“No one sews a patch of unshrunk cloth on an old garment, for the patch will pull away from the garment, making the tear worse. Neither do people pour new wine into old wineskins. If they do, the skins will burst; the wine will run out and the wineskins will be ruined. No, they pour new wine into new wineskins, and both are preserved.”Matthew 9:16-17
Jesus was doing a new thing, bringing a new covenant, and it needed a new paradigm in order to hold it. Jesus teaches His disciples that if a new thing (new cloth, new wine) is forced into an old paradigm (old garment, old wineskin) not only will it not work, but it will actually cause damage.
We don’t relate to Jesus through the old covenant paradigm. Jesus is not just a new Moses, teaching new understandings about the Law. Jesus was ushering in a completely new paradigm. In the new covenant, we are filled with the Spirit (Acts 2:17-18) and are made new creations in Christ (2 Corinthians 5:17). We are seated with Christ in the heavenly realms (Ephesians 2:6; Colossians 3:1).
This same principle is true for when God does a new thing in your life. About 5 years ago God began to disrupt my life with an outpouring of the Holy Spirit in my life. Then about 3 and a half years ago I had an encounter with the Holy Spirit that many would call a “baptism of the Holy Spirit.” Having not been raised in a Christian tradition that talked about or experienced such things, I was experiencing new wine.
Yet, God had been preparing new wineskins–new paradigms of understanding–before He gave me the new wine. I didn’t understand what was happening when I went through it, but the Lord spent a year and a half renewing my mind with a new wineskin before He ever poured out new wine.
I see now that had He given me the new wine first, there could have been real damage done. I was already experiencing a lot of disruption in my life because of all the changes that were happening with the new wineskin. Had the wine come too early, it would have done some serious damage and the wine would have just run out. When the new wine finally came, there was new wineskin to hold it and not burst.
So often, before we can encounter the Lord in a new and fresh way, He will have to take us through a process of renewing our mind (Romans 12:2) which causes us to “trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding”(Proverbs 3:5). He creates new wineskins in our heart and mind before He pours out the new wine. This process is not only necessary for individuals but also for whole churches who want to experience God in a new and fresh way.
Do you want new wine?
Even now, do you sense the Lord creating new wineskins in you?