New Wineskins: Making Way for New Wine

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The Lord said, through the prophet Joel, "Here! I am sending you grain, new wine, and oil" (Joel 2:19b). A grain has to die so that new grain can spring up. (See John 12:24.)

For our vats to be full of new wine and oil, the old has to be emptied out. We have to let go of the old nature, the old ways, to have the new things God has in store for us. We must let go even of the good, so we can have that which is better.

When God begins to pour out His Spirit upon us, often He begins to shake up our lives so that the things that can be shaken fall down, and the things that cannot be shaken are left standing. God begins to fill us with a new perception of things, a new way of thinking, a new attitude and a new character.

When that process is complete, He is able to pour out His Spirit because He can trust us to be vessels He can fill with His power.

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God took the children of Israel out of Egypt, but before they could enter the promised land, He had to take Egypt out of them. When we go through the wilderness experiences of life, God deals with the sins of Egypt that still reside in our hearts.

When we seek God's face and cry out to Him for personal revival, He will begin to reveal our false beliefs, areas of disobedience and bad attitudes.

He removes old ways and teaches us His ways. He uproots the remnants of the old nature and shows us the things that need to die. As we trust Him to do this work, transformation begins. We become ready for the new grain, the new wine, and the new oil.

God has been transforming us into His image since the day we accepted Christ. He wants the old nature crucified so that we can fulfill His purposes upon the earth. Paul encourages us, "Therefore, if any man is in Christ, he is a new creature. Old things have passed away. Look, all things have become new" (2 Cor. 5:17).

When we come to the cross of Christ, we come to a place of death—death to self. Our old nature is buried, so we can rise up in newness to an abundant life in Christ.

But to receive the newness God desires for us, we have to die to the past. Wheat seed planted dies before sprouting and producing a crop. Old wineskins have to go. Old oil must be poured out, so He can bless us with new oil. "Look, all things have become new" is God's desire. We cannot bypass the death process.

The apostle Paul said, "Therefore put to death the parts of your earthly nature: sexual immorality, uncleanness, inordinate affection, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry" (Col. 3:5).

Why should we put such things to death? Because holding on to them means denying Christ's lordship in those areas of our lives.

Paul goes on to warn, "Because of these things, the wrath of God comes on the sons of disobedience" (Col. 3:6). Let's not be found to be disobedient children, even though we might have been in the past. And let us not merely settle for external or cosmetic righteousness, for Paul continues, "But now you must also put away all these: anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, and filthy language out of your mouth" (Col. 3:8). After dealing with overt sins in the previous verses, Paul emphasizes that God also wants to deal with anger and other matters of the heart.

All Things Become New

In the death and renewal process, first the outward sins are cleansed, and then He begins to deal with us about matters of the heart—our thoughts, attitudes and words. We are in a spiritual battle, but it is not only against satanic principalities and powers. The battle begins in our minds:

2 Corinthians 10:3-6 reads:

For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh. For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strongholds, casting down imaginations and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ, and being ready to punish all disobedience when your obedience is complete.

God wants to take us to an intimate place of relationship with Him. He wants to show us His manifest presence and glory. He wants to show us great and awesome things and use us to reach our generation. Will we become vessels into which He can pour His Spirit? Will we be vessels of honor into which He can deposit His power for His purpose?

God wants us to die to our flesh and embrace truth, loving it even more than life itself, because He has more for us. He wants to move through us by His Spirit and bring multitudes into His kingdom. He is preparing hearts now for an outpouring of His Spirit. If the world around us is going to change, the change must begin with us.

Extrapolated from Mending the Net by Doug Stringer.

Doug Stringer is founder and president of Somebody Cares America and Somebody Cares International, a global network bringing hope and healing to communities through prayer initiatives, compassion outreaches and cooperative efforts. He is the author of numerous books, including In Search of a Father's Blessing and Leadership Awakening: Foundational Principles for Lasting Success.

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