I recently read a quote from Peter Greer in which he said, “We need to remember that Jesus clearly said, ‘Apart from me you can do nothing.’ Jesus didn’t say little. He said nothing.”
“Listen! A farmer went out to plant some seeds. As he scattered them across his field, some seeds fell on a footpath, and the birds came and ate them. Other seeds fell on shallow soil with underlying rock. The seeds sprouted quickly because the soil was shallow. But the plants soon wilted under the hot sun, and since they didn’t have deep roots, they died. Other seeds fell among thorns that grew up and choked out the tender plants. Still other seeds fell on fertile soil, and they produced a crop that was thirty, sixty, and even a hundred times as much as had been planted” (Matthew 13:3–8, NLT).
Many people hear the parable of the sower and think they are like the fertile soil that provides the perfect conditions for production. But, in reality, their lives are overgrown with thorns—the cares and worries of life overcrowd any potential growth.
The Cares of Life
These cares and worries look different for each person. I personally came face-to-face with some of mine during a recent prayer session. I told God, “I want to experience the completeness,” looking ahead to a desire and dream I’ve had in my heart for years. I quickly heard Him respond, “Then stop settling for the substitute.”God has good plans for us, and He doesn’t want us settling for cheap substitutes that hinder us from fulfilling our purpose in His kingdom. Click To Tweet
There’s nothing like a direct word from God to gently, but firmly, put you in place. I realized I have been allowing my life be filled with habits, tasks, and even hopes that fall short of what God has for me. Those things might not necessarily be bad, but I’ve allowed them to consume valuable space in my life that God wants to use for something else.
What if we’re holding onto something because we’re used to it?
But what if God wants to give us something new, and we don’t have the room to accept it because we’re clinging to the old thing?
We’ve built dreams and hopes around it. We want it to work out, so we allow it to grow in our gardens, consume nutrients, and establish roots. But what if God wants to give us something new, and we don’t have the room to accept it because we’re clinging to the old thing?
God has good plans for us, and He doesn’t want us settling for cheap substitutes that hinder us from fulfilling our purpose in His kingdom. While those substitutes might not be sinful, they’re not what we need to thrive and produce fruit in the season ahead of us.
God asks us to prune those things from our lives, let them go, and make room for what He has for us. In this process, we might even find that the things we thought we were holding onto actually have a tight hold on us. Those thorns wrapped themselves around us, restricting progress and healthy growth.
What does this look like practically? For me, it can reflect in how I spend my time. I have dreams and aspirations to minister through writing. And sometimes I allow fear, doubt, and disappointment to lead me to lethargy to a point where I choose to do something easier, mindless or distracting. The cares of this world choke out my fruit for God’s kingdom, and I learn—or relearn—I can’t do this on my own.
Stay Connected to Jesus
I recently read a quote from Peter Greer in which he said, “We need to remember that Jesus clearly said, ‘Apart from me you can do nothing.’ Jesus didn’t say little. He said nothing.” The verse Greer mentions is found in John 15:15. Jesus spoke about the vine and the branches. This passage is both beautiful and eye-opening because it details just how much we rely on Him.
“Remain in me, and I will remain in you. For a branch cannot produce fruit if it is severed from the vine, and you cannot be fruitful unless you remain in me” (John 15:4, NLT).
To produce fruit for God’s kingdom, we need to remain connected to the source of life—Jesus. We cannot allow thorns to cut off that connection. And those thorns won’t just go away. If we’re not careful, they’ll grow bigger and more unruly.
We must spend time with the master gardener and ask Him to reveal the thorns in our lives.
We must spend time with the master gardener and ask Him to reveal the thorns in our lives. Then we must work with Him to remove them, trusting Him to know which parts to cut away and how to do it. We should evaluate how we spend our time, assess our priorities (Matthew 6:33), examine our hearts and minds (Psalm 26:2), and set up boundaries to guard our hearts.
As we remove those thorns, we make way for new fruit that glorifies God. “When you produce much fruit, you are my true disciples. This brings great glory to my Father” (John 15:8, NLT).
Jen English writes for More to Life.
Resources and Links
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