Imagine you’re driving around in an absolute clunker that you’re constantly having to fix up and repair. The engine is rough. The paint is wearing thin. It makes noises you don’t understand and don’t really want to.
Then imagine someone comes to you and says: “I have a brand new car for you. It’s your dream car. It runs perfectly. But there’s one catch: If I give it to you, you have to drive it.”
As catches go, that’s a pretty good one, right?
I mean, you can’t drive both your old clunker and your new dream car at once. You’ve got to pick one or the other.
“So,” this kind (perhaps insane) stranger says. “How about you give me the keys to your car, and I will give you the keys to the new car?”
Now, are you going to take some time to carefully weigh the pros and cons of the offer? Or are you going to snatch those keys out of their hand before they change their mind?
With a car, it makes sense. We know how we’d handle that offer.
But believe it or not, this is the same promise God makes us, and most of us are still feeling a little gun shy.
God wants us to trade our old life for a new one. And yet, we’re trying to drive both cars at once.
“I want you to have all of this,” God says. “But you need to give Me all of that.”
But that’s not even the crazy part. The crazy part is that “all of that” is all the stuff we don’t want anyway! God’s making us the best offer in all reality. He wants us to trade in our old lives for the life He offers—the life He made for us. But it just seems too good to be true. We’re still asking, “What’s the catch?”
But when we try to live out of our old mindset while still operating our new mindset, we are going to fail. You can’t drive two cars at once.
We are going to feel inadequate.
We are going to feel insecure about the things of the Spirit.
We will have stress. We will have worry. We will be depressed, and our personality is just going to fracture.
That’s because we’re trying to turn our clunker into a new car. We’re trying to do both things at once.
It just doesn’t work like that.
All this happens because we’re operating out of our natural mind, and here’s the thing about the natural mind: It doesn’t understand the mind of God.
The Holy Spirit will move in total opposition to normal human practices. God is not human. He doesn’t work according to our rational minds, so let’s not treat Him like He does.
He’s divine. He’s altogether different. And, get this, His plan is to make you like Him.
We’re moving into a new, regenerated spirituality that cannot come out of our old carnal mindsets. There is a new me in Christ, and there is Christ in the new, true me. You are altogether different.
Let’s learn how to be different, shall we?
When we try to drive our new car and our old car, we end up with religion and legalism. We try to earn favor by our best efforts.
We strive and we struggle to overcome ourselves, not realizing that we were dead and now we are fully alive in Christ. We’re like the Israelites who, even after God set them free from being slaves in Egypt, assumed captivity was better than freedom. God wanted to take them to the Promised Land. They missed the days of getting “free” meals from their slave masters.
It seems to me that many Christians are just like that, trying to make the best life possible in Egypt, unaware that there is a Promised Land that God is taking you to.
There are a lot of reasons but this, but here’s the big one: When most people really read the truth of the New Testament and everything that God has made available, the legalist in us gets offended.
It’s the same reaction you have when you get a million dollar sweepstakes in the mail. It doesn’t even occur to you to take it seriously. It makes you a little angry. You know it’s too good to be true. You know that “If it is too good to be true, it probably is” is wisdom.
But in Heaven, the wisdom is the opposite.
In Heaven, if it is not too good to be true, it’s not God.
If it’s not glorious. If it’s not wonderful. If it’s not brilliant. If it’s not amazing. If it’s not astonishing. If it’s not absolutely outrageous…
It’s not of God.
God has come to give us a life that makes us astonished.
The only way to live this life in Jesus is to be utterly amazed and astonished. You need to have a sense of wonder that sometimes makes you want to laugh and do your happy dance, and sometimes just makes you want to fall to your knees and cry in absolute gratitude.
If we are not astonished, we’re not getting it. If we are not utterly amazed, we haven’t received it yet.
That’s the Christian journey. One step after another into a territory of astonishment and amazement.
This is how Jesus talks about it in Luke 5.
“No one tears a piece of cloth from a new garment and puts it on an old garment. Otherwise he will both tear the new and the piece from the new will not match the old. And no one puts new wine into old wineskins, otherwise the new wine will burst the skins and it will be spilled out and the skins will be ruined. But new wine must be put into fresh wineskins, and no one after drinking old wine wishes for new for he says the old is good enough.”
You can’t tell in the English, but Jesus is making a point with a play on words. He doesn’t use the traditional word for old, which is “palai.” “Palai” means “antique.” Sort of like “vintage.” It’s a good kind of old.
Instead, he uses the word ‘palaios’, which implies that something is useless and worn out.
In this context of wine? It’s gone bad.
He’s describing people who are satisfied with the old traditional system. He’s describing people who are reluctant to experience something totally new.
He’s saying that this mindset makes you useless, worn out, and irrelevant in the world around you.
Old wine. Old ways. An old car that God isn’t interested in jumpstarting to get a few more miles out of. Instead of sprucing up your old car, God’s offering you a brand new one. He’s putting new wine into new wineskins, offering you a life of purpose and relevance. The old isn’t getting fixed. The old isn’t getting repaired. The old is gone. The new has come.
The only question is, how long are you going to keep trying to hold onto the old?
PS. I talk a bit more about this in my Wisdom Series. Feel free to learn more about it there.
PPS. Think about one way you’ve been resisting this new car. How are you, today, going to stop resisting? And as always, we would love to hear your thoughts below!