The Thorns of Life
As for what fell among the thorns, they are those who hear, but as they go on their way they are choked by the cares and riches and pleasures of life, and their fruit does not mature. Luke 8:14
Am I living the way I’m supposed to be? Am I living as God intended? If you can answer yes, then this entry may not be for you. If, however, like me, you have struggled with being who you are meant to be, then read on, asking and answering.
Today’s passage was the one I read the day I got out of chemical dependency treatment five years ago. It had a profound impact on me at the time as I realized it accurately addressed my condition and my problem. In the parable, Jesus described the word of God as a seed scattered onto different types of soils. The seed that fell among the thorns almost perfectly described my life. I’ve heard the word of God. I’ve believed the word. There’s just so much other stuff – thorns – in life that distracts me from living out the word.
What are these thorns? Jesus said that first, it’s often simply the cares of life. We’re busy people. We’ve got jobs and kids and we often just don’t find time in the day to sit down to read and pray. For many, busy is the insidious addiction that distracts from God.
Second, Jesus described money as a potential problem. We all need money, but some of us pursue it above all, even God. How much time do we expend making money and how much time do we put into loving God and neighbor? For many of us, money is the addiction that distracts from an authentic life.
Finally, Jesus says that for many of us, our problem is pleasure. Food, pornography, chemicals. Many of us have become addicted to these pursuits, paralyzing ourselves spiritually. We start out chasing something we desire, but that thing eventually enslaves us, robbing us of the life for which God made us.
What are we to do? If we want to live differently, Christ has provided the freedom to do so. In daily doing whatever it takes to surrender ourselves and follow him, we can live free from the thorns that choke our spiritual life. We don’t save ourselves. He’s already done that. Now however, we must respond by daily abandoning our way to follow his.