Friday, January 8th

Friday, January 8th

Other seed fell among thorns that grew up with it and choked out the tender plants .... The seeds that fell among the thorns represent those who hear the message, but all too quickly the message is crowded out by the cares and riches and pleasures of this life. And so they never grow into maturity. Luke 8:7, 14

Today's thoughts from today's verses:

This week we have been looking at discipleship and the hard work it requires. Our goal has been to set the stage for improvement in our discipleship in the coming year as well as give ourselves a better foundation for all the areas of life that require hard work, but particularly those areas that will be addressed over the next few weeks (dealing with time, finances, relationships).

We continue today with the parable of the sower. You will recall that throughout the parable the soil represents people, the seed represents God's word, and the sower represents God. In contrast to the good soil we looked at the other day there are three bad soils in the parable. Each of these bad soils help us understand more fully the true cost of discipleship. Today's Scripture gives us the third bad soil and the explanation of what this soil represents. The third bad soil is "thorny soil."

Our first bad soil was the "hard soil." The external influence of people who walked on the soil both before and after the seed was sown was the primary problem associated with the "hard soil." The dilemma that follows is that the "hard soil" does not allow the seed that was sown to germinate and come to life. Our second bad soil was the "rocky soil." The problem of the rocky soil is an internal one because the rocks exist within the soil itself even before the seed was sown. While there is enough soil available to allow the seed to germinate and come to life, the actual problem is the competition the seed has to contend with when the rocks get in the way of the seed sending its roots down to the sufficient level it needs to grow into a healthy plant.

What is the primary problem associated with the seed falling on "thorny soil?" Notice these words from today's Scripture: "seed fell among thorns that grew up with it." If the thorns grew up with the seed, then the growth of the thorns happened after the seed was sown. The inference is that the sower's seed fell among ground that also had unseen thorn seeds present. We can understand how the sower's seed could inadvertently land on the footpath and how it would be sown on soil where the rocks where hidden beneath the surface of the soil, but it would not be reasonable for one who was sowing seed to sow where gown thorn plants were already present.

There are several things we are given in today's Scripture that help us understand how a person can be like thorny soil. Like with the rocky soil, the seed experiences competition from the thorny soil. However, with the rocky soil the competition was with the roots that were trying to go down. With the thorny soil the competition is with the shoots that are trying to go up. The result is that the shoots of thorn seeds "choked out" the shoots of the sower's seed.

What is it that makes a person similar to this bad soil with its bad outcome? This kind of person has become spiritually alive (not "hard soil") through the provision of the forgiveness of sins and eternal salvation. This kind of  person understands (their roots are growing down into the soil) that they were saved in order to be a disciple of Christ who will seek to embrace and not resist the changes that will need to be made in their life (not "rocky soil). However, this kind of person ("thorny soil") does not realize what he is up against in regard to the "choking" nature of the world system that is all around him.

Today's Scripture is very clear about the "choking" nature of the world system that stops the upward growth of our spiritual lives so that we "never grow into maturity." The world system includes the cares (worry and stress) of this world, the riches of this world, and the pleasures of this world. We desperately need the help of God's people in full measure right from the start of our Christian journey. Through close involvement with others who are ahead of us in the journey (small groups) we will be helped to see what we are really up against and we will have a support system that will foster our spiritual growth as we are powerfully helped to overcome the world system that is all around us.

Today's prayer response from today's thoughts:

Lord, I want to be one whose roots go down deep, who grows spiritually tall and strong, and whose life produces a tremendous harvest. Please connect me with yourself and your people like never before. Help me to be "good soil" for your honor and glory. I give myself to you in order to live fully for you and not for myself. Amen!

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