The fact is, God’s math is different from ours, and it involves an agricultural picture story.
I used to picture thorns as scraggly brown, ugly branches that scare you from a mile away. You know, like the kind that surrounded Rapunzel’s tower and ended up gouging the prince’s eyes out? Or the kind that enclosed Sleeping Beauty’s castle to keep her prince from breaking through? That kind. (Yeah, I loved reading fairy tales growing up. Can you tell?)
Those kinds of thorns are menacing and ugly enough to make any sensible woman want to cut them down. They’re an eyesore, after all.
But the surprising reality is that thorns can also be lush green bushes that sometimes even have little white or pink flowers on them (like this one). They look promising, and maybe kind of pretty from far away, but in the end thorn bushes produce nothing but thorns and leaves, and even worse, they kill any other plant that lives around them.
The one who received the seed that fell among thorns is the man who hears the Word but the worries of this life and the deceitfulness of wealth choke it, making it unfruitful.
I didn’t understand this part of Jesus’ parable of the sower and the seed until I realized that the thorns He was speaking of were probably the lush, green variety. And it was then that I recognized my own heart was being overrun by thorns. That would explain why my fervor for Jesus had waned and why I preferred browsing Pinterest for dinner ideas to digging into the Word for Real Food.
Here’s the thing with thorns: my heart garden patch looked productive because it had green stuff growing in it. I was reading the Bible, singing worship songs, writing devotionals, leading a Bible study, and living an all-around good Christian life. But all those activities co-existed with my other pursuits, the ones that really got my attention: learning about online businesses, reading everything I could about entrepreneurship and online marketing, pouring my time and energy into products that were going to be marketable.
And though I was busy from sunrise to well after midnight, there wasn’t much fruit to show for my labor.
Sure, there were leaves and pretty flowers, things that might fool others (and even myself) into thinking I was being productive. But my love for Jesus was being choked by worries, greed, and the pleasures of this world.
It’s hard for me to admit that.
(I wrote those paragraphs, erased them, and wrote them again. Pride is ugly that way. It makes me want you to think the best of me, even when the best is untrue. I’m right here with you, sisters, struggling with letting thorns overrun my garden patch.)
But this post isn’t about me and it’s not even about how to DO more; it’s about turning our eyes to the Gardener who stands ready to help weed our hearts so that we can experience His work in our lives.
The amazing grace of Jesus is that we’re not a hopeless cause. He desires to till up the soil of our hearts, to cut down the thorns, remove the stones, pull out the weeds, and shoo away the birds so that we experience the fruitful harvest that He longs for us to have, thirty, sixty, and even a hundred times the seed that was planted.
Yes, weeds and thorns will always try to grow back in a garden patch, but they must be cut down and pulled out before they take root. I need to regularly confess sins and ask God to examine my heart if I want to experience deep intimacy with Him.
Which begs the question: what thorns are growing in my life? What is stealing my time, my attention, and my energy with its incessant needs? What is keeping me from focusing on Jesus, pursuing intimacy with Him, and opening my heart to His Spirit to work freely?
Spend time with God today asking those questions, and He will begin to reveal to you what the thorns are that keep you from experiencing intimacy with Him. Ask Him to cut down the thorns, to uproot the weeds, and to plant His Word in your heart so that you may experience