Today, during worship time the Lord spoke to me and said; “There are too many who are looking at the fruit but not the root.” Then He said, “New wine cannot be grown away from the vine.” I pressed in further, and He led me to read Mark 11:12-25 when Jesus cursed the fig tree. I actually wrote a devotional on the topic a while back. We are to be fruit inspectors, and this is so incredibly important. However, there are those who are looking at the fruit not to learn how to grow it but out of envy and jealousy. They don’t counsel with the one who is growing the fruit and ask questions about the soil quality, the seeds planted, and the plowing process. The Lord said, “They inspect the fruit at completion yet have no desire to grow it themselves. Instead as in a grocery market, they want to pluck the fruit and place it in their basket, but they don’t want to talk to the farmer who cultivated the land and planted the seed to grow it.” We are living in a time of kingdom consumerism. Everyone wants the gifts, the anointing, and the mantle, but few want to go in the deep, dark, cold soil in isolation and wait for the roots to grow. Without the root, there is no fruit. You must grow down to grow up in the Spirit!
In Mark 11:12-25, the Bible says,
“12 The next day as they were leaving Bethany, Jesus was hungry.13 Seeing in the distance a fig tree in leaf, he went to find out if it had any fruit. When he reached it, he found nothing but leaves, because it was not the season for figs. 14 Then he said to the tree, “May no one ever eat fruit from you again.” And his disciples heard him say it.”
When Jesus cursed the fruit tree, it was because it was deceptive. When a fig tree is mature and producing fruit, it shows its leaves, but first, the fruit grows. This tree had the leaves indicating there was fruit, but upon closer inspection it was empty. You can fake fruit for while, but upon closer inspection, it becomes evident that nothing is growing. In people, we see this by their heart posture which is evident in actions and what comes out of their mouths and the way it comes out. Additionally, we can also see when a person has grown stagnant because rotten fruit will mix with good fruit, but the exposure of the good fruit to the rotten fruit then makes it rotten also. This happens when people do not weed the soil of their hearts or let God prune the dead branches.
We need the patience and perseverance to allow the Lord to cultivate the soil, plant the seed, let it take root deeply and then finally grow fruit. We need the discernment and the fortitude to pull the weeds out that can harm us and allow God to do some pruning even if it’s painful. True fruit must be grown not replicated.
The Process of Wine Begins With the Vine
Similarly, many want the new wine without understanding that wine first comes from the vine; another process that takes time. Did you know that the best vines grow deeply when they experience stressful conditions? Scientists discovered that placing other vines around will crowd it a bit and make the vine grow deeper. They also found that by drying out one part of the root but giving water to the other communicates to the vine that it should NOT waste its energy making leaves but rather making grapes. Scientists then reversed the process on the other side, and what they found was a way to produce the most luscious grapes for the best wine. It doesn’t stop there, however. After the grapes are finally grown, they are then plucked, pressed, and crushed. Fermentation is next which is when ingredients are added. Next is clarification where dead yeast and other dead substances are removed from it. Then the wine ages in a dark cellar in a barrel and finally bottled to serve.
In a consumer culture, it is easy to get excited about new wine and we should! Jesus turned water into wine as His first miracle! However, we must also recognize the process of death that occurs to the grape in its pressing and crushing. Too many people want the new wine without the crushing or the pressing, and they want the luscious grapes without the dry wilderness season. Similarly, many have already gone through the crushing and the pressing but do not want to go through the clarification process. Instead of the quality of grapes determining the flavor, they allow the yeast and the other dead substances to give the flavor. As a result of this, their words and actions are more like vinegar than wine. Others have gone through the crushing and pressing, fermenting and clarification but do not want to age. When I say age, I do not mean how old you are. You can be one hundred years old and repeat your first year of salvation 100 times. How long a wine ages is up to the winemaker and his intent for the wine. For a sweeter wine, he will bottle it sooner, but for a smoother more well-balanced wine he will let it sit in a dark barrel in a cellar for longer.
This is why we need to keep our eyes on Jesus and not on the other barrels in the cellar and not on other people’s fruit trees. We can inspect the fruit of others, and we can taste the wine, but when we want to uncork something in the spirit that needs more aging, we get into trouble. Jesus is both the vine and the winemaker, and we are His branches. We will know the new wine when we taste it because it will be something we never tasted before. It will be unexpected and uncomfortable, and it won’t fit in the box. Still new wine must be treated with sobriety. Let’s let the Winemaker decide who to uncork and when and focus on growing healthy fruit which begins with a deep and intentional root system.