Containers

I will never forget moving into the dormitory as a college freshman in the fall of 1970.

My best friend and “roomie” packed up our few worldly goods and headed for campus in my classic 1947 Chevrolet. With all the gusto and enthusiasm of young men spreading their wings, leaving home for the first time, and stepping out on their own, we grabbed the boxes from the trunk and sprinted up seven flights of winding stairs to find our room.  The higher we climbed, the heavier those boxes became!

We thought we had carefully packed our most prized possessions, stacks of LP’s (long playing records for those of you who don’t know what a LP is) of our favorite recording artists in some old boxes my friend pulled out of his folk’s garage. Yes, believe it or not, there was music in my day!

Halfway up the sixth floor stairwell, the bottom of a box I was carrying gave way, spilling my LP’s down the staircase. Broken box in hand, I watched helplessly and breathlessly as my “music” tumbled out of my reach. Many of my favorite albums were broken.

Broken box and broken LP’s. Not exactly the way I envisioned starting my college career.

Upon examination, the boxes we had used were old, musty, weakening over time.  The LP’s weight was too much for the ancient cardboard relics. We should have secured new boxes for our move. Then we would have not lost our LP’s and boxes.

First college lesson: Don’t put valuable things in unreliable containers.

Our life is a container, a box if you will. The Spirit of God lives in containers (people) who believe in Jesus Christ. Maybe you and I who confess Christ should make sure our containers are new and able to contain the new things God has in store for us. 

Jesus has something very powerful to say to us as about containers. 

The Lord taught in Matthew 9:17, “Nor do men put new wine into old wineskins; otherwise the wineskins burst, and the wine pours out, and the wineskins are ruined; but they put new wine in fresh wineskins, and both are preserved.” 

In the Lord’s day, wine was contained in wineskins. Goat skins were sewed together to form a flask which held the fruit of the vine. “New wine” was still fermenting and expanded as it gave off gas. “Fresh wineskins” were elastic, able to expand with the new wine. “Old wineskins” were hard, brittle and non-elastic. Unable to expand, old wineskins with new wine “burst”.  They broke open, spilling and spoiling the valuable wine. Both the new wine and wineskins were destroyed.

To preserve both wine and wineskins, Jesus told His listeners to put new wine into fresh wineskins. Both would be preserved. The Jewish community clearly understood this natural principle. The Lord took this example from everyday life and turned it into a spiritual growth principle.

New wine, new life from God, requires fresh wineskins. New containers are needed to receive and hold something new from the Holy Spirit.

If you and I want to be experience something new every day, the old will not do (see Luke 5:39).  The old way of living is never good enough. Old containers are out. The Lord is always doing something new. Therefore, new containers are in.

How is your spiritual container? Is it old, brittle and non-expandable? Would your life burst if God brought something new to you? How long has it been since you asked the Lord to help you freshen up your heart and the temple of the Holy Spirit that you are responsible for? 

I can’t speak for you, but I can speak for me. With all my heart, I desire to be a fresh container every single day that God can fill with the new wine of the Holy spirit.

You Can Freshen Up Your Spiritual Container.

  • Dedicate yourself to delight in the Lord more than anything else. Put Jesus first in everything. Study His Word. Pray. Trust and obey Him. Serve in the name of the Lord. Get to know Jesus better.
  • Ask the Holy Spirit to search your life and show you what needs changed. Be honest. Transparent. With courage and determination do what He directs you to do.
  • Give up sinful habits of your flesh. Defeat strongholds that have enslaved your mind or body. Once and for all through faith in Jesus’ mighty name, be delivered from all that has held you back from a holy lifestyle.
  • Release your past. Refuse to be chained to yesterday’s pain. Purposely and completely cleanse yesterday with the blood of Jesus Christ. Our future is forward, not backward. Leave old containers in the dust of yesterday.   
  • Ask God to anoint you with fresh oil (Psalm 92:10). Daily receive a fresh infilling of the Spirit of God. Be revived and renewed through the Word and Spirit of God. Walk in newness of life in Christ.

God is looking for “fresh wineskins” to pour “new wine” into today.

Again, I ask, how is your container?     

“Search me O God and know my heart. Try me and know my anxious thoughts; and see if there is any hurtful way in me and lead me in the everlasting way.”
Psalm 139:24

“Therefore, having these promises, beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all defilement of flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God.”
II Corinthians 7:1

A Word For Your Week:
Every day be a new container the Holy Spirit can dwell in.