[Jesus] also told them a parable: “No one tears a piece from a new garment and puts it on an old garment. If he does, he will tear the new, and the piece from the new will not match the old. And no one puts new wine into old wineskins. If he does, the new wine will burst the skins and it will be spilled, and the skins will be destroyed. But new wine must be put into fresh wineskins. And no one after drinking old wine desires new, for he says, ‘The old is good.’” (Luke 5:36-39 ESV)
When we hear the gospel and have faith in Jesus, we are considered to be born again. We are to live in such a way consistent with repentance which is to stop intentionally sinning. To say we are Christians but continue sinning is like the “new patch” being sewn to the “old garment”; the two do not match and do not belong together. The old life must be thrown away so that we are able to “walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to him: bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God” (Colossians 1:10).
The same principle applies with “new wine” being poured into “old wineskins”; we won’t be able to retain the word of God in our hearts if we are still living a wretched, rebellious life. It is like whatever God says to us goes in one ear and out of the other, and we are left unchanged.
When we turn to God, we cannot approach him and gain his attention unless we repent. Our prayers are meaningless because of our sins, keeping us separated from him. Just as the Lord’s mercies are new every day, so also can be our confessions. Often times we have to say, “That was wrong of me. Please forgive me and help me not do it again.” That is okay because it is a constant battle to resist temptation, but it is worth the effort because of the blessings that God pours over us.
“Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you” (James 4:7 ESV). And eventually you will see that you have been transformed in both your thoughts and deeds. Be encouraged in your faith today and be persistent. The process of Jesus perfecting our faith comes with our willingness to persevere. Every sin has already been forgiven the moment we claimed him as Lord. Just stay connected with him and he will teach you how to put your old self away.