Don’t use a new garment to patch an old one

The Big House at Safe Haven Farm is a magnet for severe weather. I’m sure I’ve posted about this before. Some of my close storm-spotter friends have told me I live in the Bermuda Triangle of weather because weird stuff happens on my property.

This past storm season was no exception. We had a horrible storm that riddled our vinyl siding with holes, so we had the siding replaced. Not even a week after work finished, another massive storm blew through and completely wrecked the south side of the house all over again. This is par for the course out here.

The siding has just been sitting with holes in it until the weather warms up, which happened this week. It’s almost officially spring in Kansas, which means the weather will be more bipolar than normal, but our siding guy took advantage of the nice temps and came by to let us know he’d be starting work on the south side of the house. And he told us that he wasn’t going to have to replace the whole south side. He could just replace the damaged pieces of siding.

We weren’t sure how we felt about that, especially since the damage seemed extensive to us. Well, the guys doing the work showed up yesterday and told us that the whole back side did need to be replaced. They spotted some damaged areas the first guy had missed.

Personally, I was pretty happy about that. It was kind of hard to believe that they could repair the whole back side of the Big House with just patching up the bad boards. And I got to thinking that we treat our own lives that way sometimes. Our entire life can be a wreck, and we think that by spot-treating the troublesome areas that we’ll improve. But the rough spots are a symptom of a broken life, and you won’t find a cure simply by treating the symptoms. You have to find the cause.


The south side of the Big House at Safe Haven Farm, Haven, KS

Today’s verse is Luke 5:36.

Then Jesus gave them this illustration: “No one tears a piece of cloth from a new garment and uses it to patch an old garment. For then the new garment would be ruined, and the new patch wouldn’t even match the old garment.

People live piecemeal lives. That’s just a fact. We are all a product of our own personal experiences. And this isn’t a nature vs. nurture discussion, although I think there is truth in both sides, for what it’s worth.

I react to situations and circumstances in my life based on my previous experiences. So do you. And the longer I live, the more experiences I have to pull from. But I have something in my life that is different from the normal person on the street–I have Jesus in my life. That means I’m redeemed. I’m a new creation. God’s mercies for me are fresh every morning.

So while I’ve learned valuable lessons in my life, do those lessons apply to my life as a new creation? Can I patch my piecemeal life together with old prejudices?

No. For the reasons today’s verse states. You can’t use a new garment to patch an old one without ruining both.

Jesus didn’t come to save us one piece at a time. As far as our spiritual self–our real self–is concerned, He saved us wholly, completely, entirely. As of right now we live in a broken world in failing bodies, and every day is a struggle between our human nature and the Holy Spirit inside us.

You shouldn’t hold on to your old life. You shouldn’t hold on to who you were before you met Jesus. If you’ve accepted new life through Christ, that old life is gone–or at least, Jesus has made a way for you to let it go.

Too many times I think we grow attached to the way things are. We like bits and pieces of our old life, and we don’t want to give them up when we start following Jesus. But are you really willing to tear up the new life Jesus died to give you just so you can patch the holes in your old life?

There’s a reason you wanted new life to begin with, isn’t there? Because your old life didn’t satisfy. Your old life didn’t fill the God-shaped hole in your heart.

But it’s scary. You know your old life. You’ve got the experiences to back it up. And, don’t get me wrong, you can certainly learn important (godly) lessons from an old life that will carry over into your new life. But it’s not godly wisdom that’s holding you back from embracing new life with Jesus completely.

It can be intimidating to let go of the life you’ve known, but until you release it, you’ll never fully grasp what Jesus has planned for you.

Don’t try to patch up your old life using pieces from the new one. Let go of what you used to be. Jesus made a way for you to become something new, and maybe the Old You is comfortable, but the New You is better–and it’s who God designed you to be.