The Church is longing for more of God. This is a wonderful thing but it comes with a cost. The Church will have to become more flexible to accommodate the ministry of the Holy Spirit as He takes us into greater realms of His power and presence. We might not know what the Holy Spirit is going to do, but we sense He is preparing us for something wonderful and exciting (John 3:8). We simply cannot continue the way we are and expect more of God. Whilst God Himself remains ever the same, He uses change as a tool in our lives to promote growth and draw us closer to Him. This tells us that He has created us with the capacity to accommodate and live with change, even though there may be times when we prefer not to.
God’s leaders are precious to Him. Without them there is not much He can do because He has graciously decided to work His plans and purposes through them. Flexibility, however, will be required of leadership to accommodate what God has planned for the Church in the times that lie ahead.
We could liken wineskins to our capacity to receive or reject the things of the Spirit in the times we live in:
No one puts a piece of unshrunk cloth on an old garment; for the patch pulls away from the garment, and the tear is made worse. Nor do they put new wine into old wineskins, or else the wineskins break, the wine is spilled, and the wineskins are ruined. But they put new wine into new wineskins, and both are preserved. Matthew 9:16-17.
Inflexibility, religious thinking and fear of man are symbolic of old wineskins, whereas an openness to the Holy Spirit and His leading will always ensure that we have the capacity to ‘contain’ the new thing He is doing in the earth. Every old wineskin once was new and had the capacity to store fresh, new wine. The tragedy of old wineskins is that they become inflexible over a period of time. It does not happen overnight, and no one really notices until it is time for the new wine.
In some instances throughout the Church world, the old wineskins have become so accustomed to the old wine that dependence on programs has progressively taken over from dependence on God. We have held the Holy Spirit under house arrest in His own dwelling with controlled meetings taking over from the spontaneity of the Holy Spirit. Worship has become polished and performance orientated at the expense of anointing. Man has subtly become the centre of our attention displacing God from His rightful position, and preaching has come to show greater sensitivity to man than God.
The standards of righteous living and obedience to God have been lowered to the extent that truth can now look like a distortion. Many have become man-seekers instead of God-seekers. Godly standards have become strangers to the church, and the Holy Spirit is seen to be an embarrassment in front of the un-churched. All this has chronically limited our passion for worship. Thank God this situation is giving way to a powerful, refreshing change as many men and women of God, including myself, repent of their old ways and their inability to hear what the Spirit has been saying.