And some fell among thorns; and the thorns sprung up, and choked them: … He also that received seed among the thorns is he that heareth the word; and the care of this world, and the deceitfulness of riches, choke the word, and he becometh unfruitful.Matthew 13:7, 22
And some fell among thorns, and the thorns grew up, and choked it, and it yielded no fruit. … And these are they which are sown among thorns; such as hear the word, And the cares of this world, and the deceitfulness of riches, and the lusts of other things entering in, choke the word, and it becometh unfruitful.Mark 4:7, 18-19
And some fell among thorns; and the thorns sprang up with it, and choked it. … And that which fell among thorns are they, which, when they have heard, go forth, and are choked with cares and riches and pleasures of this life, and bring no fruit to perfection.Luke 8:7, 14
The 21st Century is a busy era, but we are not special in that regard. There have always been distractions of life that confront the disciples of Christ.
The third type of hearer in Jesus’ parable was once fruitful. This means that he had been committed to a deeper devotion to God in personal and public worship. However, he has allowed the distractions of the world to cause his devotion to deteriorate. Where he was once deeply devoted, he now devotes little or no time to his service to God.
Modern “Christianity” teaches that personal wealth is a sign of the blessing of God in someone’s life. The Bible does not teach this principle. In fact, Jesus says that one of the main causes of becoming unfruitful is because we have been deceived into following after personal wealth or gain.
Other distractions that draw us away from bearing fruit could include hobbies, careers, or even family. We may think that we can balance these different aspects of our lives and still serve the Lord, but compartmentalizing our lives is not a Biblical principle. Further, Jesus says we can’t do it!
No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon. Matthew 6:24
So, it is not a matter of whether or not we should try to compartmentalize our discipleship. Jesus flat out says we CANNOT do it!
To avoid having the word of God fall among thorns in our lives, we should examine our lives for distractions. Then, we should make concerted efforts to remove or overcome those distractions. These distractions may be difficult to recognize unless we consider my next point. We are very selfish beings by nature. We often choose what we do based upon our own desires or pleasures. But let’s consider how Luke words this in his gospel account above. God intends for us to bring fruit to perfection. This means full of fruit. But what does that look like?
No man hath seen God at any time. If we love one another, God dwelleth in us, and his love is perfected in us. 1st John 4:12
Perfect fruit is borne when the love of God is perfected in us. This happens when we are devoted to serving others in order to love and serve God.
If we devote our lives to serving the Lord by serving others, then we will not be as tempted to follow the cares of the world.