I don’t know about ya’ll but I am a total DIY girl. I was raised by parents who taught me, “Don’t ask someone to do something for you that you can do yourself.” This was much needed during my lazy teenager days, but it still holds true for me. I’d rather make something or fix something (and I say that loosely because it is more like “rig” something until it breaks again!) then have to buy something!! Look at any piece of furniture in my home and I am sure there are layers of paint that coincide with the latest colors of each trend that passed through over the years!
I think when it comes to our relationship with Jesus, many of us may have considered our lives much like a DIY project with layers of paint that has just covered the old. Before we got saved, we were selfish, sinful, and “soul-led”, yet when we got saved, we never considered ourselves new, but rather just a better version of ourselves as we learned how to just paint over and work on “fixing” ourselves up. But that is not what Scripture says about us.
Paul said in 2 Corinthians 5:17 that “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!” We are not our own DIY project to fix the bad, or cover up the ugly. We are brand spanking new! Our sin is forgiven, we are pronounced clean, and we have the Holy Spirit now within us! The old has gone and the new has come! All the old paint has been stripped away and we are now as if we were newborn babies, innocent and pure in every way. That’s why Jesus said to Nicodemus, “You must be born again.” So, think about this: the only thing that is holding us back is our incorrect thinking of ourselves! The only thing limiting us is US!!!!
Jesus, in bringing the Kingdom of Heaven to earth, needed to explain to the people that this wasn’t about fixing the old, but birthing the new! He begins with the paralytic man. It made me think about how many of us are paralyzed: in our body, by our shame, by our fears, by our insecurities, and so much more, and we need to be healed. The man was lowered from the roof by friends to get him in front of Jesus. Made me wonder if we have deep, close friendships like this, that care enough about us to get us to the Healer. Jesus heals the man saying, “Your sins are forgiven” and the Pharisees have a fit! “Knowing their thoughts” (vrs 4) gets me every time. Sometimes we think God doesn’t know what we are thinking because we don’t say it aloud. Nope, He knows our thoughts, good and bad, and loves us just the same; and, He wants to help us navigate through our thoughts so we will walk in and obey His truth. Jesus really is most concerned about our hearts. But Jesus is using this miracle in two ways: to show He is the Son of God, and that He can and will heal (authority as a King!). Scripture says the man got up, took up his mat, and went home. Why take the mat? He wasn’t going to need it anymore! He took the mat so that people could see in plain sight that this man once was paralyzed and stuck on a mat and now the very thing that carried him, he was now carrying! What a witness! Why your scars? Why the stuff you carry? Because that identity you once carried is no longer who you are. You have a new identity and what once carried you, you now carry. What once defeated you, you have now defeated and you carry it as a trophy…as proof that you are totally new!!! That’ll preach!!!
Kingdom Living Testifies Of Becoming A Brand New Person!
It is interesting to me that Jesus asked the paralytic man to respond. Jesus did His part, but required something of the other person. He did the same thing when He called Matthew. “Follow Me“. Jesus called him. Matthew had to respond. Jesus has done His part, but the question is are we doing our’s?
Kingdom Living Partners With Jesus, By Responding In Obedience
As Jesus eats dinner with Matthew, He is also eating with other tax collectors and is questioned about why. I was moved and challenged by Jesus’ answer, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor but the sick.” Where are you ministering? Who needs you to stand up for them and help them because they have no one else? How easy it is to make ourselves at home with those like us who need very little from us. How much “safer” is it to dine with those who have no real needs. And yet, Jesus went to those who needed Him most. Maybe we can see Jesus more outside the church walls than inside these days because often we put on the “perfect” facade as if we don’t need Him and so He goes where He is needed. Jesus said that He desires us going and offering mercy to those in need more than all the sacrifices and rituals we participate in.
Kingdom Living Goes To Those Who Are In Need Of Jesus
Then John’s disciples ask about why Jesus’ disciples are not fasting. Jesus responds by describing Himself as the Bridegroom. You would never see a Bridegroom fasting at his own wedding! When the bridegroom is gone, they would then fast for his presence to return. This is why we fast. Now that our Bridegroom is gone, WHEN we fast, we are longing for more of His Presence. (Day 7)
Both the Pharisees and John’s disciples were still trying to deal with the externals. They still had not understood that Jesus wanted to change their hearts! To give them a NEW heart! If the heart is right, the externals will take care of themselves. If the heart is not right, the externals become duty, performance, and a checklist to make us “okay”. How exhausting!
Kingdom Living Does Not Focus On The Externals But The Heart
Finally, Jesus spoke in a parable about the cloth and wineskins. Jesus spoke a lot in parables and I, for one, love them because He takes the physical and uses it to help explain the spiritual, and I learn things best that way. I would say that I am a parabolic teacher myself, because it is such a great way to understand the spiritual things that might otherwise be difficult to understand. The Jewish people understood the fact that if you put new cloth on an old garment as a patch, when it was washed, that new piece would shrink, and pull away from the garment. The same with putting new wine in old wineskins. The wineskins would be dry and brittle and tear and spill the wine out.
Jesus was saying that our old man can not contain the new man. Jesus did not come to fix man. He came to save man. He died so we could be “re-born”. He did not come to put “newness” inside the old. He got rid of the old and made it new. A new identity….a new clothing that people could see like that of the paralytic man. A new heart….a new wine that would be poured out in actions that look just like Jesus.
“Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.” Colossians 3:12
“But even if I am being poured out like a drink offering on the sacrifice and service coming from your faith, I am glad and rejoice with all of you.” Philippians 2:17
You are brand new. The only thing holding you back from living like it, is you.