I Kings 18:30-39
I Corinthians 6:9-19
I Peter 2:1-10
Last year, my family got together to do some work on my parent’s land. They have nearly 40 acres and most of it is registered with the US Department of Agriculture’s Farm Service Agency. It is in a land conservation program prohibiting it from being farmed for 10 years. However, the land has to be maintained, especially from encroaching trees. Our task last year was to clear some trees that had sprouted up on the land that needed to be maintained. The stretch to be dealt with also has some pretty thick brush and bramble that can easily hid critters and snakes. Needless to say, you need to take precautions when you go out into the fields.
I have a pair of slip-on rubber boots that I wear occasionally. At the start of our work day last year, I got them out to put them on only to discover that the rubber had become brittle and was flaking away from the inner lining. If it had been raining that day, my rain boots would have failed me. A good pair of rain boots serves a purpose – they keep your feet dry.
According to Jesus, a new wineskin serves the purpose of letting fresh wine ferment. An old wineskin no longer has the elasticity needed for the fermentation process to be successful; it would burst and the fermenting wine would be lost. He also said that you can’t patch a worn out jacket with a new piece of cloth. The frayed ends cannot hold the stitch for a new patch. The message Jesus eludes to deals with transformation for a purpose. Our hearts and lives must be transformed by God’s grace so that we might become a worthy vessel for the Holy Spirit. The Spirit cannot reside in an “old wineskin” or wear “an old jacket.” God desires that we become a transformed vessel for the Holy Spirit; thus we can be filled with God’s love.
I invite you to take time and read each of the scriptures above as you move to reflect on the questions below. I encourage you to think about the ways in which your heart and life have been transformed for God’s purposes. I also pray that God bless the reading of God’s Word and the meditations of your heart.
- What do you spend most of your time thinking about? Politics, culture, social issues, local news, people in need?
- What routine activity do you maintain that instructs you about God’s transformation?
- What do you believe is the God-sanctioned purpose for your life?
- What worldly experiences have played the greatest role in shaping your heart and soul?
- What experiences of God have shaped your soul?
- Do you see your soul as the temple of the Holy Spirit? What does that mean to you?
- How is God’s love being poured into your heart each day?
- If your heart and soul are a reservoir of God’s love, who drinks from it?
- When was the last time you were nourished by God’s love? What were the circumstances? Who was present?
God of mercy and love, as the Psalmist requested, “. . . create in me a clean heart.” This was his prayer for change of heart and life and today I claim it as my own. By praying for this, I am responding to Jesus’ invitation to come and experience a change and transformation. I believe that my soul is the temple of your Spirit; I desire it to be a suitable residence. I also believe that you have a purpose for me so I pray that your Spirit might guide me for your use. I ask that you use me for your purpose now and each day. Amen.