Saturday, January 6, 2007

But New Wine Must Be Put into New Wineskins

"No one puts a piece from a new garment on an old one; otherwise the new makes a tear, and also the piece that was taken out of the new does not match the old. And no one puts new wine into old wineskins; or else the new wine will burst the wineskins and be spilled, and the wineskins will be ruined. But new wine must be put into new wineskins, and both are preserved. And no one, having drunk old wine, immediately desires new; for he says, "The old is better." Luke 5:36-38

Jesus used the illustration of the wineskins to describe the necessary lifestyle change of someone who has become a new creation. Although the heart of the believer has been transformed once he accepts Jesus as his savior, the contents being poured into it must also be scrutinized. Like the impracticality of using new wineskin to hold old wine and vice versa, the christian must filter the things that go into his heart, adjusting the contents of it to fit who he has chosen to become; as a result, this allows for preservation. Otherwise, a believer who continues to conform to the lifestyle of the world is apt to fall and damage his relationship with God.

A good example of a follower who tried to change his ways, in order to adapt to his transformed life, was Abraham. Though he was given the opportunity to take the route into Sodom and Gomorrah, which was clearly more desirable according to the world standards, he refused to compromise. Instead of being absorbed in the wicked culture of the world, he chose the different path. Also, Abraham demonstrated his refusal to compromise to the world when he was offered gifts from the King of Sodom. This is conveyed in his response: "I have raised my hand to the Lord, God Most High, the Possessor of heaven and earth, that I will take nothing, from a thread to a sandal strap, and that I will not take anything that is yours, lest you should say, 'I have made Abram rich'-" Genesis 14:22-23

Abraham's choices to not compromise demonstrated how much he valued his relationship with God. By choosing to follow God, he had made a convenent that would urge him to "take nothing" of the world. He would be sanctified and set apart for the sole purpose of glorifying God. In essence, his successes and triumphs would be the reflection of God's faithfulness, and his victories would be a testimony of God's glory.

As christians, we are new wineskins, new creations. The content we allow to enter into our minds, hearts, and souls should constantly be monitored. We should ask ourselves whether or not our lifestyles really glorify God. And if anything is determined to be contraditory to that, it should be avoided and immediately eliminated from our lives. The difficulty is the fact that temptations wrought by our pride and flesh are constantly obstructing us, disabling our abilities to discern what is right and what is not. We find ourselves often time trying to placate our desires through compromise, but this is actually only pouring old wine into our new wineskins.

It is critical that we filter out not only the apparent wrongs, but we also refuse to compromise in the minor things. Because the minor compromises will only defile and so damage our senses, leading us to worst circumstances in the end, we must be fully resistant to such. By standing steadfast in our determination to be sanctified for God's glory, we, like Abraham, will "take nothing" from the world. By walking alongside God, through true and sweet fellowship, we will be able to filter the content entering our new lives.

Dear God,

Help me to be aware of the content I allow into my life. Please allow me to be wise and not succumb to compromise, even in the smallest of circumstances. May my life and the decisions I make glorify You.

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