MARK 2:21-22: “No one sews a piece of unshrunk cloth on an old garment; or else the new piece pulls away from the old, and the tear is made worse. And no one puts new wine into old wineskins; or else the new wine bursts the wineskins, the wine is spilled, and the wineskins are ruined. But new wine must be put into new wineskins.” (NKJV)
OBSERVATION: Am I ready for change? Is my heart prepared for something new? Will I both receive and steward the grace and mercy of God wisely? These are questions that I am asking myself as I read these verses. All year long we have been praying for God’s mercy to be extended to America. We have asked the Lord to do something new in our land, and more importantly – in our hearts and lives. Christians have come together with one voice and one heart to pray for America. The biggest question we now face is – are we truly ready for change?
I believe the Lord truly wants to do something new in our hearts and lives. I am not speaking about policy changes in our government. I know there will be important changes that are proposed and implemented. However, my focus is on heart changes within the hearts and lives of His Church. Will we hear what the Spirit has been saying to us? Will we lay down the old, to embrace the new? Will we continue to change the way we think and act, or will we quickly return to old patterns?
Jesus made it very clear – new wine demands new wine skins! You cannot take the new and wrap it in the old. If we receive God’s mercy, only to slide back into our old way of life, we will become a torn garment and a leaking wine skin. We must be willing to allow God’s work of change to continue in our hearts and lives until we see the winds of revival blowing strongly through our land. There is still so much to be done, so many lives who need the Gospel, and the cry of justice that must be answered. It is only changed hearts, renewed hearts, transformed hearts, that will be able to both hear and answer this call!
So many times in the Old Testament Israel would cry out to God for deliverance. The Lord would send a deliverer. When the crisis was averted, the children of Israel would revert back to the patterns of behavior that were responsible for the situation for which they cried out for deliverance. It was a perpetual cycle. It was like a hamster running on a stationary wheel. Always running, but never going anywhere. The Church has been very much like this. We have become so much like the world that the only difference between light and darkness is the building in which it meets. We truly need to change!
Yet, change does not take place by pointing at all the flaws in everyone else. Change takes place when I take responsibility for my own hypocrisy. Change takes place when I allow the Lord to truly change the way I think and act. The goal in my life should always be to become more like Jesus. I cannot change the world, but I can surrender to the power of the Holy Spirit, appropriate the fullness of His Grace, and find true change in my heart and life. And the wonderful thing that I realize as I do – my changed life does change the world. When I live in the power of the Holy Spirit – it touches and transforms the world around me.
It truly is like the old song we used to sing in Sunday School – “It only takes a spark, to get a fire going…!”
Lord, let me be that spark! Let me lay down my old thoughts and patterns and begin to act and think the way You do. Transform me in Your Love. Fill we with Your Grace! May my life be a spark of love that truly helps to ignite a fire in our churches, in our nation, and in our world!
In Jesus Name!