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The Wine Your VINE

Updated: Jun 24, 2022


The Pruning Process

How do we truly understand how to live until we have died.

You see I have come to understand that we really do not know God. The reason I make this assumption is that we always discuss who He is rather than who He is not. I believe this because we don’t really want to know or understand that He reserve the right to make one vessel unto honor and another unto dishonor. The great I AM is All things.

How do we ascertain the nuisances to our development as Disciples? It is a process that is closely related to making wine. Yes, I said it. TO MAKING WINE.

Christ called us to be disciples which was and is a case to display discipline in our everyday life choices. Every second of each day will offer us a moment in decision making that leads us to a road. Each road has its own set of rules to determine how you will govern your life.

I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. – John 15:5

Amid all the unknowns of today’s unprecedented chaos, there’s one thing we’re surely learning—how interconnected we all are. This is such a contrast to the modern worldview of stringent individualism that we inherited from the Enlightenment era. It seems that we are not quite so autonomous as we imagined. And that’s a good thing. The demand for autonomy has bred an epidemic of loneliness, despair, and alienation. But we were not created to be self-sufficient. We were created to live connected to God and to each other. Many members but one body.

Listen now to Jesus as he begins one of His most amazing statements: “I am the vine; you are the branches...” (John 15:5). Such a simple statement, yet you can spend a lifetime plumbing the depths of it. Let’s explore its meaning. Jesus first mentions that He is the vine a few verses earlier: “I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener” (John 15:1). We may assume that branches bear fruit, but in another sense, it’s really the vine that makes it all happen. The point is: there is such interconnectedness that while we are doing the work, Jesus is doing the work in us as well.

But there is even more here in this short statement. When Jesus says that He is the vine, it is the last of a series of statements He makes in the gospel of John using the same form: “I am the Bread of life, I am the Good Shepherd, I am the Resurrection and the Life.”

The repeated use of “I am” suggests the name God gave to Moses by which to call Him: “I am who I am” (Ex. 3:14). Jesus is implying that He is the vine from which all life comes, that He is indeed God as the Son.

Every life in the created order came through Jesus (John 1:3), and the new life of the Kingdom now flows out of Him as well.

Point to Ponder

We have a tendency to talk about Who God is…We never really talk about who He isn’t. I venture to say because we don’t want to know God is both.

What Kind of Vine Is Jesus Referencing?

Many of us are urbanites, having left the life of the farm. So agricultural contexts commonplace in Jesus’ times sometimes need a bit of explaining. What kind of vine was Jesus speaking about here? Not a poison ivy vine, nor a wild vine growing up a tree in the woods, nor an ivy vine covering an old house.

The Old Testament allusions make it fairly clear that this was a grapevine, often used for making wine. This was as commonplace as growing corn in Kansas or potatoes in Idaho. In fact, the grapevine is mentioned more often than any other plant in the entire Bible.

This is so in line with the way Jesus states that He is the vine, and we are the branches, the rest of John 15:5 reads this way:

“...If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.” Jesus taught throughout His ministry, taking everyday items as analogies for Kingdom truths.

The key action is to remain. It is translated in different ways: to stay, to abide, to live, to live in union. Jesus is to be so much a part of our daily existence that He feels like home. Talking to Him becomes like talking to your best friend. Being with Him is like being at home on your favorite couch.

We become like Jesus and do His great deeds not by trying harder or pumping up some kind of spiritual energy. We do all of this by simply staying at home with Him. Bearing fruit then it just happens—because it’s ultimately His fruit, not ours.

To make this point even stronger, Jesus concludes this verse by stating the same truth in the negative: There is nothing you can do in terms of bearing fruit by yourself. Nothing. Zero. Zip. Let that sink in. It will change you.

Do you really want to be part of His Vine? Then you have to go through the wine press.

Wine making has been around for thousands of years. In its basic form, wine production is a natural process that requires very little human intervention. Mother Nature provides everything that is needed to make wine; it is up to humans to embellish, improve, or totally obliterate what nature has provided, to which anyone with extensive wine tasting experience can attest.

