Is New Better Than Old?

How well do you adapt to new things?

As we navigate the COVID crisis, there has been a lot of talk about ‘new wineskins’ and how the church will look going forward.

My husband and I were talking about this the other day. I want to challenge you with a really good point that he made.

In Matthew 9:14-17 Jesus talks about the perils of putting new wine into old wineskins. New wine in old wineskins will burst and completely ruin them. This is because the old wineskins have lost their flexibility and capacity under pressure. Beautiful new wine is at risk of being wasted if it is to be put in these old skins.

Jesus was speaking about himself as being the new wine. The Jewish people and in particular the leaders were set in their ways and unable to see the new way Jesus was bringing.

As my husband and I spoke about this he said, “Do you notice that the new wineskins are the same as the old ones, only new?” I had never thought about that verse in this way. Often when I heard this verse preached it was all about doing something completely different and new. Something that has never been done before. The reality is that the only difference between an old wineskin and a new one is the flexibility and capacity of the skin. They are both made out of the same animal skin, in the same shape, with the same tools. The difference is that the new one is mailable enough to hold the pressure of the new wine.

So often we read this verse as a prompting to find the newest and greatest thing, but it is really talking about the capacity and flexibility we have to receive the new thing. When God is wanting to do something new, He is looking for us to be flexible and mailable. He is seeing if we have the capacity to be able to accept something new.

Jesus was wanting to move the people on from a rules-based form of religion to a relationship with God. They needed to be flexible and willing to relate to God in a different way than they had previously done. They needed to draw on their experience of God and trust in Him to be able to withstand the future pressures of being a disciple.

So often we are looking for something new and fresh, but how willing are we to embrace it? Sometimes we are so fixated of finding that new and unique idea that we miss out on the fact that we need to be open to the change that is right in front of us. So, how well do you adapt to new things?

Let me ask you, how have you responded to this season?

  • Have you embraced the change that was thrust upon us in COVID-19?

  • Has this time allowed you to flourished and grow, or have you struggled under the unpredictable amount of change?

  • Have you been an old wineskin feeling like you’re going to burst?

  • Have you had the flexibility and capacity of a new wineskin to take on this new ‘normal’?

The new wineskin story is speaking to our ability to hear God, sense what He is saying and be encouraged to move in it. It may not be a radical earth-shaking change in our lives. It may be something small and seemingly insignificant, but are we willing to be open to doing it?

What type of wineskin are you? What have you learned about yourself in this unfamiliar season of change? How can you learn to live as a new wineskin with sensitivity and responsiveness to wherever God is leading you? How well do you adapt to new things?

Lord,

I want to be a new wineskin that is flexible and adaptable to whatever You want to do. Please help me to be able to adapt to new things, tune into You and grow in this area of my life. Amen

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