Scripture Passage: Hosea 10:9-12 “Since the days of Gibeah, you have sinned, Israel, and there you have remained. Will not war again overtake the evildoers in Gibeah? When I please, I will punish them; nations will be gathered against them to put them in bonds for their double sin. Ephraim is a trained heifer that loves to thresh; so I will put a yoke on her fair neck. I will drive Ephraim, Judah must plow, and Jacob must break up the ground. Sow righteousness for yourselves, reap the fruit of unfailing love, and break up your unplowed ground; for it is time to seek the Lord, until he comes and showers his righteousness on you."Devotional Entry: When I think of being spiritually mature, I think of bearing fruit or a plant or flower blossoming. It does not mean you are fully complete, perfect, or done growing. It’s being at a point where you are aligned with God so that in various situations and circumstances you are able to produce good things, outcomes, and responses. For example, spiritual maturity can be being a good steward of your time, belongings, or relationships. It can be your diligence with work and spending time with God. It shows up in how you respond to situations and to other people. And one of the most apparent places your maturity is tested or shown is in adversity. So if those are all examples that we want to look like, have under our belt, and be about, it goes back to one of my first questions; how do we get there? I’m going to use the analogy of bearing fruit and plants blossoming and break it down into 3 different parts. I’ve categorized the 3 different parts as: 1. Connect, clear, and create 2. Soil and plant 3. Watering and weeding maintenance Connect, clear, and create The first part of the process begins with our connection with God. We can ask God what are areas we need to grow in and often they are highlighted. Just like the verse in Hosea 10:12 it says to “Sow righteousness for yourselves, reap the fruit of unfailing love, and break up your unplowed ground; for it is time to seek the Lord, until he comes and showers his righteousness on you.”. Our connection with God begins our alignment with Him. It allows us to see things He wants to reveal and can stir up those hardened areas. We can’t do it on our own strength alone. Through Him we can have the life, strength, and energy to plow the hard ground in our hearts. We are often eager to start bearing fruit and sprint from the beginning. But sometimes in order to grow we first need to clear out space. Much like gardening, there’s a lot of work before you get to actually plant any seeds or plants. You have to designate the space that is needed and clear it out. Similarly we need to search our hearts, examine our lives, and take a look in the mirror to find the space we need to clear out. When clearing out this space old roots might be found. There might be stuff hidden under the dirt that needs to be cleared up, residue from past things or habits that needs to be cleaned up, and buried lies and negative thoughts or feelings that need to be uprooted. It can be hard. Very hard. That’s why our connection and alignment with God is all the more important. He is our rock, our anchor, and the one who sets us free. By getting rid of the old, breaking bad habits, and clearing out space we are creating capacity for the ways God wants us to grow and mature. He wants to give to us and grow us, we just need to make sure we have the space. If your garden or plot of land is filled with weeds, other plants, and old roots, do you have room to plant anything new? No! It’s time to connect, clear, and create.Challenge:Sit with the Lord. Bring your life, worries, joys to Him. Ask God to highlight an area/s that you may need to clear out to make space.