The Old and The New

The ways of man are often a mystery. There are times when we are quick to abandon the old "traditions" for something new. Yet there are other times when we are very reluctant to give up the old for something new. Often the decision is influenced by those around us. If keeping the old makes us seem odd or different, we are ready to adapt the new. If on the other hand, a new challenge in life confronts us, we are slow to respond because it would change our lifestyle and people would begin to ask questions.

About fifty years ago, there was a man named Tim who faced this latter problem. The world has changed in many ways in fifty years, but in other ways it remains exactly the same. Technology changes many circumstances, but the ways of man never change. Tim was invited to attend some evangelistic meetings by a fellow worker at his place of employment. He came out and was intrigued with the messages. On the last evening, he made a profession of faith in Christ as His Savior. He was visited by believers on a number of occasions after he confessed Christ. It soon became apparent to him that he faced two very difficult decisions.

The first one involved his church attendance. He was born and raised in a church that did not preach the Gospel. He had been attending services faithfully every Sunday since he was a young boy. As he grew in his knowledge of the Gospel, he realized the incompatibility of law and grace. The grace of the Gospel did not mix with the cold formality of his church. Christianity, as taught in the Scriptures, did not go with the revamped religious acts of Judaism performed in the church. But Tim continued to attend services in the morning and then he would go to the Gospel hall in the evening. He found it hard to give up the old. The old was better because it was familiar and it appealed to the flesh. There is a natural reluctance to abandon the old for the new. "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" (Lk. 5:38,39).

The second decision was more in the social world than in the religious. Every Tuesday night for years he went to a club house to enjoy the evening with longtime friends. His supervisor at work was one of them and his next door neighbor was another. He soon became the object of much criticism because he would no longer drink any alcoholic beverages with them. He found things to talk about, but he often cringed at many of the off-color stories that he would hear each week. His friends knew there was a change but he never felt he had the right opportunity to tell them what had happened to him. "For we have spent enough of our past lifetime in doing the will of the Gentiles - when we walked in licentiousness, lusts, drunkenness, revelries, drinking parties, and abominable idolatries. In regard to these, they think it strange that you do not run with them in the same flood of dissipation, speaking evil of you" (1 Pet. 4:3,4).

It took him two years, but he finally made the inevitable decision. He stopped going to the church and he stayed home on Tuesday evenings. He literally trembled when he made the decisions. It was tough, but he knew it had to be done. Years later, he had only one regret. He wished that he had done it much sooner. How about you, reader? Are you still holding on to some old ways? Let go of them and your life will begin to blossom for God.