There are five basic stages or steps to making wine: harvesting, crushing, and pressing, fermentation, clarification, and then aging and bottling. Undoubtedly, one can find endless deviations and variations along the way. In fact, it is the variants and little deviations at any point in the process that make life interesting. They also make each wine unique and ultimately contribute to the greatness or ignominy of any particular wine. The steps for making white wine and red wine are basically the same, with one exception. The making of rosé wines and fortified or sparkling wines is also another matter; both require additional human intervention to succeed. Learn more about wine and what goes into every bottle.

How Do We Practice Remaining in Jesus?

Now to the most important point. How do we do this? How do we learn to remain in Jesus so that He becomes like home to us? Jesus believed that we could; otherwise, He would have never asked us to.

Here are four suggestions to get you going. Try one and see where it takes you:

1. Inventory: Before you go to bed each night, take a brief inventory of the day. If we don’t remain in Jesus, we are just remaining somewhere else—in anxiety, in anger, in fear, in shame, in ambition, in numbness, in self-absorption. Ask yourself, “Where was I remaining today?” Then talk to Jesus about your desire to remain more in Him.

2. Listening: Remaining happens as we just start the conversation with Jesus. Start each morning by having a conversation with Him about some passage of Scripture and the day ahead. Then be still for a few moments. Ask Jesus, “What do you want to say to me?” Jesus is always trying to speak to us, but often we do not take the time to listen.

3. Gratitude: One of the surest ways to learn to stay at home with Jesus is to practice gratitude. Take some time regularly to give thanks. Use these categories, each for a few minutes, to notice things: give thanks for what you have seen, then what you have heard, then what you have touched with your hands, then what places your feet have taken you, and finally what your heart has loved.

4. Stillness: Try to sit in silence for 5-10 minutes each day. As thoughts come up, don’t try to resist them, or retain them. Just let them go. Be still. Over time you will begin to notice more of His presence already alive in you.

Remaining in Jesus is not just one of many things we are asked to do as Jesus-followers. It is the one thing from which everything else proceeds. To miss this is to miss Him. And to miss Him is to miss it all. In this life we will have trouble, but He has assured of if we go through the process we will come out victorious.

Crushing and Pressing Process

Crushing the whole clusters of fresh ripe grapes is traditionally the next step in the wine making process. Today, mechanical crushers perform the time-honored tradition of stomping or trodding the grapes into what is commonly referred to as must. For thousands of years, it was men and women who performed the harvest dance in barrels and presses that began grape juice's magical transformation from concentrated sunlight and water held together in clusters of fruit to the most healthful and mystical of all beverages - wine. As with anything in life, change involves something lost and something gained. By using mechanical presses, much of the romance and ritual has departed this stage of wine making, but one need not lament too long due to the immense sanitary gain that mechanical pressing brings to wine making. Mechanical pressing has also improved the quality and longevity of wine, while reducing the winemaker's need for preservatives. Having said all this, it is important to note that not all wine begins life in a crusher. Sometimes, winemakers choose to allow fermentation to begin inside uncrushed whole grape clusters, allowing the natural weight of the grapes and the onset of fermentation to burst the skins of the grapes before pressing the uncrushed clusters.

Up until crushing and pressing the steps for making white wine and red wine are essentially the same. However, if a winemaker is to make white wine, he or she will quickly press the must after crushing in order to separate the juice from the skins, seeds, and solids. By doing so unwanted color (which comes from the skin of the grape, not the juice) and tannins cannot leach into the white wine. Essentially, white wine is allowed very little skin contact, while red wine is left in contact with its skins to garner color, flavor, and additional tannins during fermentation, which of course is the next step.

Wine making has been around for thousands of years. In its basic form, wine production is a natural process that requires very little human intervention. Mother Nature provides everything that is needed to make wine.

The Vine Christ has provided everything you need to produce the fruit of the spirit in you. You have to allow Him to take you through the process. Selah!

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