I am the True Vine

What do you think makes a good bottle of wine? Is it price? Location? I’ve done very little research on the actual wine making process, but I can assure you that I have had my share of tastings. There are numerous factors in creating a bottle of wine, but like many things, quantity doesn’t always mean quality. And beauty is in the eye of the beholder, err, taster…

In my limited exploration of the process, I know there are at least two essential components to making a bottle: Fruit (aka. grapes) and time. 

Here’s what I‘m thinking: We are currently in a place where God is making wine out of us. What do we all have right now? Time. And with a little bit of help from our Gardner, fruit is just around the bend. 

I’ll admit, the first thing I wanted to do in this whole lockdown was to begin a new project, start a YouTube Channel, write more, read more, you know, add to my To-Do list so I could produce a whole lot of fruit. The problem I keep running into is that even with all the time (which homeschooling severely cuts into), the things that come out of my own desires and effort lead to a pretty crabby apple rather than tasty sweet grapes. 

Jesus talks to His followers about this in John 15. 

I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful. You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you. Remain in me, as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me.        John‬ ‭15:1-4‬ ‭

Did you catch that last part? That’s the part we often leave out. Nothing we produce out of our own efforts is lasting fruit for the Kingdom. The good stuff that Jesus is talking about, the good wine making fruit, doesn’t come from a to-do list or a great accomplishment; it comes from the Spirit. 

Galatians 5:22-23 says the fruit of the spirit is: 

Love

Joy

Peace

Patience

Kindness

Goodness

Gentleness

and Self-control. 

I don’t know about you but I’ve never written any one of those as a thing to check off my list. ‬‬

Our way of doing things and God’s design are vastly different. One way has us doing all the work and the other one is all about staying connected or remaining.

I’ve heard it said; “to remain is a state of the heart.” Jesus reminds us that we have to stay with him. Remain connected to him in order to give the world the produce it needs. It’s not as passive as it sounds. I know you know this because you have to “remain home” right now and it takes tremendous effort. It takes intentionality to keep from wandering out. 

Same with the Vine. We have to be intentional about being with Him. Not just to do the things on our list, but to share the gifts of his spirit with the world by entering into his presence every day. We have to set down our expectations and pick up His direction. 

That’s the kind of fruit that produces the exceptionally good wine. 
By the way, when the process is done, it’s not the price of the bottle that determines its worth, it's the one tasting it. 
All of these suggestions avoid "doing" things and are more about just "being." 
  1. Let Go of your own agenda for a day. This isn’t long-term. Just put away your to-do list, your calendar (which is most likely bare already), and spend time enjoying each little moment. I’ll try it if you will :) 
  2. Have a glass of wine or grape juice if that’s your jam. Yep, I said it. But don’t just drink it. Take time to savor it, and be in the presence of God. The first time I did this, it was a little odd, because drinking wine alone feels weird. However, God met me in that moment, so I wasn't alone. It was freeing. 
  3. Practice Shavasana This one is for all the yogis. I am not a yoga by nature kind of gal. I’m all about the cardio. However, yoga has some wonderful applications. Shavasana is the final pose of a practice that allows you to lay down both physically and mentally. It's kind of ironic it's called corpse pose. Corpses don't do anything. They just are. Here’s a link if you want more info. 

By

JL McCarthy

April 15, 2020