The Sower, Part 3—Strangling the Word | Mark 4:7, 18–19

Other seed fell among thorns, and the thorns grew up and choked it, and it yielded no grain. …

18 And others are the ones sown among thorns. They are those who hear the word, 19 but the cares of the world and the deceitfulness of riches and the desires for other things enter in and choke the word, and it proves unfruitful.

The Word must be in soil to grow, and it must take root in a person’s heart.   Even so, thorns and thistles can arise in the heart before the Word can bear fruit, and these weeds strangle its life.  The person who doesn’t engage in some gardening in their souls remains unaware of the life God provides.

The weed of worldly cares strangles the life of the Word.  If we put our hand to the plow and turn back, more concerned for what came before, then we lack transformation through the Word.  Jesus reminds us of this with His simple command, “Remember Lot’s wife” (Lk 17:32).  Those who seek friendship with the world war against the things of God (Js 4:4).

The weed of deceitful riches strangles the life of the Word.  It’s not a sin to be rich or to be poor.  In either situation, though, seeking filthy lucre saps any spiritual signs of life within the soul.  A desire to be rich is a snare, and “the love of money is a root of all kinds of evils” (1 Tm 6:9–10).  You can’t serve God and money (Mt 6:24).

The weed of other lusts strangles the life of the Word.  Other desires can fill the soul of man, robbing him of scriptural life.  Whether a lust for power, women, drugs, or a certain kind of lifestyle, idols crowd the heart of man.  It doesn’t matter if you’re a Christian or not, be warned that “desire when it has conceived gives birth to sin, and sin when it is fully grown brings forth death” (Js 1:15).

It’s not that gardening the soul produces salvation more holiness before God, for only faith in the grace of Jesus Christ accomplishes this.  Yet, just as the lack of proper landscaping indicates a senseless sluggard (Pv 24:30–31), the kind of faith lacking works indicates spiritual death (Js 2:26).  If a person is truly a born-again Christian, let him demonstrate it by allowing the implanted Word to bear fruit by becoming a doer of the Word (Js 1:21–22).  

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