“Yes, I am the vine; you are the branches. Those who remain in me, and I in them, will produce much fruit. For apart from me you can do nothing.” John 15:5 NLT
It’s a process.
We hear that in our minds as the trials come and go. It’s what we say to get through. It’s a word of comfort we use during uncomfortable situations.
I’m all for change. I love change, but sometimes change is hard. The process of change is difficult. Because in the change we are becoming different.
As a new on-fire believer in God, I knew that change would come, it had to. The beliefs, ideas, and theories I had about God were much bigger than I had ever imagined.
I began slowly allowing Him to graft me into His vine. Letting go of everything I knew, I became part of Him, His life source. My mind, ideas, and passions were not just mine anymore, but part of The Father’s too. He was intertwining me into Him as I was letting go of me.
The process of turning ordinary grapes into extraordinary wine requires timing. The grapes need to have a perfect balance of sweetness and acidity. They need to be at the point that the juice is about to burst out of its skin.
Once picked all debris including the stems needs to be removed. This is to ensure the wine will not become bitter.
Then comes the cleansing of dirt, debris, or insects. This is very important because you want nothing to contaminate the wine. It has to stay pure and untainted.
Next comes the crushing. This is is just the right amount of pressure that will push the juice out. If you apply too much force you can make your wine bitter. When all the juice has been extracted then into the barrels it goes to sit and wait to be used.
It’s a funny comparison, but I feel like a grape!
Throughout the Bible, you can see that grapes are used as a metaphor for humans. God uses the things that people understand to make His point clear. People know the difference between good or bad wine!
I was going through some rough spots and felt immense pressure all around me. I prayed and asked God, “what the heck is going on right now?” I heard His voice gently answer me, “I’m crushing you!” This was not what I wanted to hear at all, but then I saw a vision that shifted me from anger to understanding.
I saw Jesus standing in an old fashion wine barrel filled with grapes. I immediately recognized it because I saw this same image in an “I Love Lucy” episode. Lucy was stomping the grapes to make wine while on a trip to Italy.
Jesus knew just how to make me understand. I saw His foot lift up and then I saw something different. I saw Him position His foot ever so carefully. His eyes closed and I felt His compassion as His foot gently pressed down fully on the grapes, on me.
There was no delight in this, but it was necessary to crush the grapes. Jesus showed me that crushing hurts Him too. I could see that He wanted this process to be done as quickly and efficiently as possible.
We are called to be the good producers of fruit. Have you ever wondered why it’s the fruit? It’s because fruit creates the wine.
He wants to take the best of what we produce and bottle it up. God is going to store it and use it at the great Marriage Supper in heaven! Our Heavenly Father wastes nothing but holds tight to all His children’s accomplishments.
God is making wine from all we produce. He uses our tears, laughter, joy, frustration, excitement, and love. He extracts the best we have in us to create the perfect balance. God desires a wine that palatable for every taste.
The bouquet is harmonious as the blending of His children comes together. The complexity could only be achieved by a master winemaker. The finish is the brilliant workmanship of perfect structure and fermentation. The yield will be great as each bottle is filled.
Humans are comprised of 50-75% water depending on age and weight. So how does God turn us into wine? It’s explained very clearly in the Bible. It’s through Jesus!
The first miracle Jesus did on earth was turning water into wine at a wedding. Jesus told the servers to take the empty jars that were used for cleansing people of their sin and had water poured in to fill them. Jesus then changed the water into wine.
It says in the book of John,
“When the master of ceremonies tasted the water that was now wine, not knowing where it had come from (though, of course, the servants knew), he called the bridegroom over. “A host always serves the best wine first,” he said. “Then, when everyone has had a lot to drink, he brings out the less expensive wine. But you have kept the best until now!” John 2:9-10 NLT
Yes, God is saving the best for last!