So, the pink trees that line the streets are lifting my spirits and giving me pause. It’s almost been two years now here in the Northwest. Two years isn’t very long, but long enough to have a sense of the area’s changes. In my busyness and also lack of walking my dog, I may have missed these trees last year. So, here they are in their pink petal parade.
I’ve been here long enough also to know and even look forward the array of petals that will cover the streets rivaling any towns after-party confetti. But, first things first.
This morning, though I didn’t get out of bed, I was awakened with thoughts of and prayers for people and in my laziness I feel that I had been given a message that I wish to write here. The message isn’t new or shouldn’t be to people who call themselves Christian, but alas, here it is. The scripture that came to me last week or perhaps two weeks ago is this:
Matthew 9:17 (NIV)
Neither do men pour wine into old wineskins. If they do the skins will burst, the wine will run out and the wineskins will be ruined. No, they pour new wine into new wineskins, and both are preserved.”
Now, this revelation was given to me to guide me, mold me, change me in many ways, but it has also challenged me a great deal.
So how this scripture has helped me is that it’s helping me to leave behind the “old wine” or the past. This is harder said than done because of the heart. My heart is wounded as hearts often are. My heart has a large wound that over time became a rancid, infectious, frankly stinking wound. It became so large that it was hard to ignore. It was hard to live life in the “new wine”. Just being given a “word” is in itself awesome and praise God that He gives. But, he doesn’t just give it to us to add to our knowledge. He wants us to do what it says. “Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says.”James 1:22
For some of us, it’s hard to do what the word says; most especially for those of us that have an ax to grind. I looked up the meaning of this phrase and it fit, “Have a dispute to take up with someone or, to have an ulterior motive/ to have private ends to serve.”
Many of us have an ax to grind, we sharpen it daily, carry it daily, and keep it at the ready to strike at the individual, organization, group, or object that offends or has offended us. When we have an ax to grind and use it and actually live by it, then we’re back to the old wine skin. We are failing to live in the spiritual reality of the new wine. The new wine is Jesus. It’s what He suffered and died for. We ignore this every time we take matters into our own hands.
Some of us having knowledge of the new wine, subconsciously still live by the old wine because of our wounds. Because we’re not completely healed, the wound takes over when it is rubbed on, reminded of, spoken of, etc. This cannot be! If we go back to the scripture, we see that when it does occur, the pouring of new wine into old skins that the wine just spills out and both are ruined. No, the new wine must be poured into a new vessel. The new wineskin that Jesus won for us is found at the cross. Jesus bore our sin. Jesus took the fall, the wrath that our enemies deserved, that we ourselves deserve.
Until we see and understand what it is that Jesus did on that cross long ago, we won’t be able to let it go. This is fundamental to anyone who claims to be a Christian. We are all wounded, hurt, sinned against and sinners. There is no one that is good. We are capable of all kinds of sin, but we are all called upon by the love of Jesus. Where can we find Jesus? Usually He is found is the ugliness of our lives, the darkness, the lonely parts, the shameful parts of our lives. This is also where He is with outstretched, nail scarred loving hand. His hand is extended to pull us out of the mire. He is the light in that darkness.
For now, that is all I want to say (preach). I will come back to this, but it came to me and I wanted it to pour forth. The revelation of the new wine that is.