What are the Thorns
Other seed fell among the thorns, and they grew up and choked it, and it did not produce grain.
[Mark 4:7 NET]
The thorns had been chopped off, but their roots were still in the ground. Then as the seed began to grow, so did the thorns; and growing faster and more rankly than the wheat, they soon choked it out, so that it came to nothing in the end. What are these thorns? Our Lord says they are “the cares of this world, and the deceitfulness of riches.” “Cares” are anxieties, distractions, worries. Martha was in danger of having the good seed in her heart choked out by her distracting thoughts about her household affairs. Many a promising Christian life has been dwarfed and stunted from the same cause. “The deceitfulness of riches:” thousands of spiritual lives have been starved into ghostly leanness by the desire for riches. “The lust of other things entering in, choke the word.” We have all seen people who began well; but as cares multiplied or riches increased, their zeal waned. We need, however, to look to our own hearts, and we shall probably have enough to do if we keep out all the thorns and weeds in the one little garden committed to us.
Jesus did not say these people are not Christians, but that they “bring no fruit to perfection.” The distractions of this life, the deceitfulness of riches, the lusts of others things, entering in, choke the spiritual life, stunting its graces. They lose the sweet comforts of a healthy faith. The fruits of the Spirit in them are shrivelled. They may go on working in the church, preaching, teaching, praying; but the life is wanting. What is the lesson? This: we need to watch without ceasing these hearts of ours, and let no weed or brier grown there for a day. Sometimes God himself does the weeding. He lifts out of the bosom the earthly object that is absorbing all the heart’s love. The process is sore, but the results are full of blessing.