Before you were born . . . even before I created the world . . . I loved you (Ephesians 1:4). Loving you was not something I felt I had to do out of obligation. No, it was my heart’s desire to love you, and loving you brought me great joy (Ephesians 1:5). In fact, I loved you so much that I gave my Son so you could be completely free to love me (Ephesians 1:6–8).
Sin cannot and will never separate us. Nothing you have done or will ever do could take away my love from you . . . therefore, you and I can have a relationship with no barriers (Ephesians 3:12). No pretending. Nothing between you and me. You cannot lose me. Not even death can separate us (Romans 8:38).
The Use of New Wine in Old Wineskins
Jesus invited her to place her confidence in him and rest from her self-efforts, allowing the Holy Spirit to transform her heart from within. He brought her new wineskins to carry the covenant.
However, she clutched tightly to her old wineskins, afraid of change.
I must pour this new wine into my old wineskins, she thought. I will depend on Jesus, yes . . . and on myself.
Her mix of self-efforts and faith in Jesus gave her a false sense of security. She thought she could control her world . . . but she couldn’t. Eventually, her old wineskins burst, and her new wine spilled out.
Her life had not been easy. She had been wounded long before, but she had determined to survive—alone. I must be strong to protect myself from pain, she vowed, and that vow became her religion. She was so busy trying to be strong and shielding herself from grief that she didn’t give to Jesus what He truly desired: her pain.
- Her burdens.
- Her weakness.
- Her needs.
That is my story…can you relate?
“No one pours new wine into old wineskins. If he does, the wine will burst the skins, and both the wine and the wineskins will be ruined. No, he pours new wine into new wineskins” (Mark 2:22).
The old wineskins represent our efforts to be good enough to win God’s favor. To work things out on our own. To earn love by keeping the law. But the new wineskins represent the new approach by grace brought to us by Jesus and a new way of walking – by faith in his power.
The Healing of a Paralyzed Man
When, in the second chapter of Mark, the men lowered their paralytic friend through the ceiling to Jesus so that he could be healed, Jesus was impressed with their persistent faith—they proved that they would do whatever it took to bring their paralyzed friend to Jesus.
Walking by faith does not mean a lack of action or responsibility on our end. The men took action because of their faith in Jesus. Faith and action always walk hand in hand (James 2:14-26).
We intercept our insecurities through deeper intimacy with Jesus. And deeper intimacy inspires the trust to walk by faith.
We follow Jesus out of love.
We are connected to him through trust and love, not control.
As the Holy Spirit prompts us and we respond, we find ourselves moving away from self-sufficiency towards complete dependence on God. This movement towards him not only impacts our lives but also the lives around us.
We take hold of God’s purpose for our lives by being led by the Holy Spirit to become all he has created us to be. “I will put my Spirit in you and move you to follow my decrees.” (Ezekiel 36:27)
This is not a call to legalism or fixed formulas but an invitation to follow Jesus so that the greatest story—the gospel of Jesus Christ—can be told.
Nourish Scripture: Mark 2
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Blog written by Aliene Thompson. Aliene Thompson is the founder of Treasured Ministries and the Author of the Nourish Bible Study Series. © 2019 Treasured Ministries.