“You can’t teach an old dog new tricks.”

“He’s old and stuck in his ways.”

“She’s never going to change.”

There is an ingrained, all-too-often-proved-true, prejudice that when we get older we can’t, or won’t, change any more. This is despite some great examples in the Bible — like Abraham, Sarah, Moses, and Caleb and that’s just the first six books — and some great passages of Scripture that challenge us to keep on changing to become more like Jesus:

Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day (2 Corinthians 4:16).
Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. And we all, who with unveiled faces contemplate [or reflect] the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his image with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit (2 Corinthians 3:17-18).

Two of my favorite people in the Bible are old in years, but fresh and new in faith. They are Anna and Simeon, who greeted the baby Jesus at the Temple in Jerusalem (Luke 2:22-38 TNIV). I wonder how many asked them, “Why can’t you just act your age?” or “When are you going to be more realistic?” But they kept believing — believing in the vision and the answer to their prayers.

On top of the biblical examples are the modern ones. I have a friend who turned 80 about 18 months ago. Since his birthday, he has been on mission trips to Ghana and Central America. I have a sweet sister in Christ who is 101, and she prays the most moving prayers when I visit her. I have been blessed to baptize someone into Christ who was beyond his 80th birthday and have seen four of my shepherds each hold the leg of a chair so a lady over 90 could be baptized even though her legs were paralyzed. Each of these people was passionate to honor the Lord no matter where that path of honor might lead them.

All of these people are proof that you may not be able to put new wine in old wineskins, but new wine can be put in open hearts! Jesus brings that new wine to all who are passionate to honor him and follow him.

It’s a matter of the heart, not age!

It’s a matter of faith, not experience!

So as we stand on the edge of the New Year, no matter what age we are, let’s make a commitment that we will never quit growing and reaching toward Jesus. While resolutions may come and go with each New Year, the commitment to grow with Jesus continues right up to the moment we meet him face-to-face.