be filled with “new wine,” but pray also to be given a “new wineskin” in order to accommodate the “new wine!”

“God gives the Spirit without limit.” (John3:34b)

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