Day 69 – Inertia
On: January 8, 2015   |   By: admin   |   Under: Blog   |   Comments: Comments are off

They said to him, “John’s disciples often fast and pray, and so do the disciples of the Pharisees, but yours go on eating and drinking.” Jesus answered, “Can you make the friends of the bridegroom fast while he is with them? But the time will come when the bridegroom will be taken from them; in those days they will fast.” He told them this parable: “No one tears a piece out of a new garment to patch an old one. Otherwise, they will have torn the new garment, and the patch from the new will not match the old. And 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. No, new wine must be poured into new wineskins. And no one after drinking old wine wants the new, for they say, ‘The old is better.’” [Luke 5:33-39]

All of us have a tendency to get settled in our ways. None more so, than religious people. I can only speak from a Christian perspective (and biblical Jewish behaviour seems to be similar), but this seems, at least partly, to be due to the fact that we march to the tune of an unseen master, our orders based on historic revelation. If that’s too obscure, God the Father is our the historic revealer, through the teaching of the Bible, and God the Son, Jesus, is our unseen master, Who walked this Earth to show us the way to the Father. Without fresh input, we will always be inclined to work out what this means for us and then trudge along on an increasingly familiar path.

For the Pharisees and teachers of the Law, the examples of fasting and prayer are referred to. Nothing wrong with either of these, I am sure most of us would do well to do more of both. However, where we become rigid and fail to see where God is doing a new thing (in addition, in this case), we risk finding ourselves criticising those who are moving on a different path.

Jesus uses the imagery of compatibility. New cloth patching a old garment won’t work – it will rip. New wine into old wineskins won’t work – it will burst. I’m not a theologian, but I would say that the cloth picture alludes to the fact that it is not our sacrifices that make us right with God (Old Testament practice), rather the humble acceptance of Jesus’ sacrifice for us on the cross. And the new wine? Surely this is the outpouring of the Holy Spirit, Who will both open our eyes to see where others are moving in a new direction, and lead us on  new paths ourselves.

Inertia is hard to shift! It can leave all of us comfortable, but going nowhere. God is always doing a new thing. If we want to be walking in the way of the One who broke the mould, why not join me in asking the Holy Spirit for a fresh outpouring, that we might rise up and step out where Jesus would lead us today – in the footsteps of the King.

See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland [Isaiah 43:19]

Prayer:

Holy Spirit, come, fill me afresh, bring me alive, that I might perceive the new thing you are doing in this day. Empower me to step out and show a new way through the wilderness of a lost world and to be a channel of refreshing water in a spiritually barren land. Amen.

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