Friday, December 28, 2012

Cheers to the new wineskin

As we look forward to the coming year, “striving for a better marriage” is likely to appear on your resolution list. We must keep in mind that any resolution without revelation will result in delusion and frustration.  If we try to “do better” at anything in the flesh, we will fizzle out and fail.
The secret to achieving any goal that we desire is found in Luke 5:37-39:                        
37 And no one puts new wine into old wineskins; or else the new wine will burst the wineskins and be spilled, and the wineskins will be ruined. 38 But new wine must be put into new wineskins, and both are preserved. 39 And no one, having drunk old wine, immediately desires new; for he says the old is better.”
Understanding the revelation of the new covenant- In Luke 5:33, the Pharisees had questioned Jesus about fasting. “Then they said to Him, “Why do the disciples of John fast often and make prayers, and likewise those of the Pharisees, but Yours eat and drink?” In verse 34, Jesus responded, “And He said to them, “Can you make the friends of the bridegroom fast while the bridegroom is with them?
Jesus wanted to differentiate between the old and the new covenant. Instead of responding to this isolated thought, He addressed the source of their thinking. The Pharisees were still operating under the old covenant, observing the law for the sake of the law. His illustration invited them to experience a paradigm shift. If we seek the face of our bridegroom, the law will be overshadowed by the presence of love.  
We must not view our marriage as a “to do” or “not to do” list for we will fall into the snare of legalism. We will inevitably hurt each other through the magnification of our flaws and shortcomings. However, if we seek the heart of our spouse, we will naturally want to do the things that please him or her. Change your perspective to loving your spouse and the little things will automatically fall into place.
Embracing an attitude of change through humility- Luke 5:39 illuminates the source of strongholds: “And no one having drunk the old wine, immediately desires new; for he says the old is better.” In order for meaningful change to take place there has to be a recognition that the old way of thinking is no longer working. Examine your heart for areas of stubbornness, old habits, and stale routines. In doing so, you must be careful to not to criticize your spouse, but rather ask God to examine your own heart. Pray Psalms 23-24 over your soul, “23 Search me, O God, and know my heart; Try me, and know my anxieties; 24 And see if there is any wicked way in me, And lead me in the way everlasting.”
Unfortunately, some of the happiest memories couples have are contained in the honeymoon period. Although on the surface, this does not appear enigmatic, but it actually reflects the truth of Luke 5:39.  If we believe that the happiest days are behind us, we believe the “old wine” is better. We must desire the “new wine” that God has for our marriage. The desire will come when we believe the truth of God’s promise. Isaiah 43:19 says, “Behold, I will do a new thing, Now it shall spring forth; Shall you not know it? I will even make a road in the wilderness and rivers in the desert.”
Ask God to “Catch the Foxes”- Song of Solomon 2:15 says, “Catch us the foxes, The little foxes that spoil the vines, For our vines have tender grapes.” The enemy knows your areas of weakness and will try to ruin the fruit that is blossoming in your marriage. Ask the LORD to catch the foxes that are designed to nibble at the fruit of the Spirit that is growing in you—love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, and faithfulness. It is often the “little” things—worry, aggravation, and annoyances that try to eat away at our soul. Let God catch them for you this year.






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