Bible Reading: Matthew 9:14-31
When I was in Secondary school, there were quite a lot of parties that the guys would organise. Dressing to the parties was always a very big deal. I mean, people would go as far as selling out of sight items in their houses to buy ‘baffs’- items like a pumping machine that is not often used or the battery or headlines of a car that has been parked for a bit. Such was the desperation. Being a school where there were really rich kids, and also a number of my-parents-struggling-to-keep—me-in-school kids, the economic disparity among the kids was sometimes very prominent and evident in things like this.
The backlash of this left different kind of kids. Kids like myself who would claim a moral distaste for parties and would not show up for them. Truth be told though, it wasn’t so much any moral stand against parties, as much as it was not having anything to wear to them. But there were the kids who though they didn’t have, couldn’t bear missing the fun of the parties. Some would simply go around borrowing various clothing items around the neighbourhood. I remember seeing a particular guy coming back from a party and he was going into his own house with was his underwear! That was a quick win, but the biggest challenge with it was getting your size. You’d see that guy dancing in a party with a shirt that is a little too tight on him and really doesn’t even give him the freedom to express- worst of all though, he must be extremely careful because the shirt mustn’t tear. Or you’d see the visible discomfort as someone is struggling to keep his feet rhythms in a shoe that is obviously too tight on the feet.
How do you read Jesus teaching about new wine and new wine skin? I think he is simply inviting us to have wineskin that is the ‘size’- or is a good match- for the wine that we have. Don’t try and squeeze or stuff your wine into an inappropriate container. Get the right size. That’s a real simple, but very profound principle. He goes on to state that if the wine skin doesn’t match up to the wine, then there’s going to be a loss of the wine.
Get the point?
We have to provide something that can properly hold what God pours into our lives. We can’t have God pouring a new blessing and a new wave and new opportunities into our lives and we’re handling it with the same framework of the things that are behind us. That way, we would lose the new that God is doing.
In meditation today, I invite you to be prayerfully thinking about whether or not you are constantly in the push of bringing up new wine skin for the new wine that God is bringing into your life. Think about it in these two simple handles:
A New Trust For New Heights
Is your heart becoming more and more trusting as you are seeing God elevate you to higher heights? Are you getting carried away by the heights rather than deliberately growing in trust? The truth is that it takes more trust to look down from a sky scraper, than to stand on a four step ladder. Both are heights and require trust, but not the same size.
You cannot afford to have ladder trust when God is calling you to a skyscraper season. You cannot be in battles against armies of nations and systems and approach it with a Sunday school like read-one-random-verse-a-day faith. It’s undersize!
A New Attitude For New Responsibility
God’s big goal in our lives is not just to see us win battles, but he is also concerned with how we win. What kind of person are you in the process of victory? He is big about how much of His character we reflect. God wants us to be growing in a Christ-like attitude and disposition. God wants us to be behaving like our faith more and more.
We cannot expect to be growing in God entrustment and shrinking in godliness.
We must grow our attitude to the level of what God is putting in our hands. I believe that as the seasons are unveiling new responsibilities in our lives from God, we must be in the constant work to be stronger in attitude and character- we must be better disciplined, we must be more compassionate, we must be more in control of our words and passions, we must be better stewards of our emotions, we must be more responsible and disciplined around social media, we must operate at a new level of excellence, and so on. If I’m believing God to make me a millionaire, my financial discipline must not be at the level of a ‘thousander’.
Do you have wine skin that properly sizes the wine that you’re believing for God to pour into your life? Do you notice that in our reading today, the two stories that follow typify this principle. Jesus wants to raise a girl back to life, and there’s a ridiculing crowd. That’s wrong size of faith and attitude. Jesus had to ‘set the crowd aside’ (Matthew 9:24-25). In the next story, Jesus outrightly asks the guys asking him for a healing, ‘is your faith the size of what you’re asking?’ (Matthew 9:28, My paraphrase)
I believe God is working a new season on us. If God calls it the new, we must behave like we believe it.