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Cut Back to Grow Forward – February 19

Jesus said, “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. John 15:2

In the summer, grape vines in California’s vineyards are full of long, leafy branches that grow in the hot sunshine. But in winter, the gardeners come into the vineyard with sharp tools called pruning sheers. They use the sheers to
remove all the branches from the vines. When the pruning is done, the only things left are ugly stumps that look completely lifeless. Anyone who didn’t know better might think, Oh, they’ve killed the plants. But the vines are not
dead, and as soon as spring comes they will grow strong new branches that will bear huge bunches of grapes. Without the pruning, the vines would produce only a few small grape clusters as all the vine’s strength would go to growing vines rather than fruit.

Gardeners have pruned in vineyards for thousands of years, and there are even stories about it in the Bible. Jesus uses the example of pruning to teach us that our hearts need to be pruned—cleaned up—from time to time. Perhaps
we’ve become careless about telling lies, or maybe we say mean things to other kids. These are the kinds of things God wants to clean up in us. It’s how he disciplines us and makes us more fruitful for his kingdom. It doesn’t always feel good at the time, but this kind of heart pruning is something God uses to make us stronger.

Can you think of something God might want to clean up in your heart? Tell God what it is. Ask him to take the bad stuff away so that what comes out of your life is good and strong.

Prayer

Dear Lord, It’s so easy for me to slip into bad habits that drain your strength out of me. Please prune my heart so I can be who you want me to be. Amen.

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