An activity I thoroughly enjoy doing with friends and family is spending a relaxed afternoon wine tasting and enjoying the beauty of the Western Cape winelands. Not only is it relaxing, but it’s also very interesting. Beyond the fancy adjectives used to describe the wines, is the wine-making process. If you’ve ever taken a cellar tour or listened to someone speak about it, you’ll know that wine undergoes a long process before making it to your table.
Harvesting. Crushing. Pressing. Fermenting. Clarification. Bottling.
These are the various steps in the wine-making process. Sound a little familiar? They sound a bit like words I’d use to describe the past year.
Towards the end of last year, Daisy – one of my colleagues at CBN – led us in a devotion she called New Wine in Old Wineskins. And it got me thinking. And it got me really excited for 2020.
Don’t forget, or wish away, the process
In Matthew 9:14-17, Jesus uses the metaphor of new wine in old wineskins to explain to the Pharisees why his disciples don’t fast, or follow tradition, as much as they (the Pharisees) do. Based on her devotion and my understanding, this was my take away:
When we surrender our lives to Jesus and choose to abide in Him, we take up the new covenant Jesus made on the cross. We choose a life of relationship with Him – relationship is super important to Him. We become made new in Jesus. The new wine in this parable is representative of the Holy Spirit. So, we’re offered a new life (new wineskins – through a daily renewal of the mind, choosing God’s ways rather than the world’s) to walk into our newfound purpose and hope with rather than our old ways (old wineskins). That being said… It’s not a magic switch. We’re still human, living in the flesh, and we still sin. We’ve got baggage we need to deal with and heal from with God. This process, much like the wine-making process, can take time and involves pressing and crushing. But in the end… We reach our maximum potential with the ultimate winemaker to guide us!
2019 was a tough year for me, with many changes and losses. At times… I was so distraught and heavy laden by anxiety that I truly didn’t understand what God was doing. It felt like the hard times just never ended. Just as I got up to catch up some air, another wave crashed over me. As the year progressed and I carried on pushing through, crying out to God even though I didn’t understand, I started feeling a change. I started feeling joy amidst the pain.
And now? Now I realise I was being crushed and pressed, dealing with baggage, so that I can start reaching my maximum potential in Christ.
2020 – A New Chapter!
Take away the clichés of “new year, new me,” I truly believe that the tough year I have experienced was the beginnings of something new that God wants to do in me and through me! Personally I’ve experienced challenges, and as a nation we’ve been experiencing challenges and suffering that’s been brought to the light more and more. At times, it feels like God is simultaneously doing something in each of us individually and corporately for a bigger plan.
It can be hard and the future may seem scarily unknown.
But God is promising new wine!
Wine that will be smoother and more delightful than anything we’ve tasted – relationship and intimacy with Him!
“Forget the former things;
do not dwell on the past.
See, I am doing a new thing!
Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?
I am making a way in the wilderness
and streams in the wasteland.”
God truly is doing a new thing! And it is exciting to know that He’s the winemaker and orchestrator of it all.
My prayer for you, and me, for 2020 is that we’ll experience such intimacy and relationship with God that it takes us to new levels in our relationships with others, our ministries, our careers and our communities! May He guide you and lead you as you make decisions this year and go through various situations. May He be your strength, your joy and your source of peace and comfort.
If you feel, like me, that you need prayer for encouragement, renewal and healing – please get in contact with us. We would love to pray with you as you enter your new season!