Are you being stretched by the new?

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grapes

When it comes to really old stuff, there are two kinds of people, those who love antiques and those who don’t. Which are you?

Admittedly, this certainly isn’t that big of a deal in the grand scheme of things.

Feeding the hungry matters more.

Clean water for the billions who don’t have it matters more.

Putting an end to sex trafficking matters more.

Antique Sign

Antiques are cool (guess you know which group I’m in), but they’re still just temporary things destined for eventual destruction.

Something struck me today while reading this passage: “No one pours new wine into old leather wineskins; otherwise, the wine would burst the wineskins and the wine would be lost and the wineskins destroyed. But new wine is for new wineskins” Mark 2:22 (CEB).

Apparently, God is more into the new.

It’s not that the old is evil, but just because it’s old doesn’t make it sacred.

wineskins old new

The religious men Jesus first spoke these words to in Mark believed their spiritual practices and traditions were above all. Regular fasting (with an audience) and all of their Sabbath customs mattered more to them than truly loving God and loving people. In fact, Jesus scolded these supposedly holy men by telling them, “The Sabbath was created for humans; humans weren’t created for the Sabbath” Mark 2:27 (CEB).

God always puts people first. Rather than things or customs or traditions…being fresh and fully alive matters more to Him, and evidently the Father loves the new.

In Lamentations 3:22-23 it says, “God’s mercies are new every morning.”

Jesus said in John 13:34, “A new command I give to you: Love one another.”

The Apostle Paul called our life as believers “a new way of the Spirit” Romans 7:6 (CEB).

Perhaps the best news of all is that we can become new in Christ. Again, Paul wrote, “…if anyone is in Christ, that person is part of the new creation. The old things have gone away, and look, new things have arrived!” 2 Corinthians 5:17 (CEB).

Let’s be honest, some of us hold on to our old ways, our traditions, and the familiar with a death grip. We get terribly frustrated when something we hold dear is altered.

“Why didn’t the pastor read the Christmas story from the King James? It’s so much more poetic!”

“Live drama in church is way more effective than one-dimensional videos.”

“I prefer taking communion from a common cup rather than those cheesy plastic ones we use now.”

“That worship leader had the audacity to change my favorite Christmas hymn to be more contemporary. What’s wrong with the way we’ve always done it?”

death grip wire

Here’s my gentle push-back…

Maybe there’s nothing wrong with the old, but it’s good to be stretched by the new?

Maybe something fresh keeps us fresher?

Maybe we should zoom out and see the bigger picture? Is the new way more effective? Does the new approach connect better with our rapidly changing culture? Is there really anything wrong with new and different rather than the old and familiar?

Let me go on record: I have no beef with the old (I am, after all, much older than I used to be). I have my own favorite traditions, too. I understand.

grumpy old large

But I’d rather grow old and stay flexible than grow old and become rigid. It seems that there’s something inherent in the new that keeps me humble and dependent on God. The new does stretch me, and if I’m not careful, my old wineskins might burst.

The solution?

I ask God to keep my heart new. On a regular basis, I ask Him to help me embrace the new with a different and better attitude. I’ve determined to renew my mind daily so that His new wine has room to expand in my life.

The alternative is messy.

So let’s embrace the New Year, new challenges and new opportunities, and God’s “new wine” in the months to come. Rather than fight for our comfort zone, let’s accept this reality: New might be hard, but if it keeps us growing and becoming more like Jesus, it’s good.

Antique Typewriter

I’m not rejecting the old. I still love antiques and my sometimes-antique ways. But I’ve come to learn that I follow a creative Creator who is constantly calling me to something fresh, something innovative, and something new.

How about you?

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11 Responses to Are you being stretched by the new?

  1. I enjoy antiques we can actually use and white gold goblets that don’t absorb bacteria like those dinky plastic cups. :)Traditional forms of poetry often show more care and poetic flair than the prose poems I sometimes write to exercise other aspects of creativity and to stay attuned to the literary world. We’re a sensory people! And I wonder if eclectic tastes reflect spiritual tendencies too. May God help us in the coming year to loosen our hold where needed and keep us open to Christ’s ongoing presence in our lives.

  2. I, too, love the old stuff — just look at my closets. Here’s what I’d like to see. Jesus came not to do away with the Law, but to fulfill it. Let’s not throw out the old stuff that is truly good, like hymns, psalms and spiritual songs, live drama, old noels. Let’s just embrace the new that is truly good, and be ready, as with the old, to send the new stuff that is only new, not necessarily good, to the Goodwill along with that old junk that is someone else’s treasure.
    Thanks, Kurt, for bringing this up. It’s something I’m dealing with right now. [Something with which I am dealing?]
    Dan

  3. Thank you so much. Been holding on to the past and so much of it that’s it was making me very bitter and depressed. I didn’t even think about anything new or even feel I was worthy. Thank you again for reminding me everyday is new just as his forgiveness is daily. That just maybe I’m worthy and God has something wonderful in store for me and my life.

  4. I have heard it said that if one waits long enough, the old becomes new again. Changing the cadence and presentation of a song does not alter its meaning. Refurbishing something old does not alter the fact that it is still usable AND old. Appreciating the intrinsic value of “things” does not alter the fact that they are still things. Reading old words, from an old Bible does not alter the fact that they are the LIVING WORDS OF GOD, meant for us to ponder and live out. Old, new, continuous upgrading or degrading to suit our needs. We live until we die, then as God promised, we spend eternity with Him. He has lived forever, so when we get to be new, we will be old beyond measure. And, it will feel GREAT!!! Thanks again Kurt for your wisdom, and insight, and thought provoking commentary!!!

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