Today's verses are Mark 4:18,19: "And the others are the ones sown among thorns. They are those who hear the word, but the cares of the world and the deceitfulness of riches and the desires for other things enter in and choke the word, and it proves unfruitful." This is the third kind of heart into which the word of God enters. It's like a seed falling into thorny soil. In this kind of soil, the seed needs all the nutrients of the soil to grow and become fruitful. However, the thorns demand these same nutrients. There are more thorns than the seed. Therefore, the thorns soak all the nutrients from the earth and the seed is left with nothing and eventually dies.
So it is with our hearts. When the word of God enters, it needs a heart solely fixed on Jesus and his kingdom. However, when there are other emphases, other "gods", other idols that "soak up" our time and interests, God's word cannot grow and eventually dies.
In fact, Jesus gives us those other interests that too often consume our hearts:
1. The cares of this world. These are are constant, incessant worries about life. Our mind dwells on them. We don't give them to God and entrust them to him. This worry, these cares, drain the spiritual energy needed for the word of God to lodge deep within and bear fruit. Worry then kills the seed of the word of God.
2. The deceitfulness of riches. The word "deceit" can also be translated "lie". It's the lie that riches can satisfy the deepest longings of our hearts. We keep seeking for more and more riches. Our hearts are never content with what we have. It's the American lie: "If I only had _________ then I'd be happy." The energy that is needed to satisfy the idol of "more" cannot be used to nurture the seed of the Word of God. Therefore, the seed eventually dies.
3. The desires of other things. I'm certain Jesus left this phrase purposefully ambiguous so we could fill in the blank. It's every other idol, every other thing in life except our passion for God and his word. Anything that demands our life energies except God can kill the word of God in our hearts and keep it from becoming fruitful in our lives.
Do a heart check today. Be honest. Is there anything you love more than God? Become quiet for five minutes. To where do your thoughts go? Is there incessant worry within? Are you driven to make more and more money, to have more and more possessions? Have you bought the lie that riches satisfy for eternity?
Jesus warns all of us of the dangers of a crowded heart. God wants the first, sole and primary place in our hearts. Today, make sure you relinquish all to Jesus. Seek first his kingdom. Be generous with God's gifts he has loaned you. Don't allow anything to usurp God's rightful place in your hearts!
Only you know if that is true. But I'm certain you do know!