Things that choke – Part I
“The one who received the seed that fell among the thorns is the man who hears the word, but the worries of this life and the deceitfulness of wealth choke it, making it unfruitful.” NIV
No doubt we have all heard the parable of the sower many times before. As with all things that we hear over and over again, we tend to remember the story but miss the message behind it.
In this parable, Jesus was reminding us that the word of God is only going to benefit us to the extent that we receive it, obey it and allow it to have its way in our lives. It will flourish and abound, to our great benefit, if we are careful with it, if we give it the priority and attention it deserves. It’s not enough to hear or know the words – what makes the difference is acting upon it and living it out.
Jesus was warning us that if we are not careful, the Message of the Gospel that was sown in our hearts can be rendered impotent and unfruitful. The Word of God is deprived of its transformative power in hard and unyielding hearts. It is only when the life of God is allowed to flourish in the soul of man can the purpose of God prosper in the life of man.
And what are these things that choke the life of God in the soul of man? Whatever we allow to come between us and our relationship with God – it maybe money, it may be ambition, it may be a lifestyle choice – can quickly quench the spirit and render us spiritually unproductive.
Thorns are a fact of life. Everybody has to deal with them. They start small but can quickly overwhelm all that is good and beautiful if they are ignored. To stay free of the thorns, we have to work at it everyday in all the situations of life, making the choice to choose what is righteous and true over what might be convenient and easy. It means staying faithful to God no matter the cost. When all is said and done, it really comes down to choosing whether to give place in our lives to the thorns that choke or to the Spirit that gives life.
We have a choice to make then: whether to yield to God or to turn away. If we truly desire to live the God-ordained life and enjoy the blessings of Almighty God, there is no other way but to be always yielded to the word of God. The Holy Spirit is always planting the word of God, the will of God, in our hearts and inviting us to obey and walk in rhythm and harmony with Him.
And God is forever contending with us; His Spirit is always urging and encouraging us upward and onward. He’ll use whatever situations or circumstances we face to get our attention, to draw us back to Him. He’ll fight us all the way if necessary, because He cares too much to leave us to the mercy of the thorns.
How tragic then that so many never go on to be all that God intended them to be. They never enter into the full calling of God upon their lives, never take hold of their destiny because they hear but never yield, know but never do, believe but never live it out. They refuse to give up what they cannot keep rather than take hold of what they cannot lose.
I don’t know about you but the parable of the sower creates in me a fresh awareness of thorns and its destructive power. It reminds me that little things can often have major consequences, that the little thorns I allow to gain a foothold in my life today can eventually render me unfruitful and keep me from God’s best. The parable of the sower is the Spirit of God pleading with me, and you, not to allow anything to get in the way of our relationship with God, to keep our lives free from entanglements that choke the life of God in us.