Here are some more lessons from the vine, to help us ‘be fruitful’
Vintage wine from heavenly fruit
In John 15, Jesus talks about himself being the vine and us bearing much fruit. Ezekiel 47 speaks of a river of life from heaven that waters the trees bearing much fruit. Grapes are 82 percent water. Squeeze the fruit and the juice oozes out. Spiritual fruit, produced from the water of life, will have all the attributes, culture and power of heaven. Heaven oozes out. We can make spiritual wine that will last, a good vintage, delightful to others for pouring out through our lives and into our community.
We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair;2 Corinthians 4:8 (see verses 7-9)
When hard pressed, heaven oozes out
When Jesus was hard pressed he released peace and healing (Isaiah 53:5). He was crushed so that we do not have to be.
Being hard pressed is a necessary process to release heaven. How much of the life of heaven are you drinking? Are your roots going down deep? If you are squeezed, what comes out?
Imprinted as we press into Jesus
If we fall asleep on a zip, its pattern is imprinted onto us. In the same way, as we press, or lean, into Jesus we are imprinted with his likeness.
Let us acknowledge the Lord; let us press on to acknowledge him.Hosea 6:3
It is good to look after our mental health and give ourselves time out but, as we rest , let’s not forget to press into our source. Let’s abide in him, pressing into him in worship, prayer and spiritual practices.
When hard pressed, trust God
When we are hard pressed, we can retreat and feel cornered. Fear plays a big part in our withdrawing, but God says do not fear and brings us out into a spacious place.
When hard pressed, I cried to the Lord;Psalm 118:4-6
he brought me into a spacious place.
When fear may cause us to doubt and question, let’s lean back into him in trust. He will lift our heads in a spacious place, into an expansive vision, helping us take our eyes off ourselves, notice others around us and look forward to the journey ahead.
Be pressed together in love
When we think of wine we often think of the last supper where Jesus proclaimed it was a symbol of his new covenant. A new special, deep relationship (Luke 22:20). Grapes cannot make wine one at a time, or even in small clusters. Natural families are important, but he has made us part of something much bigger. We are to be covenanted together. This wine can only be made by being pressed together in covenant community.
The fruit and wine are not for us
Our fruitfulness, when pressed down, overflows with blessing. The wine that is created is a blessing for our towns and communities.
Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap.Luke 6:38
There will be a day when we will celebrate with much wine, the wedding feast of Jesus, and the church will be fantastic. For now, whilst on earth, our focus is on loving others well. The wine is for our neighbourhoods. It brings hope, sustenance and healing to the nations.