Then Jesus gave them this illustration: “No one tears a piece of cloth from a new garment and uses it to patch an old garment. For then the new garment would be ruined, and the new patch wouldn’t even match the old garment.
“And no one puts new wine into old wineskins. For the new wine would burst the wineskins, spilling the wine and ruining the skins. New wine must be stored in new wineskins. But no one who drinks the old wine seems to want the new wine. ‘The old is just fine,’ they say.” Luke 5:36-39
For over two hours I tore the house from top to bottom looking for it. No luck. In the midst of my frantic searching, I asked my wife Jenn if she’d seen my beloved Baltimore Orioles hat. She hesitated and then fessed up, “It was disgusting…and I threw it away.”
“You did WHAT!?!!” How dare she toss my cherished cap into the garbage? Over the years I managed to make it fit perfectly around my big noggin. I wore it so much, it became part of my everyday wardrobe. I loved it, Jenn despised it, and for good reason. I had gone “nose blind” to its musty smell, sweat ring, holes, rips, and tears. The reality is the hat was disintegrating right before my eyes, but I didn’t have the heart to give it up.
It’s funny the random stuff we’ll cling on to and won’t let go. Sometimes it is material possessions like my hat, but often it can be things of the past that have the power to destroy our heart and debilitate our faith.
Negative self-talk. An unwillingness to forgive. Destructive behaviors. Shame. Guilt. Mistakes. Regrets. Hidden sin.
Many of us have held on to this baggage for such a long time that it’s become part of our identity. We wouldn’t know ourselves without it. Over the years we’ve learned to live with it. Everyone see the damage created by our clenched fists; everyone except for us.
Without even realizing it, clinging to the past is influencing our present and determining our future. When things get familiar, we get comfortable, even if it is hurting us in the end. We like comfortable and we don’t tolerate disruptions to our routine very well. Our desire for the predictable past often outweighs our hope for the potential of the future. We settle for the beast we know rather than displaying faith and trusting in a better future.
Embracing the new isn’t something that comes naturally to us. Change breeds fear. The more anxious we feel about change, the more we fear the future. The more we fear the future, the harder we hold onto the past. Yet, the only way to embrace the new thing God is doing in our heart, mind, and soul is to let go of the old. Loosen your grip today.
- What things of the past are you unwilling to let go of and release? Why do you cling to them?
- What would it look like to drop this baggage?
God, I can’t change the past. The only place I can display faith is right now. And today, I will do so. My past has weighed me down for far too long. I don’t want to carry that burden any longer. I’m letting go of the past and embracing a better future centered on You and Your love. In Your name, Jesus. Amen.