Bible text: Mark 2:18-22, Matthew 9:14-17, Luke 5:33-38
Last week, we studied the parable of the old wine and new wine. During the discussion, different insights were given into what Jesus meant with this parable and its application in our lives today. The parable Jesus told was in response to a question about why Jesus's disciples were not fasting when others (Pharisees and John the Baptist's disciples) were. Jesus responded that while the bridegroom (Jesus) was present, the guests did not need to fast. The fasting would happen after His death. Jesus proceeded to tell the parable of the old wine which is poured into new wineskins and ends up ruining the wine AND the wineskins! In this parable, Jesus was telling the Pharisees that He was bringing something new that could not be mixed with the old! The Mosaic law had to be followed in a certain way and Jesus, by sacrificing Himself, was going to establish a new covenant which would fulfil the law. So, yes, the disciples would still fast and pray when Jesus died but it would be under a new covenant.
As I read through this parable, I received a new understanding of it which was related to our own lives. In Romans 6 & 7, Paul explains the new way of life we have in Christ which frees us from sin and draws us closer to God through His righteousness. When we give our lives to God, we make a commitment to putting our old selves away and becoming new in Christ (2 Corinthians 5:17). Why then would we forsake the new and go back to the old? You might think it's something no one would do but, unfortunately, this is something we do A LOT! After entering a new covenant (& relationship) with God, we easily slip back into our old ways and habits that are contrary to the leading of the Holy Spirit. It's very easy to do this as there is a constant battle between the desires of our flesh and the desires of the Spirit. One brings instant (& sinful) gratification and the other brings us closer to God but we tend to keep going back.
We should be careful about the compromises we make and even more careful of not making a full commitment to the will and leading of God. The Holy Spirit in us leads us according to the will of God and in doing so, continues the transformation from old to new. That transformation needs to be total and complete so if there are old areas of your life you are struggling to let go of, pray to the Father today and ask Him to show you those areas. Ask God to give you the strength to let go of the old and embrace the new! I pray as you do so, the Lord will keep you on His righteous path and will pour new wine into you!
P.S. I wrote a blog post on Hosea's Clothing so please visit their website and read this and many other amazing posts from young people across the UK who are sharing their own journeys of transformation!