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Scripture Passage:

John 15:1-8“I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful. You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you. Remain in me, as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me.  “I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. If you do not remain in me, you are like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned. If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples.” 

Devotional Entry:  

From the beginning of this process to the end of it, we need to remain aligned in the Lord.  If you don’t remain in Him, you will be cut off from Him.  After things have been planted, sometimes I think we feel like “ok our job is done” and we drop everything.  But in some ways, it’s just begun.  Now you have to take care of what you just planted. This takes faith and a lot of times it takes discipline.  When you plant something underground, it’s covered and it may take awhile to see any of  the progress.  There’s a certain level of faith and hope you have to have.  Trust that you have done what is necessary and have faith that it will continue to grow.  You may not see it right away or be able to dictate the outcome, but there are still things that are in your control.  

You have to go out and water the plant consistently.  Check on its progress.  The plant needs continued nourishment and needs to be fed.  Feed yourself God’s word and receive the eternal nutrients you need.  Make it a habit!  See if the branches need to be trimmed or if the fruit needs to be pruned.  There’s 2 kinds of pruning. Cutting off and cutting back.  Branches that are cut back actually promote growth.  Actively choose God and the things you are trying to grow.  Continue to align yourself with Him so He may guide your thoughts, decisions, and actions.  Surround yourself with people and communities that can help you water and maintain what you're growing.  You are not meant to do it alone.

Weeding is another important maintenance task.  If you allow weeds to continue to grow they end up overtaking your garden and they can choke out the good things that are planted.  There is bound to be bad habits, lies, or negative things that sprout like weeds.  It is important that we don’t feed and nourish any of those things and take out the weeds before they become overwhelming.

If you’re thinking, this is a lot of work.  This seems hard.  To a degree, you’re right.  But this is your faith, your walk with God.  It’s worth the struggle, the growing pains, the “work”. It’s not for nothing.  He has purpose in it.  And as you work on it, it gets easier.  It gets easier because you are growing closer to God and becoming more like Christ.  God wants to see us spiritually mature.  The fruit you bear, the ways you grow, brings glory to Him.  “You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you so that you might go and bear fruit—fruit that will last—and so that whatever you ask in my name the Father will give you.” John 15:16

Challenge:Sit with the Lord.  Bring your life, worries, joys to Him.  Thank Him for all that He has done and all that He is going to do.  Continue to read the word and reach out to people who can support and encourage you.