The best wine is not the new, but rather the old—that which has been perfected through the careful aging process. But, one must realize, like any product, before the wine can become old, it must be new at some point.
Jesus said strange things sometimes—concepts I have yet to understand—camels and needles, broods of vipers, wine and wineskins. The wine and wineskins has been one that has always really puzzled me until just recently. In Matthew 9, the disciples question Him as to why the Pharisees fasted and the 12 of them didn’t. Then He throws out this statement: “Neither do men put new wine into old bottles; else the bottles break, and the wine runneth out and the bottles perish: but they put new wine into new bottles, and both are preserved.”
This analogy can be interpreted several ways. One of the most popular is the viewpoint of new, charismatic Christians infiltrating the traditions of the old church. While this is certainly an interpretation that is worthy of thought, for the purposes of this article, I want to leave this point of view alone and examine how the old and young must be incorporated in our personal walks with God.
A 10-year-old bottle of wine is not preserved the way a 1-year-old bottle of wine is preserved. With age, the bottle is considered more exquisite and rich. Those who have been following Christ for a while can be likened to an old bottle of wine. While the old wine—the past concepts we have learned in Christ—is settling and becoming delicately flavored for others’ consumption, God desires to pour new wine into us. The only problem, as this verse says, is that He can’t pour new wine into us until the old wineskins are replaced.
Have you ever tried to zip up your tightest pair of jeans the day after Thanksgiving? Unless you were actually playing a football game instead of watching one as your turkey meal settled in your stomach, you probably had some difficulty fitting into them. It’s the same concept here. You’re not the same size spiritually that you were two years ago. In fact, if you’re truly growing in Christ, you’re not the same size spiritually that you were yesterday. But so many of us try to cram new wine into the same container we’ve had for years.
In order to fully contain all the new spiritual concepts we’re learning, we have to fully digest all of our old wine first. You’re no longer the little kid memorizing John 3:16 in Sunday school, nor are you the adult who just realized the full incredibility of grace. You are all of those concepts that you have ever learned in one vessel. You are a new creation every day, a different culmination daily of the various truths He’s pouring into you.
Let us awaken each morning with a full understanding that we are new creations each day: different than we were the day before because of the fresh things we learned in Him yesterday. When we truly understand who this vessel is, that the new wine is being poured into, we’ll be able to contain every new truth that comes our way. But if we don’t take the time to replace the old wineskins with the new each day, the fresh contents will be spilled—creating a mess before these truths even become a part of us.[Lindsay Goodier is finishing up her senior year at Oral Roberts University in Tulsa, Okla.]