“And some fell among thorns, and the thorns grew up, and choked it, and it yielded no fruit… (18) And these are they which are sown among thorns; such as hear the word, (19) And the cares of this world, and the deceitfulness of riches, and the lusts of other things entering in, choke the word, and it becometh unfruitful”
As a young lad, my mom would make my brother and I go outside during the summer while we were out of school. We were not allowed to lie in the house and play video games like today’s generation of kids. (The world truly has changed.) I remember one particular day we were playing in the woods. As we trudged along, we got lost. We wandered around a little ways, until I finally heard cars travelling on a road. We pressed forward and got caught in a thorn ticket. It was so thick; we were severely scratched up before breaking free. I can still remember the relief of finally being on the right way home.
This is a perfect example of so many born-again, Spirit-sealed believers in our day. The Spirit of God is the incorruptible Word according to 1 Peter 1:23. This Word abides in us. Like my brother and I being stuck in the thicket, so are millions of Christians all over the world caught by the snare of the fowler. This snare of the enemy is explain in Mark 4:19 as three particular areas of our life that we must break free from if we are ever to bring forth fruit to perfection (Luke 8:14).
The first thorn in our side is “the cares of this world.” I understand, as believers we must live in this world and we naturally have many concerns; but we must not allow our concerns to pull us down into a state of depression, anxiety, or fear. We must cast all of our cares upon God (1 Peter 5:7). We must “Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:6-7). We are in this word, but not of this world; so let us set our affection on things above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God (Colossians 3:1-2).
Secondly, the patch of thorns represents “the deceitfulness of riches.” “And Jesus looked round about, and saith unto his disciples, How hardly shall they that have riches enter into the kingdom of God! … It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God” (Mark 10:23-25). The Scriptures also say, “Labour not to be rich: cease from thine own wisdom. Wilt thou set thine eyes upon that which is not? for riches certainly make themselves wings; they fly away as an eagle toward heaven” (Proverbs 23:4-5). And finally the Spirit of God through the Paul the Apostle says, “…flee these things…” (1 Timothy 6:11), concerning the love for money; because it is “…the root of all evil…” (1 Timothy 6:10). Riches are deceitful because they blind men from trusting and relying on the Living God, who richly giveth us all things to enjoy, and will supply all of our needs “… according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:19). In closing on this point, I would encourage our readers to study the Laodicean Church in Revelation 3:14-19.
And finally, the last thorn which Jesus said would choke out the Word and keep it from being manifested through our hearts is “the lusts of other things.” 1 John 2:15a says, “Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world…” These “other things” cover a variety of idols that try to reign supreme in our hearts. Maybe it’s a nice car, or a new home. It could even be a ministry or a relationship that you desire that is not in God’s will.
Whatever the case, we must learn to guard our hearts with all diligence. In doing so, we will produce much fruit for God’s Holy Kingdom, and we will find ourselves free from many pains in life that are brought on by a thicket of thorns.