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Our fourth Lent Devotion was written by Malena Tomlin; a spiritual life intern at Habitat for Humanity International.

Then the disciples of John came to him, saying, “Why do we and the Pharisees fast often, but your disciples do not fast?” And Jesus said to them, “The wedding guests cannot mourn as long as the bridegroom is with them, can they? The days will come when the bridegroom is taken away from them, and then they will fast. No one sews a piece of unshrunk cloth on an old cloak, for the patch pulls away from the cloak, and a worse tear is made. Neither is new wine put into old wineskins; otherwise, the skins burst, and the wine is spilled, and the skins are destroyed; but new wine is put into fresh wineskins, and so both are preserved.” - Matthew 9:14-17

Jesus does not mince His words as He speaks to the Pharisees. By the power of God, He will provide a brand-new life. The old religious customs seemed just fine by the Pharisees, who often questioned new methods and ideologies. They were set in their ways, and doing something different was perceived as wrong. Reflect on this a moment. Do you judge and scrutinize new methods? Do you believe there is only one way to go about a task or responsibility? Do you believe your methods are the only ones that are right? Do you approach your work willing to collaborate, or do you isolate? Jesus provides examples to explain there is no benefit in applying old customs to new creations. The parables Jesus shares are foreshadowing His resurrection — a miracle never perceived before.

Let’s take the time to acknowledge this new life, to become more aware of this special gift. Praise the Lord in celebration of what this new life has to offer: spiritual liberation! Blessings of abundance radiate from this new life. This divine newness in Jesus needs not to be opposed but embraced. One way for us to truly enjoy this new life in the Lord is not to attach it with anything oppressive like the past. We must receive life and move forward in Christ with fresh eyes to learn as He teaches and see life as He does.

As we accept this gift, Jesus becomes our brand-new covering. Let us start the day expecting the Lord to do wonderful and exciting new things. We should find no comfort in predictable, monotonous practices. Living a life in Christ leaves no room for repetitive and confined rituals. Jesus’ desire for us within this season of Lent is to know He is always doing a new thing. Make room for new ways of living for Him and loving others. Communities are best served when we keep His newness in mind. Keep your eyes fresh for His miracles!

Prayer

Loving Father, forgive me for attempting to put You in a box. Your divinity is too great and powerful to be held in human constraints. Open my eyes, my ears, my heart and my mind to live abundantly in the new life You provided for me. Challenge me. Teach me. Make me wise as You see fit. I thank You for Your gift of newness. Cause me to be a great steward of such a wonderful gift. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.

Read all of our 2022 Lent Devotions here

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