I have not yet arrived, but I try very hard to live a minimalist lifestyle. Minimalism is the idea that we are to live with less so that we have time for more. I listen to podcasts and read books about how to be a better minimalist, how to be a minimalist with kids, and how to decrease the amount of clutter in your house. I have about 7 T-shirts, 2 pairs of jeans, and 4 dress shirts that I cycle through each week. I love everything about minimalism.
But I’m not always great at it. Because there is this very powerful drive to always get new items. New shirts, new shoes, new cars, new games, new furniture, and new pants… I love getting new things. I love the research that goes into purchasing new items, I love opening the box of a new iPhone, and I love planning out how I will care for my new car. Part of this love of new things comes from our materialistic culture - companies know us better than we know ourselves and they know how to market to us. But this desire for new things and more things doesn’t mix well with my desire to be a minimalist. At some point, I must choose which way of life I’m going to live by.
And the same is true when it comes to being made new in Christ. We can’t hold onto our OLD life while looking for NEW life in Christ. We love the idea of new, but we are often drawn back into the old. Let's be real... We struggle to let go of the past. And we try to fix ourselves with solutions that were never meant to fix us. Jesus spoke to this reality and he told us to not let it happen:
Mark 2:21-22 says,
“No one sews a patch of unshrunk cloth on an old garment. Otherwise, the new piece will pull away from the old, making the tear worse. And no one pours new wine into old wineskins. Otherwise, the wine will burst the skins, and both the wine and the wineskins will be ruined. No, they pour new wine into new wineskins.”
You see, new and old don’t mix well together. My desire to live a minimalist lifestyle doesn’t mix well with our culture’s incessant need for more. And our desire to be made new in Christ, doesn’t mix well with the temptation of living in our old way of life.
The truth is, and that I pray everyone accepts and believes, Jesus wants to make you new. He doesn’t want you to be burdened by regulation and tradition, shame and guilt, or that sin habit you can’t seem to break. He wants to make you totally and completely new... Not by using an old patch or old leather, but by giving you new life instead.
But we can’t have a foot in both camps. Being made new will require total surrender to who He’s forming you into. It might mean tough conversations with friends or family. It will mean slowing down and processing before responding. And it will definitely mean a transformation in your thoughts, mind, and actions.
But the reward of fully accepting the new and letting go of the old is worth the discomfort. It’s worth the self-denial and the tough conversations. Because when you surrender the old for the new, you are entering into an eternal relationship with Jesus forever. So, quit trying to fix new problems with old solutions … Instead, surrender that old life to Jesus and be made totally new.
As you reflect on being made new today, check out this song. This song has ministered to me on more than one occasion as an encouragement to let Jesus make me new.