Lord, I don’t want to hang onto my way of doing things
if it means I can’t understand and apply Your truths.
Help me abandon my old thoughts and traditions,
so I can, by faith, embrace Your wisdom and ways.
Series: “Eyes to See and Ears to Hear”
Have you ever been so convinced you are “right” about a matter and present a passionate argument…only to discover you were completely “wrong”? We are intelligent beings, each with a plethora of experiences. However, not one of us is always right about everything.
Not one of us likes to admit we’re wrong. It’s quite humbling to have to eat our own words and adjust an established mindset. Even more challenging is to abolish traditions passed through generations. But if traditions become a prison of closed-minded, rote requirements, allowing no freedom for new ideas and wisdom, then those practices must be reevaluated and perhaps dismissed.
The parable Jesus taught in Matthew 9:14-17 addressed this very matter:
“Then the disciples of John came to Him, saying, ‘Why do we and the Pharisees fast, but Your disciples do not fast?’ And Jesus said to them, ‘Can the wedding guests mourn as long as the Bridegroom is with them? The days will come when the Bridegroom is taken away from them, and then they will fast. No one puts a piece of unshrunk cloth on an old garment, for the patch tears away from the garment, and a worse tear is made. Neither is new wine put into old wineskins. If it is, the skins burst and the wine is spilled and the skins are destroyed. But new wine is put into fresh wineskins, and so both are preserved.'”
This parable teaches that an old mindset cannot embrace a new reality. What was understood as truth before was no longer the prevailing fullness of truth. The old was passing away, and Jesus was in the process of making all things new.
The disciples of John and the Pharisees challenged Jesus and His disciples due to their lack of fasting. However, as Jesus explained, His disciples didn’t need to adhere to the traditions of the law, as taught in the Old Testament, because they now were in the presence of the Bridegroom – Jesus – the Messiah. In His presence is fullness of joy, perfect peace, and unfailing love.
Jesus, in Matthew 5:17, explained He did not come to do away with the law, but He came to accomplish it – to fulfill it – because we are unable to fulfill the law. The Old Testament detailed the rules to live a holy life. But Jesus came to fulfill those requirements for us. The New Testament is a “better covenant, based on better promises” (Hebrews 8:6).
The new cloth cannot “patch” the old garment. The new revelation cannot piece together the old traditions. The better promises Jesus provided cannot be conjoined with our rote works. Simultaneously, new wine cannot be poured into old wineskins. New revelation will burst the old traditions. New life in Christ will destroy the works of the flesh.
We are saved by grace through faith, and not by works. All who believe upon Jesus become new creations as the Holy Spirit births spiritual life in the believers. These truths were new – radical – revolutionary. The Pharisees, disciples of John, and surely many others, struggled with understanding and believing upon Jesus and His teachings.
Have you clung to old thoughts and traditions? Have you carried them into this new year – simply because they’re so familiar? Are you immovable in your “right” ways, refusing to allow new revelation to transform you? Let’s ask God to renew our minds, to birth new life in us through the power of the Holy Spirit, and to lead us into all truth. Let’s do away with the old and embrace the new He has for us – for Jesus truly does make all things new!
Holding Fast to Hope,
Scripture References: Matthew 9:14-17; Mark 2:18-22; Luke 5:33-38; 2 Corinthians 5:17; Hebrews 8:6; Romans 3:19-31; Ephesians 2:8; John 3:1-8; Revelation 21:5