This post by Pastor Daniel Henderson struck a chord with me this week. I read it a couple days after confessing to my congregation a deep desire to lead them into the kind of discipleship that would lead to “abiding in Him”, connected to the vine, and really producing fruit. It seems like the main struggle for many Christians is not running away from God and into all manner of sin and rebellion, but rather resigning ourselves to a kind of faith that just scratches the surface of things but really never delivers on Jesus’ promise to give us “life to the full” (John 10:10). Read below and let’s not settle for cheap, old wine! -JB
I remember hearing many years ago that “to be satisfied with yourself is a sure sign that your forward progress is about to stop.” We all need a sense of holy dissatisfaction about our current status, our influence for Christ, and our potential in serving His mission.
In Luke 5:37-39, Jesus addresses the Pharisees who questioned why Jesus did not conform to the man-made religious standards of the day. He responded, “And no one puts new wine into old wineskins; or else the new wine will burst the wineskins and be spilled, and the wineskins will be ruined. But new wine must be put into new wineskins, and both are preserved. And no one, having drunk old wine, immediately desires new; for he says, ‘The old is better.'” I like the translation of the New American Standard here: “The old is good enough ” (v. 39).
Stuck in “Good Enough”
It is so easy to get stuck in the “good enough” rut. When we simply go along with the way things have always been, accepting what others have always said, and doing what we have always done, we’ve likely lost our true forward progress. It is time to take a fresh look at the radical life of Jesus, the extreme needs of the world around us, and the potential of the Spirit within us and pray for a deliverance from the “good enough” mentality.
The work of the Gospel is the new wine Jesus speaks of. The word of the Gospel is living, active, dynamic, and relevant to every generation. Yet, the old wineskins of mindless routines and long-standing traditions can inhibit and waste the work of the new wine.
Why We Settle for “Good Enough”
We all tend to be creatures of habit. We can also be plagued by fear, laziness, and selfishness to the degree that we are not open to the new adventure of His calling on our lives, whether it is the daily call to live fully for Him or a new chapter that He is opening before us. It is easy to cling to the familiar, comfortable, and functional rather than surrender to the Spirit’s prompting to embrace the biblical, the effective, and the best choices of an adventuring and influential faith.
Paul wrote to his disciple Timothy, who had settled into a “good enough” mentality, no longer driven by the fire of a clear calling and the sufficiency of the spiritual gifts God had placed in him. Paul told his son in the faith, “Stir up the gift of God which is in you through the laying on of my hands. For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind” (2 Timothy 1:6-7). Literally, Paul commands Timothy to “fan into flame” the smoldering coals of his spiritual passion and to reject the fear that was keeping him in the gray twilight of “good enough.” Like Timothy, we must affirm the power of God that is able to energize us for unprecedented, supernatural impact. We must surrender to His love that compels us to get past ourselves and give our lives away to others in sustained, sacrificial service. We must submit to the sound mind (or discipline) of the Holy Spirit to keep us clear-headed and resolute to finish our race with perseverance and passion.
Moving Beyond “Good Enough”
When I see the things Jesus did to prepare His very inadequate disciples to become the catalysts for world transformation, I think of five words: Look, Pray, Receive, Go, and Finish. These ideas can move us beyond a “good enough” lifestyle.
New Day, New Wine, New Wineskins
Every day of our lives, we must reject the “good enough” attitude. With each new day, we enjoy the new wine of His presence and purpose. We must willingly adopt new wineskins to deliver the Good News to the world around us. As we look, pray, receive, go, and finish we will live a life to His glory and someday receive the reward He has prepared for those who keep pressing on as long as they have breath.