Switching Out The Wineskins

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. – Matthew 9:17

I greet you from my desire for newness in my life, a desire, I’m sure, that is shared among many of you. I find that most of the time when I am struggling to achieve newness, the struggle is borne out of just that: the “achievement mentality,” woven into the fabric of everyday life, but especially, life here in New York City.

The other day, I was walking in the Financial District and was bombarded with evidence of how Man seeks to build his dynasty of power, money, wealth, and yet how futile this pursuit is, how short life is, and how sad some people are who are caught up in this great lie of earthly success as the end-all, be-all goal of life.  This lie can be very subtly breathed in, as some seek to develop an intellectual prowess and are less concerned about money, but nevertheless, more concerned about their own mind as their instrument to wield their contribution to an intellectual lineage.  This, too, emulates how Man seeks to build a personal dynasty or legacy.

The truth, however, is that Jesus already won for us all that is worth winning; He has already achieved all that is worth achieving. Humility is the answer to a floundering achievement mentality, and sometimes, it’s better for us to fail so that we are not pushed onwards by bread that will not ultimately satisfy.

But dear sisters, how fortunate are we, that in the midst of our desire, our hunger for new things, we have access to Christ, He Who is “before all things,” and “holds all things together”? And by the way, “all things” includes every nanosecond of your day, every hurt hidden in you, everything you have yet to encounter in your life – in Jesus, the entirety of your life is held together.

Your life now is not separated from your eternal life; it is  not held together by accomplishments or any feeling or perception of security, no matter how apparent. Life in the Spirit is held together and made whole, into a greater and greater likeness of Jesus, in whom “all the fullness was pleased to dwell,” by Jesus.

And YOU are part of this “fullness.” Your life, at this very moment of reading, can be part of God’s fullness.

But how often are we not convinced? How often are our hearts dull, content with bread that only intensifies our attention to very immediate hunger pangs?

This is not a passive process, however; it requires courage and steadfast faith amidst the pain of stretching to new heights of love.

Lord, soften our hearts; create in us new wineskins for the new wine You wish to pour into us. Make us aware of the hunger You have instilled in us, the hunger that seeks nourishment only You can satisfy.

Alyssa I. Pintar Breen is a wife, a daughter, and a student of the Holy Spirit firstly, but also, a doctoral student of developmental psychology at NYU. She blogs weekly at forthechurchmilitant.wordpress.com

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