“No one puts new wine into old wineskins; otherwise the wine will burst the skins, and the wine is lost and the skins as well; but one puts new wine into fresh wineskins.”
Mark 2:22 NASB
My happy little boxes are being blown up, one after another lately. The title of this post is a bit provocative without context, but it’s still accurate. Becoming “like little children” is a prerequisite for entering the kingdom of God, and the kingdom is all about the King. And the Lord showed me that part of the impediment to my being a child is holding onto the values and heritage of my old life—trying to use old wineskins with new wine.
I do not see all the entanglements of my heart. I do not know all the hidden loyalties that I nurture. God has to show me where I’ve yet to abandon and renounce my dead works (Heb. 6 AMP). In this current work of repentance for my adult, stoic heart, the Lord revealed that His values are in direct conflict with my “American” values. Such a thing has never occurred to me before!
I grew up pledging allegiance (think about that!) to the flag, holding my hand over my heart (a symbol of fealty) during the national anthem, memorizing the Declaration of Independence, and learning how sacred the Bill of Rights is. The United States was founded on the successful rebellion against tyranny, and we treasure our rights as God-given. But are they? We value independence, and we celebrate the people who pulled themselves up out of the gutter, rising from rags to riches. Self-reliance and perseverance are heralded, essential elements of the “American Way.” “Give me liberty or give me death!” America is the Great Experiment and the Melting Pot of the world! Life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness in the land of the free and home of the brave!
But what matters to God? What does He value?
- Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth (Mt. 5:5).
- I am a sojourner on the earth (Ps. 119:19).
- Blessed…are the poor in spirit (the humble, who rate themselves insignificant), for theirs is the kingdom of heaven (Mt. 5:3)!
- I will most gladly boast all the more about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may reside in me (2 Cor. 12:9).
- And anyone and everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or children or lands for My name’s sake will receive many [even a hundred] times more and will inherit eternal life (Mt. 19:29).
- But seek (aim at and strive after) first of all His kingdom and His righteousness (His way of doing and being right)…(Mt. 6:33).
- He who has found his life will lose it, and he who has lost his life for My sake will find it (Mt. 10:39).
- But this is the man to whom I will look and have regard: he who is humble and of a broken or wounded spirit, and who trembles at My word and reveres My commands (Is. 66:2).
Well, what a kick in my red-white-and-blue-loving face! I am severely flummoxed by what I’m seeing right now. Deep down, I don’t value what God values. I have not abandoned the dead works of America. “But the Founding Fathers were Christians! They put Your Name on everything! So American values must be godly values, right?” Not so much. God is calling me to renounce my citizenship in this republic, with all its attending rights and privileges. I am a child of the kingdom now, and the kingdom has a Monarch. No more Bill of Rights for me! “Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s,” yes, “but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay His head”—and neither do I if I truly belong to Jesus.
I swore allegiance to my country when I was a child, and that allegiance was not just to America’s government, but to her values and virtues as well. Those values are deeply ingrained in me and in direct conflict with the values of my King and my God. They have to be renounced because I don’t get to keep the old wineskin in any form. God alone must have my loyalty; He doesn’t share that, and He leaves no room for interpretation on the subject.
He who is not with Me [siding and believing with Me] is against Me, and he who does not gather with Me [engage in My interest], scatters.
Luke 11:23 Amplified