Discipleship Means Changing Your Life

Jesus tells a story, actually an analogy, about wineskins and new wine. He said that you put new wine in new wineskins and old wine in old wineskins. If you put new wine that is still fermenting and therefore expanding into old wineskins that are stiff and fragile, then the skin will break and all will be lost.

He was talking about his message as the new wine. If he talked to people who were set in their ways and unwilling to change, then the message would not have any effect and all would be lost.

If the message entered people who were fresh and new and receptive to it, then they would grow with the message and the message (fresh wine) would be useful.

Parables, or stories, are almost always about people and their relationship to the message Jesus was teaching. This teaching is an important life lesson–even for us older people.

It is actually possible for us to age, yet remain fresh and receptive in our outlooks. We can try to remain open to new facts, experiences, knowledge. Even as we grow, we can continue to be mentally and spiritually fresh. Or, we can become rigid in our beliefs, unable to accept new ideas. Then the message will lose its impact and we are in danger of becoming Jesus’ enemies–the Pharisees. These are the people who put laws ahead of love; put knowledge ahead of spirit; put ritual actions above living out God’s will.

One of the reasons to practice Spiritual Disciplines is to find ways to remain fresh and receptive to God’s message. Daily prayer, meditation, study and service help us to live God’s message as a part of our daily lives. Not because there is some law that orders us to do certain things. But because we are living with Jesus every moment.

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