Why patch up a ragged old life when you could have an all-new one?
Jesus also told them a parable: “No one tears a piece from a new garment and puts it on an old garment. If he does, he will tear the new, and the piece from the new will not match the old.” (Luke 5:36)
What is it about our familiar old rags that makes them so hard to part with?
Same Old Life 2.0
Some months ago, I spent time with a young lady whose life had just come crashing down on her. Hopes and dreams lay in slivers at her feet. Tears flowed freely over the entire shattered mess.
She wanted to hear that God loved her. She seemed encouraged by His promise to never leave her or forsake her. For a moment there, I really thought that this time she would reach out and seize hold of her Savior and never let go. For a moment, she seemed to want Him.
But that was only until she “got her act together.” Then all she wanted was platitudes she could pin up like motivational posters. Not her Savior. Not her Creator. Not Someone who was more than she expected Him to be.
Determined to get back on her feet, she jumped into making new plans. Jumped right over having to take a good look at who she was and what her life could be in Christ’s hands. “I’ll do it myself” was her rallying cry. As she pushed herself forward, I could affirm the positive actions she was taking. Yet I also tried to caution her.
“Long-term problems need more than short-term fixes,” I said. But she barreled ahead, doing all in her power to appease the god of self-sufficiency. She had no use for the God who once gave everything to rescue her. She could rescue herself now, thank you very much.
She missed her chance. With her old life reduced to rubble, she could have built a new one, a shining tower of a life, established on a firm foundation. Instead, she cobbled together Old Life 2.0, as fragile as a house of sticks.
She did take the good solid advice she had heard. She took it, and she tore it into pretty little pieces, and she stuffed it into the gaps between her sticks.
A Visit to the Belief Buffet
That young lady is not so unusual. We all have a fondness for buffet-style religion.
We take a small smackerel of one philosophy and spread it over a hearty slice of another. We season our humanism with a hint of piety and, Voila!
There, we say, now that is a collection of beliefs I feel comfortable with. Smug in our perceived wisdom, we congratulate ourselves on being connoisseurs of truth. Yet we fail to ask the Author of truth if we’ve got it right.
If we were to ask Him, we’d soon learn our mélange of miscellany is really a bowlful of inconsistent hogwash. It only looks delectable through me-tinted glasses. Remove the glasses, look at Jesus Christ, and we see things as they are.
Jesus Christ didn’t come—and die—to add one more idea to our collection.
Jesus Christ didn’t come—and die—to patch up our old life. He came to give us an all-new one.
He is not a motivational speaker. He is not a life coach.
He is God.
If we select a few of Jesus’ nicest teachings and stir them together with the teachings of others, we will find we have diluted the power of His truth in a useless porridge.
We will have shredded a beautiful new garment to make an ugly patch for a ragged old one.
Isn’t it time to take Jesus seriously? Time to honor Him for who He is: the Lamb of God who alone can take away our sin? The One who came to give us life like we’ve never known it before. The coming King who will rule forever.
What could happen if you let go of your old, tired rags? What would Jesus give you in return?
Find out. Read the four gospels—Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John—the stories of Jesus’ life—over and over.
Because they aren’t just stories to add to your shelf. They are “The Word of God . . . living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.” (Heb. 4:12)