16 “Besides, who would patch old clothing with new cloth? For the new patch would shrink and rip away from the old cloth, leaving an even bigger tear than before. 17 “And no one puts new wine into old wineskins. For the old skins would burst from the pressure, spilling the wine and ruining the skins. New wine is stored in new wineskins so that both are preserved.”
Have you ever tried patching your favorite pair of jeans? Those well-worn jeans develop what I will call "stress-tears" at the most inappropriate and most difficult points to patch! Try as we might, we can attempt to bring the frayed edges of the tear together without the "stress-tear" being noticed, but it is almost impossible. Fabrics don't match and if we simply join the two sides of the "stress-tear" together again, the surrounding fabric is also weakened, so that patch is not going to last long either.
We experience these same kind of "stress-tears" in our character. The things we have become so familiar and comfortable with, like our little habits, actually "fit" us well, but are riddled with weakened areas that can "burst-out" at anytime. The very moment that the stress of life gets a little too much to contain, we experience the "stress-tear" and it leaves us feeling a little too exposed!
A lot of us think that the answer to those "stress-tears" is to simply apply a little patch here and there, until what was exposed is covered up well again. Some of these "patches" are not all that bad - like when we attempt to incorporate prayer as a "patch" to our worries. The thing we don't recognize is that the entire "garment" of worry is what is giving us the trouble - patch one area and another will give out under the stress of life!
Jesus doesn't offer us "patches" in our lives. He offers us completely new garments! He says to be clothed with his righteousness - to be outfit with his graces, power, and authority. The "patches" are our doing - the new garments are his!
In the 60's, patched jeans were the "in" thing - but that did not last long. Now kids wear purposefully "distressed" jeans - paying good money for those "stress-tears" in perfectly new fabric! I may not fully understand the "statement" of such attire, but I do know that my Lord is not keeping up with the latest fads! His garments are perfect - fitting me to a "T" and adorning me with just what I need in those areas of my life!
I don't know about you, but the times of simply "patching-up" the failures of my life are over. I am serious about this spiritual wardrobe exchange of my ragged garments for his beautiful garments! Isn't it about time that we evaluate the "patch" jobs of our lives and truly shed the old garments in exchange for his new ones?