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Mark 4:7, 18-19

7." And some fell among thorns, and the thorns grew up and choked it, and it yielded no fruit.

18. And these are they which are sown among thorns; such as hear the word,

19. 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."

Thorns are sharp pointy spines or prickles found on the leaves, buds,  stems, or roots of some plants. Generally, the thorns act as deterrents for animals and people.

Verse 7 states that some of the seeds fell among thorns, and the thorns grew up and choked it, and it yielded no fruit.

Verses 18 and 19 supply the application of verse 7. The seed among thorns represents the "thorny-ground" hearers,  who have heard the Word and initially allow it to germinate and grow.  In other words, such persons hear and respond to the Word, and begin to experience spiritual changes in their lives. However, the 'thorns' also start to bombard the hearers of the Word.

The first thorns are the worries of life. There are so many conditions of life that can become perplexing, troubling, and worrisome to the point, that we are robbed of the very essence of living. Life's complexities can be family-related; health-related; financial or even simply being able to manage our time each day. When we give too much time to the worries of life, we can choke the Word and prevent ourselves from enjoying the blessings of having an experiential relationship with God. The solution is found in 1 Peter 5:7, "Cast all your care upon Him; for He cares for you." We must let Jesus take care of our "thorns".

The second set of thorns is material riches. Undoubtedly, we need money in order to exist in this world. That is why we seek employment and become involved in financial investments. The possession of material riches is not a problem.  The problem begins when we put our confidence and trust in our possessions. Like everything else in this life, wealth is fleeting; it is temporary and transitory. We should not allow our quest for wealth to choke the Word, which is eternal and everlasting. The Word enlightens our minds. When we do not embrace the Word, we open ourselves to spiritual darkness.

The third mention of thorns has to do with worldly desires. The pleasures of life, such as partying in accordance with worldly standards and carousing, which is engaging in drunken behaviour, will certainly choke the Word. Wholesome fun which aligns with Godliness is the prescription for us to follow. 2 Timothy 3:4, warns us of the dangers of being lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God - the two cannot co-exist. We must make a choice.

Being thorny-ground hearers means that our spiritual lives are choked. We are spiritually strangled and eventually will be deprived of our spiritual breath, which leads to spiritual death. Jesus wants us to be spiritually alive. We must not let the thorns deter our spirituality. Instead, may we commit our desires to the Holy Spirit, who is willing to rid us of our "thorns".

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The decisions that we make daily are pivotal to who we are and who we will become. Consequently, our lifestyles enable us to mature or ripen into the position of righteousness or unrighteousness.

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