Happy New Year! Welcome 2017! You have no doubt made some New Year’s Resolutions! What are they?
Lose some weight?
Laugh more and yell less?
Study God’s Word more?
By the way, NONE of those are mine, just randomly chosen popular resolutions. (Stop looking at me that way!)
How many years have you made resolutions that were broken by January’s end? I know for myself, it’s has been more often than not. Once I break my resolution I give up and think “what’s the point”. And before long, I’m already back to my old habits.
Just a few months ago, Jabez was spitting whenever he was frustrated. I couldn’t stand it. I would speak firmly to him, put my hand or fingers on his mouth and tell him no, I would distract, and on occasion, I would swat him for it, but it didn’t help, it just got worse. I felt as if I was failing as a parent.
But, as his language further developed and he matured, it disappeared as quickly as it appeared. My theory is that he wasn’t ready to learn that discipline because he was too young, too immature, but he figured it out once he was able.
Three of the four gospels quote Jesus as saying “no one pours new wine into old wineskins. Otherwise, the new wine will burst the skins; the wine will run out and the wineskins will be ruined.” (Luke 5:37, Matthew 9:17, Mark 2:22).
I believe that a lot of times we try to put new habits, new disciplines, and new practices into old wineskins. By old wineskins I mean old mindsets, old heart conditions, old mentalities.
We tend to allow ourselves to get into “old ways” by our experiences. Perhaps you’ve been hurt, so you’re not trusting, but you’re trying to develop new relationships. Or maybe you struggle with depression and use money as a way to self-medicate, but you’re trying to save money. Or maybe you struggle with anxiety and it’s displayed in controlling and yelling, but you’re trying to yell less. And yet, you keep feeling like a failure. Just like my little son, we are often simply not ready to learn new things.
We are unable to do NEW things, until we resolve the OLD things. Until we are mentally, emotionally, and spiritually prepared to store up new wine, we will always find the old wineskin failing us.
I encourage each of you (I’m looking in the mirror, here), to ask the Lord to make all things new in your life before you try undertaking new disciplines. Instead of a new year’s resolution, I encourage you to resolve old years’ issues instead.
Gracious Father, help each of us as we turn over old anxieties, hang ups and issues and work to transform our hearts and minds to be able to contain the new wine you want to pour into us. Thank you, Lord!