Clarity is one of the most frequent prayer requests of believers. Yet so many Christians themselves stuck, confused, and frustrated because of their lack of clarity and progress. In this article, we will take a deeper dive at what clarity is and explore Luke 5:37 for some biblical strategy to understand why clarity requires us to get rid of 'old wineskins'.
The Biblical Perspective of Clarity
In the Bible, clarity often comes through divine revelation and wisdom. For instance, the Book of Proverbs is filled with verses that extol the virtues of wisdom and understanding as paths to clarity. In James 1:5, the Bible encourages believers to ask God for wisdom, promising that He gives generously to those who ask. Clarity in the biblical sense is often tied to spiritual discernment, which allows believers to understand God's will for their lives and make decisions that align with His plans.
One notable example is the Apostle Paul's conversion experience on the road to Damascus (Acts 9). Struck blind and led to a place of physical darkness, Paul gains spiritual clarity about his mission and purpose, leading to a transformative change in his life. This biblical account underscores the idea that clarity often comes when we are willing to be led, to listen, and to transform.
Clarity Requires Getting Rid of Old Wineskins: Bible Study Breakdown
And no one puts new wine into old wineskins. For the new wine would burst the wineskins, spilling the wine and ruining the skins. (Luke 5:37 NLT)
This verse is part of a larger discourse where Jesus is questioned about the practices of His disciples. The Pharisees and the teachers of the law are puzzled as to why Jesus and His disciples are not fasting like John the Baptist's disciples. Jesus responds with this parable to illustrate the incompatibility of the new covenant He is bringing with the old Jewish legalistic traditions.
New Wine: In biblical symbolism, "new wine" often represents the Holy Spirit, new revelations, or the new covenant brought by Jesus. It's the fresh, transformative work that God wants to do in our lives.
Old Wineskins: Wineskins were containers made from animal hides, used for storing wine. Over time, these skins would become rigid and lose their elasticity. In this context, "old wineskins" symbolize old traditions, mindsets, or systems that have become inflexible.
Burst the Skins: The Greek word for "burst" is "ῥήγνυμι" (rhégnumi), which means to break or shatter. This signifies a violent, sudden change, illustrating the idea that new revelations cannot be contained within old frameworks.
Why Would the Wineskins Burst?
Chemical Process: Fermentation produces gases. New wineskins have the elasticity to expand with this gas, but old wineskins have lost this flexibility. When new wine is placed in old wineskins, the gas has nowhere to go, creating pressure until the skin bursts.
Incompatibility: The old wineskins are set in their shape; they're not equipped to handle the dynamism of new wine. This is a powerful metaphor for how old systems, traditions, or mindsets can't contain new movements of the Spirit or fresh revelations from God.
Loss of Both Wine and Skin: The bursting isn't just a loss for the wineskin; the wine is also wasted. This illustrates the tragedy of missing out on what God is doing because we're not prepared or flexible enough to receive it.
The Risk Of Staying Stuck
The verse serves as a cautionary tale against mixing the old covenant's legalism with the freedom and transformative power of the new covenant. It's a call to prepare ourselves as new vessels (new wineskins) to hold the new wine (the Holy Spirit, new revelations).
God is continually offering us "new wine"—fresh revelations, wisdom, and opportunities. But if we're not intentional about renewing ourselves spiritually and emotionally, we become like "old wineskins," unable to contain what God is doing. The result? We risk bursting and ruining both the revelation and our capacity to receive it.
How To Develop New Wineskins
Intentional fasting serves as a spiritual tool to create "new wineskins" within us—flexible, resilient frameworks that can hold the "new wine" of God's revelations and blessings. Unlike the Pharisees' legalistic fasting, which was rigid and focused on external appearances, intentional fasting is a heart-centered practice. It aims to align us more closely with God's will, opening us up to fresh insights and spiritual renewal. This form of fasting goes beyond mere ritual to become a transformative experience, allowing us to shed old, limiting beliefs and habits. In doing so, we become new vessels, capable of receiving and holding the dynamic, life-giving "new wine" that God desires to pour into our lives. Intentional fasting promotes:
Spiritual Benefits: Fasting brings you into alignment with God, making you a "new wineskin" ready to receive His "new wine."
Mental Benefits: Fasting has been shown to improve cognitive function, helping you think more clearly about your goals and the changes you need to make.
Emotional Benefits: Fasting can help regulate mood swings and bring emotional balance, making you more receptive to the "new wine" of emotional well-being.
Reflection & Questions To Consider
What Legacy Mindsets Are You Clinging To? Consider the beliefs or thought patterns that have been passed down to you—whether from family, culture, or past experiences. Are they serving your current goals and spiritual journey, or are they outdated "wineskins" that limit your growth and receptivity to new blessings?
Which Practices Have Become Your Comfort Zone? Reflect on the routines and practices that you've held onto because they're comfortable or familiar. Have they become a form of spiritual or emotional stagnation? Are they keeping you from stepping into new opportunities or deeper relationships, both with people and with God?
How Are Your Current Coping Mechanisms Affecting Your Spiritual Health? Take a hard look at how you've been dealing with stress, challenges, or emotional pain. Are these coping mechanisms drawing you closer to God and aligning you with His will, or are they outdated "wineskins" that numb you and keep you stuck in a cycle of spiritual inertia?