21 “No one sews a patch of unshrunk cloth on an old garment. Otherwise, the new piece will pull away from the old, making the tear worse. 22 And no one pours new wine into old wineskins. Otherwise, the wine will burst the skins, and both the wine and the wineskins will be ruined. No, they pour new wine into new wineskins.”– Mark 2:21, 22 NIV
It’s that time again, the time when we make all those resolutions to do better and be better. The gyms will be full of those determined to slim down and/or bulk up. The sales of salads will probably be at their annual high. Some might even venture so far as to read a good book and do a daily good deed. The flames of love and hope are burning brightly. But then, a few weeks later, the moaning and the groaning will start. The weight is not coming off as the diet plan promised, the muscles aren’t noticeably bigger, they are just sore, I just haven’t had the time to finish that book and nobody even notices when I do a good deed. A few more weeks later and it’s “I weigh more than I did before I started.” (Believe me, I know that feeling). Those programs just don’t work for me. Why are these failures so prevalent? Because the flesh is strong and has strong desires that we, as humans, are not equipped to defeat. How many times did I eat things that weren’t on the diet? How many mornings did I sleep in rather than go to the gym or spend a few minutes reading that book? How many times did I fail to do a good deed to someone who was really in need and not a neighbor or a friend? The problem is that we are focused on externals rather than internals. The changes have to come from the inside out. To win the war, we have to lose the battle. We have to get to the point that we say to God, “I can’t but you can.” Allow God to make the internal changes and He will direct you in the externals. Otherwise, the patches tear off and the wineskins burst. Don’t gloss over the old self, get rid of it and start anew with Jesus.