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Fruit trees do better when they’re pruned.

Gardens do better when weeds are pulled.

And vehicles get better gas mileage when unneeded weight is removed.

You’re seeing a trend here, right?

Whatever gets in the way of productivity needs to go.

And so it is with our spiritual lives.

We don’t “get efficient” once and then we’re set for life.

And we don’t get spiritual once and then we’re set for eternity.

Far from it.

Fruit trees need pruned yearly.

Gardens need weeds pulled weekly.

Vehicles need dead weight removed daily.

You and I need pruning every so often in order to remain fruitful.

We need to pull weeds of sin and distraction in order to provide more bountiful service to the Lord.

And we all could probably benefit from getting rid of “dead weight” habits or hangups that, at best, slow us down and, at worst, leave us broken down on the side of life’s road.

The author of Hebrews gives us needed advice:

“Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up.” (Hebrews 12:1)

Every person has a stumbling block sin that keeps tripping up him or her.

I’m talking about that sin that we say we’re not going to repeat but then, guess what?

We repeat it.

Self-hatred is not the solution although it can be hard to avoid as illustrated by the Apostle Paul’s autobiographical cry, “What a wretched man I am!”

Determined vigilance and deep humility are vital in this struggle between flesh and spirit.

We must always remember that we avoid the ditch when we stay between the lines of God’s Word and will.

And that happens when we keep our noses pointed down the centerline of the “straight and narrow” rather than seeking after those things that we can pursue only if we let go of God’s hand.

Listen, if we never take the first step toward the ditch, we won’t fall into it.

Recall the steps that have led you into the stumbling block sin. And resist taking even the first one.

Paul told Timothy it’s not enough to consider and then abstain from youthful lusts.

The young man needed to flee youthful lusts.

We’ll each be better off as we run away from temptation rather than thinking we can manage it.

As always, I love you

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