Yanking the Thorns

Mark 4:18–19

WHAT DO THORNS REPRESENT IN SCRIPTURE? Prickly issues that steal our joy, confidence, and progress in our faith. Jesus’ own words describe the menace of thorns to our spiritual vitality.

The seed that fell among the thorns represents others who hear God’s word, but all too quickly the message is crowded out by the worries of this life, the lure of wealth, and the desire for other things, so no fruit is produced.

MARK 4:18–19

Thorns are lethal to our spiritual growth.

Period. No ifs, ands, or buts. The thorns are dictators. They know nothing of peaceful coexistence with the life of freedom and victory. Their long, sharp points keep annoying us. They play no favorites. They paint a picture in 3-D: disturbance, deception, discontentment. They demand first place as they siphon every ounce of your interest in spiritual things and reduce you to an ineffective and unproductive loser.

Are you a worrier? Has the greenback made you greedy? Is it next to impossible to be satisfied with your present situation? If so, this is not new to you—you’ve been stuck by those thorns since your soil first received God’s seed . . . and if the truth were known, you inwardly enjoy their presence. It’s risky to abandon your entire life to God by faith. You’d rather worry . . . and possess . . . and complain than rest and release and rejoice. The thorns inject a powerful anesthesia.

Why do so many Christians live among thorns? Because we have a quiet, respectable, secret love for them. I know . . . I’ve got the ugly scars to prove it. Each one is a mute reminder of the years I stood trapped in the thicket. Periodically I still must yank a few.

I’ve never heard of such, but I’d like to proclaim today as our personal thorn-pulling day. We may bleed and it may hurt . . . but, oh, the beauty of a thornless day. How sweet it is!

Devotional content taken from Good Morning, Lord . . . Can We Talk? by Charles R. Swindoll. Copyright © 2018. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, a division of Tyndale House Ministries. All rights reserved. The full devotional can be purchased at tyndale.com.

Posted in Stewardship, Worry and tagged .

Accuracy, clarity, and practicality all describe the Bible-teaching ministry of Charles R. Swindoll. Chuck is the chairman of the board at Insight for Living and the chancellor of Dallas Theological Seminary. Chuck also serves as the senior pastor of Stonebriar Community Church in Frisco, Texas, where he is able to do what he loves most—teach the Bible to willing hearts. His focus on practical Bible application has been heard on the Insight for Living radio broadcast since 1979.