We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, so that as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life. (Romans 6:4)
Many Christians are under the impression that the Christian life is begun in conversion and newness and that, over time, this newness of life leaves you behind. In other words, when beginning the Christian life, it is new, but after a while, it is old. This is a misconception. Saint Paul teaches us that the purpose of baptism is to incorporate us in the Death and Resurrection of our Lord. His Death and Resurrection result in His life being eternally new. His human nature, which had been subject to death, is no longer subject to decay and oldness. Saint Paul teaches that it is this newness of life to which the Christian is to cling.
Our Lord says: And no one puts new wine into old wineskins; if he does, the wine will burst the skins, and the wine is lost, and so are the skins; but new wine is for fresh skins. (Mark 2:22) In essence, the New Wine of the Kingdom of God is to be poured continually into and out of new wineskins, which are provided by lives which are continually renewed. But what does this mean? How does this work?
Since were not in the habit of putting wine into skins, few other analogies might help. There are things which we are constantly in the habit of replacing, from the bottle of shampoo in the shower, to our trash can liners, to the milk thats gone bad, to ink cartridges in our printers. We replace them constantly because they either run out or they become deficient over time. Snakes shed their skins. Our fingernails are constantly renewed, replacing what is old. These are very helpful in understanding the wineskin analogy. Regular renewal is the basis for living a life that is not stagnant.
One of the main enemies and barriers to living a fruitful and faithful life is congestion. Many people wake up the same today as they were ten years ago. They havent changed. They may work in a different career, or live in a new house, but on the interior, they are the same. The world tells us that people dont change. But, the Scriptures teach us that change (or conversion) are essential to this life. People are meant to grow in grace, experiencing afresh the goodness of God, leaving behind the life of sin and death and embracing the new life which Christ has given.
The Christian fights stagnancy and walks in newness of life after Baptism by making a regular confession of sin, daily examining his life, receiving the Sacraments, continually renewing the mind by the reading of Scripture and receiving good teaching, and by a life of daily prayer. If your life has become stagnant and congested, if you have found that you havent grown recently, embrace these disciplines. You will find yourself renewed.