I’m not much of a wine expert. If it came to a taste test I probably couldn’t tell the difference between a rare import and cough syrup. But this last week I stumbled across and interesting fact that – given my inclination – led me to an interesting spiritual application. They say (the experts in winemaking) that the very best wines are made from grapes grown at the very climatic edge, at the point where that particular variety of grape is most vulnerable to cold temperatures. Also, the best of the best wine grapes grow in the worst of soils, on rocky hillsides where the roots have to deep to find nutrients. Point: the best fruit and the sweetest wine grow in the hardest of places!
Paul says (Galatians 5:22) that the intent of the Holy Spirit is to make my character reflect the nature of Jesus. The Spirit actually doesn’t do this by making me like Jesus but rather by living Jesus’ life through me. Paul describes this process as the “fruit of the Spirit” – love, joy, peace patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control.
So how does he grow this precious fruit inside of me? By putting me into the roughest environment and the poorest soil he can find! He does this not because he is mean or uncaring, but because he knows that to get good fruit he has to push me to my limit.
Where does kindness grow? When someone is most particularly unkind to me, pushing me to respond in the opposite mode. And patience? When I’m in a situation where urgency seems imperative. The fruit of the Spirit grows inside of challenging relationships and impossible situations.
Today I am praising God for the grinches and grouches in my life. I’m thanking God for the pressures he has forced around me. Living on the edge is the best soil for the best wine!