New Wine, Old Wineskins

by | Jan 14, 2022 | Spiritual Formation | 0 comments

Recently, I was reading about Jesus’s caution against putting new wine into old wineskins (Matthew 9), and although I’ve read this parable many times I am pretty sure I have never paused to wonder with God where I may be attempting to do the same.

When Jesus spoke these words, wine was kept in containers made of animal skins. And those new skins would give and stretch as the fermentation in the new wine would expand. So, if old wine skins that had been previously thinned out were used to hold new wine, then there would be no more give. The wineskins would burst, leaving the new wine ruined and wasted.

There’s been a rub in me recently – a theme surfacing (or resurfacing). Something that keeps bubbling up. I wonder if something old is about to burst.

Old Wine

Last year I feel like the Lord kept bringing me back to ways that I try to control my surroundings to access internal peace. If the house was clean, the family happy, tasks completed, then I could be at “peace.” Peace has for a long time been connected to my accomplishments. Whew. That’s dangerous. Kind of opposite of the Gospel. Lol. This was and continues to be a fickle facade – a paper-thin peace.  

This peace is momentary. I feel good for that hour, that afternoon, that day. But, something else surfaces that disrupts what felt like peace. 

This can’t be the peace Jesus offers.

But, how do I access *that* peace? That deep, lasting, transformative Kingdom kind. 

I don’t have an easy answer to this. But, here’s what I do have to offer – a real conversation with God. It went something like this …

New Wineskins

“Hmm. That’s interesting, God. I feel like I need to control what’s around me and have since childhood. If I can control it, then I can feel peaceful and not anxious. How well has that worked for me? Lord, help me. I want true and deep peace – the kind you offer, not the kind the world offers.”

  1. This first step was listening. I was listening to my body. I had been feeling especially anxious and unpacking some themes in Spiritual Direction. I let the anxiety lead me and asked God to help me get to the root. The Holy Spirit is trustworthy to illumine the heart.  It may not be right away, but in God’s timing something will be become clearer.
  2. The second step was praying – talking to God and tell Him what I was noticing inside me.  This is no surprise to Him! It’s all about connection. Our own soul needs to know that He knows. You know? 😉
  3. And, the third step? Waiting. We can notice. We can pray. We can seek. And, then we wait for the Spirit to do the work. Kind of a relief.  Also, kind of hard.

Whatever our honest process looks like as we seek true transformation, let us NOT ignore our own heart. Don’t dismiss what’s going on and write it off as “sinful,” “a funk,” etc. Ask the Holy Spirit to help you see the root – the underlying cause. I can confidently say that it will not just go away. There’s somewhere deep that needs the love of Christ, and He wants to love every part of you. He is not willing to settle for parts of you. He wants the whole of you. 

Prayer Prompts

 

  • Holy Spirit, illuminate any of the old ways of being and doing that are no longer fitting with who I am called to be in You.
  • Father, forgive me for latching onto the old, familiar ways that bring temporary, thinned out comfort, but not true freedom.
  • Savior, save me again and again. 

 

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