Maybe it wasn’t a wise confession, but it was an honest moment and cry for help and strength. From my mouth to God’s ears came the words,

I feel like I’m choking!

These words expressed my heart in a highly pressurized moment. Choking — that feeling of life closing in along with the tension between present obstacles and future dreams. In the hours following I gave no extra thought to those words. But when my eyes opened the next morning, my words rang in my ears.

I feel like I’m choking.

I knew God intended this moment for revelation. When I stumble upon God like this (which is often, the way my brain works!), I go to the scripture first. And the only references for choking were — get this — THE PARABLE OF THE SOWER (See Matthew 13:22 and Mark 4:19).

thorny ground

The seed (= the Word) that fell on thorny ground was choked from producing…by the thorns. The seed became unfruitful because of the thorns.

As soon as I read these verses I received hope and insight. I worried about the thorns, and if I continued to worry about the thorns then I cut off my fruitfulness (my true heart’s desire).

What are the thorns?

#1: WORRIES OF THE WORLD

aka worldly cares (NET)

aka worries of this life (NIV)

In other words, plain old life creates concerns. Our overemphasis on need, lack or want in daily life opens us up to anxiety and fear. We get to a tormented place where the hamster wheel summons us to get busy going nowhere — just keep moving to make more, so we create ability to do more, that makes us more…and so on. This thorn chokes the Word in our hearts. Our efforts become self-defeating because what we desire by faith we cut off by worry. I’ll say it for all of us: OUCH.

#2: THE DECEITFULNESS OF RICHES

aka the seductiveness of wealth (NET)

aka the lure of wealth (NLT)

aka the delight in riches (RSV)

What will we do to get more money? How far will we go to acquire wealth? Can we be bought? Bribed? Persuaded to remove our focus from God? OF COURSE WE CAN….because we do. We get caught up in the pursuit of “greater” and entangle ourselves with the root of all evil — our love of money (See 1 Timothy 6:10). When this happens we can separate from the faith.

#3: DESIRES FOR OTHER THINGS 

aka the lusts of other things (KJV)

aka the desire for other things (NET)

We worry about what we lack or need. Then we become prey for the seducing power of wealth…because money answers all things, right (See Ecclesiastes 10:19)?! If our love of money overrules the Word of faith, then here we are open to other desires.

Wow! All of these enter in and choke the Word of God in us, and stunt fruitfulness.

I pray my experience enlightens you. When the pressures overwhelm to the point of entertaining options that draw us from faith, let the value of faith kick in! Let your mind travel to HOW LONG you believed for this need or that, and let time invested overrule the thorns! Amen saints? AMEN.

Love to all.

Image: thorny ground

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