“Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.” Proverbs 4:23
Yesterday, we introduced two people from the story of ‘The Sower’ found in Matthew 13. One individual either rejects the Gospel (an atheist) or has never been exposed to God’s truth. The other receives Jesus, but bases the relationship on emotions rather than biblical truth. In both situations, roots aren’t established and fruit isn’t produced.
The most significant factor in determining whether God’s seed will take root, flourish, and produce a crop (without being snatched away from the enemy) is the very foundation to which the seed is cast.
And that foundation is our hearts. Through this passage, I believe God the Father is challenging us to take a much deeper look into the true condition of our hearts.
Will you accept that challenge?
Let’s continue the story.
In Matthew 13:22, Jesus introduces another individual in His teaching: “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.”
This is the third person of the story.
Personally, I believe this is where many Christians are today, and please hear me out on this. First, this individual is in a much better place to receive God’s word. The foundation of their heart isn’t rock, where only shallow plants can grow, but it is actually soil. This person is not only a believer of Jesus Christ, but they also carry a desire to heed to His instruction (as he receives the seed and hears the Word). Yet, there’s another seed that’s been cast onto this same heart, and over time this foreign seed produced a bundle of thorns.
Thorns hurt. They prick us and slow us down. When they aren’t uprooted, they will indefinitely choke the very fruit we are trying to produce through the Word of God (the seed cast by Jesus).
What’s happening here?
The enemy cast his own seed onto the heart of this believer, and it unfortunately sprouted into a bushel of death. Thorns are strongholds. They are lies that we believe about ourselves that prevent us from becoming the men and women God has called us to be.
“For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Romans 6:23
Every sin in mankind can always be traced to a seed sown by the enemy that has taken root in the heart. This is why an individual can attend a wonderful church service and feel on fire for God, but still struggle with alcoholism or a porn addiction. This is also why an individual can desire God’s truth, but still idolize money and the approval of man by splurging on excessively expensive items that aren’t true needs.
“You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.” Ephesians 4:22-24
Thorns are what keep us from reaching our highest potential through Christ.
And in one single prayer to the Most High God, those harmful thorns can be completely obliterated. It’s all a choice. And it’s ours to make.
“Seek the LORD while he may be found; call on him while he is near.” Isaiah 55:6
“In your unfailing love, silence my enemies; destroy all my foes, for I am your servant.” Psalm 143:12
“I am the LORD, the God of all mankind. Is anything too hard for me?” Jeremiah 32:27
“Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.” James 4:7
In closing, this last individual discussed in Matthew 13:23 is living the life God intended for him, which is where we all want to be.
“But the one who received the seed that fell on good soil is the man who hears the word and understands it. He produces a crop, yielding a hundred, sixty, or thirty times what was sown.”
Through the grace of Jesus, we all can yield an abundant crop lasting well into eternity.
Will you allow Him to purge your heart so His seed can grow, producing a harvest of righteousness in you?
“For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.” Ephesians 2:8-9
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