Saturday, July 5, 2014

“To live is to change"

Where people are on their own and live by their own devices, there is only the old, the past.” – C.S. Lewis

Gospel Text: (MT 9:14-17)
The disciples of John approached Jesus and said,
“Why do we and the Pharisees fast much,
but your disciples do not fast?”
Jesus answered 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 patches an old cloak with a piece of unshrunken cloth,
for its fullness pulls away from the cloak and the tear gets worse.
People do not put new wine into old wineskins.
Otherwise the skins burst, the wine spills out, and the skins are ruined.
Rather, they pour new wine into fresh wineskins, and both are preserved.”

So what do these images mean for us? Here are two ways to reflect on their practical implications.

Sometimes you have to leave good things behind. When James and John chose to follow Jesus, they left their father sitting alone in the family boat (Matthew 4:21-22). They couldn’t be both fishers of men and fishers of fish. Something to ponder, if you’re facing a major life change. Or perhaps the Lord is inviting you to begin some new activity or responsibility. Can you accept without relinquishing some of the good things you’re already doing? Maybe not. You can’t always have it all—not without coming apart at the seams.

Always, leave behind the bad. Behaviors that violate the commandments are never compatible with Jesus’ new way of living. Just a little gossip, porn, or shoplifting? Never! Your only option is to declare all-out war on these sins and never make peace with them—even if you fall seven times a day. As you resist, you will receive grace to “put away the old self of your former way of life” and “put on the new self, created in God’s way in righteousness and holiness of truth” (Ephesians 4:22, 24).

Like the old cloth and wineskin, “our old ways” became inadequate when we aspire to live a Christ-like life. If we permit Him, God will do something new with us, not just “patching up” our way of life but totally transforming it, and that requires a wholehearted response.

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