Meditation for Monday

And some fell among thorns, and the thorns sprung up and choked them. Matthew 13:7

Behind my garage is an unfinished area in which grows weeds and very little real grass. I try to keep the weeds knocked down so it doesn’t look too scruffy. But off to one side of that patch grows a huge thistle. It is a handsome big plant with broad leaves and a deep green colour, and I have allowed it to grow as I trim the other weeds around it. But much as I like that thistle’s looks, I avoid touching it, because it has long, sharp spines. Nobody hugs a thistle plant, and few people even like them, because of their prickly nature. They are part of the curse that was placed on the ground because of our Great-Grandpa Adam’s sin. They continue to exist and torment gardeners because of our sin. They represent the cares of this world and the deceitfulness of riches that choke out the Word of God. That applies to saint and sinner alike.

There is a reason why thistles grow in a garden; the gardener fails to root them out. The gardener allows the thistles to coexist with the vegetables. There is a reason why the cares and deceitfulness of riches plague the life of a Christian; the Christian allows those things to remain as part of his life, to coexist along with the things of the Lord. Too many of the activities of life interfere with time that should be spent in prayer and meditation on the Word of God. Too many of the world’s opportunities interfere with the pursuit of Gospel work and contributions to the work of the Lord. Too many of the friends of the world take the place of fellowshipping with the Lord’s people. All those thorns and thistles mean that such a Christian’s life accomplishes very little in terms of spiritual progress.

It’s not easy to pull out and eliminate all the thistles that grow in a garden. Those roots run deep, and it takes some digging and hard work. But it can be done with some persistence and with a desire to see the garden free of the prickly weeds. In the same way, it is possible for Christians to get rid of the cares and temptations that threaten our ability to be happy and fruitful Christians. We need to be aware of those things that interfere with our enjoyment of the things of God, and we need to deliberately and systematically eliminate those things from our lives. When we do this, we allow the Word of God to feed and encourage us, we allow the people of God to cheer and support us, and we allow the Spirit of God to guide and control us.

Thorns and thistles are part of the curse of sin. By eliminating them from our lives, we return to the joy of the garden of God’s presence. -Jim MacIntosh

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