“A farmer went out to sow his seed. … Other seed fell among thorns, which grew up with it and choked the plants.”
“This is the meaning of the parable: The seed is the word of God. … The seed that fell among thorns stands for those who hear, but as they go on their way they are choked by life’s worries, riches and pleasures, and they do not mature.”
If the path represents the parts of my heart that are hardened to the point where I can’t receive God’s Word, and the rocky ground prevents me from growing roots to keep from falling into temptation, then the thorns shift my trust away from God and keep me from maturing in Him.
The thorns are worries, riches, and pleasures. Matthew and Mark group the last two together as, “deceitfulness of wealth.” (Matt. 13:22, Mark 4:19)
When I’m presented with a situation and I don’t know if it will work out, I worry about it. When I decide that I will do whatever I have to do to make more money, because that’s the only way my needs will be met, I’m being deceived.
Both are trust issues, because worry means I don’t trust that God will take care of me. Chasing after money means I don’t trust God will meet all my needs.
Are there areas in my life where I don’t trust God? Because those are the areas where my growth is choked out and I will not mature.
The main trust issue I had after being diagnosed with bipolar disorder was that I couldn’t trust my own thoughts. And if I can’t trust my own thoughts, how can I know if I’m hearing the voice of God or my own voice or the enemy’s voice or the illness’ voice?
How can I make any decisions at all – especially major ones?
Then I heard a teaching on John 10, and I learned that I can fill my mind with God’s Word and then trust that it’s His voice I’m hearing.
“I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me”
“When [the shepherd] has brought out all his own, he goes on ahead of them, and his sheep follow him because they know his voice. But they will never follow a stranger; in fact, they will run away from him because they do not recognize a stranger’s voice.”
I have other sheep that are not of this sheep pen. I must bring them also. They too will listen to my voice, and there shall be one flock and one shepherd.
I am His sheep. I know His voice. I hear His voice. I obey His voice. And I do not listen to the voice of another.
I speak these verses and declarations over myself often. I have prayed, and believed I received – based on these scriptures – that because I hear and know His voice and I don’t listen to other voices, then I can trust my thoughts now.
I can trust that it was God who told me to see a psychiatrist and start taking medication. I can trust that it was God who led me to a recovery group to start walking in more freedom. And I can trust that it was God who told me to start talking to other people about my struggles with mental illness.
Do I still make mistakes sometimes? Of course. I’m not perfect. But His grace and mercy cover me in those cases, because He loves me.
And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for God’s people in accordance with the will of God.
The Holy Spirit is interceding for me.
Who then is the one who condemns? No one. Christ Jesus who died—more than that, who was raised to life—is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us.
Jesus is interceding for me.
Therefore, when I make God’s Word my foundation and I fill my mind with it, I can trust the thoughts that come to mind. And more than that, I can trust that God’s grace and mercy will cover every decision because Jesus and the Holy Spirit are interceding for me.
God’s Word is the foundation for my trust.
I don’t trust my thoughts just because I’m saved or because I go to church on Sundays.
I can trust my thoughts because I have filled my thoughts with His Word and His Truth, and I have invited God to be dominant in my thoughts.
Thorns are strong. They’re sharp and hard to kill.
But God’s Word is stronger.
God has planted His Word in our hearts. He’s the farmer sowing the seed. If you’re saved, you’ve received the seed. If you’re reading His Word, you’re letting that seed put down roots in your life.
We’re human and imperfect, so we’ve also allowed doubts into our hearts and some of them have grown roots and are producing thorns.
The good news is that we don’t have to let those thorns choke out our growth. We can reinforce His Word in our hearts and push away the thorns of doubt.
What is worrying you today? How can God’s Word address that worry and build your trust in Him?
Photo credit: dimitrisvetsikas1969