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Friday, May 20, 2011

Watering, Fertilizing, and Pruning

John 15:1-2 "I am the true vine and my Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit, he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful.”  (NIV)
Thanks to a sweet neighbor, I am the proud owner of three tomato plants.  Having grown up on a farm, there was never much appreciation on my part for farming during my childhood or after I reached adulthood.  It’s a lot of work!  I admire those who farm, but I am just not good at it!!  However, I am diligently working to keep the tomato plants alive so that they will produce one of my favorite foods. 
To keep my tomato plants strong and healthy, I tend to them on a regular basis. This involves watering, fertilizing, and pruning.  If the soil is too dry, it will not produce any tomatoes and the plant will wither and die. Without fertilizer my plants will never reach their full potential, thereby shortchanging me on the size of the crop that is harvested.  Then, there is the process of pruning.  Pruning is the cutting and breaking of branches so that necessary growth will come forth.  My tomato plants will flourish and be much healthier if pruning is done. 
The pruning of my tomatoes caused me to think of spiritual pruning.  This type of pruning is done with tender care by the master gardener who knows what needs to be done to produce the best crop, the best growth.  The spiritual pruning process is different for each of us.  It could be that God will prune us of unattractive attitudes, habits, or some other type of ungodly characteristic or behavior.   In this case, one size does not fit all!
We do not always like the pruning process.  Sometimes, it hurts.  However, Jesus tells us in the above referenced verses of scripture, that it is necessary for our heavenly Father to implement the pruning process into our lives.   He removes the limbs that are dead and serve no purpose.  The limbs that are still alive, he cuts and shapes so that more fruit will be produced.  We should never be afraid of this process.  It is necessary and will benefit us more than we can imagine.  Allowing God to shape and re-shape us in ways that are needed will result in a fruit-bearing life that is pleasing to him.
God will lovingly care for us.  His love and care is everlasting.   He waters and fertilizes our faith through his Word.  In so doing, we continue to grow and mature spiritually.  He prunes those things from our lives that will prevent us from producing a high quality of spiritual fruit.  God is not satisfied with withered spiritual lives that produce little or no fruit.  He knows what is best for us and cares for us accordingly.  I am so thankful that he tends to me in such a way as this.  Without him, I would be the withered plant that is dead and useless. 
May each of you grow spiritually, flourish abundantly, and be producers of the highest quality of fruit.  This is God’s plan for you! 

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