This first link is for the podcast of this blog post:
Here’s the links to the three other segments of modern parable:
Even large memorial stones can be quickly covered over when placed on thorny soils. Those pesky persistent thorns can and will take over anything in their path, just like kudzu. And thistles are just as bad! Talk about being highly competitive – thorns and thistles not only grow fast in size but also in maturity. Since they reach an early maturity, they can often produce seeds earlier and in more abundance of other plants, thereby, out-competing the present and future generations of something purposefully planted in a thorny soil.
Just as thorns and thistles choke out other plants in their space in a field, we can see the same in our lives. Distractions, disordered loves, and “don’t hurt nobody” sins choke out seeds of righteousness planted in the lives of those with thorny soil souls. All too easily a thorn or thistle seed of discontent can germinate, sprout up, and take over a life of good soil that was previously ready for planting and harvest with good seeds of righteousness. Proverbs 22:5 captures this idea with Thorns and snares are in the way of the crooked; whoever guards his soul will keep far from them. It’s not enough for me to submit to stone removal or protect from compaction in the soil of my soul. I must always be on guard watching for those opportunistic thorns and thistles of envy, greed, and discontent trying to grow in the corners or on the fencerows of my life.
Even if thorny or thistly sins are only growing in the corners or on the fencerows, they are always making seed that will be disseminated far and wide in my life and outwards into others. They are also sending pervasive roots deep down that will also grow outwards from their source and pop up in unexpected places with blooms of evil, regret, and guilt. Likewise, thorns and thistles, be it in the natural or spiritual soil, can be carriers or promoters of disease and insect infestation resulting in even more loss of fruit to be harvested and further destruction of good soil.
Complete thorn or thistle removal from a soil often requires drastic measures. Herbicide application to clean-kill them is usually only a stop-gap measure for a growing season’s worth of control. Burning or plowing is often necessary for eradication of thorns and thistles. I’ve found that I must similarly enact drastic measures in my life for eradicating thorny thistle sins from the soil of my soul. Such choices as fasting from social media, TV, and the internet burns up discontent like nothing else can for me. Likewise, dedicated times for prayer, meditation, and Scripture study plow deep and turn up the roots of greed and envy in sharp distinctive furrows in my day. This soil scientist is always amazed at just how much trash of thorns and thistles is present in my soul even overnight, much less from a week ago.
It’s hard work to burn and plow the fields of my faith because the easy choice is to deceive myself that the little bit of less than absolute Christ-following won’t hurt anybody. It’s also hard work ever-tending the corners and fencerows in guard against the creeping-in of something less than holy truth (see 1 Timothy 6:20). My will and strength are often bloody and exhausted from the need to pull up completely these thorny and thistly sins that do their best to grow deep in the corners trying to hide from the plow of God’s Word.
Don’t even get me started on how hard it is to extend this work into others’ lives via intercessory prayer, gentle and timely rebukes, and standing alongside in hope and encouragement as they do the hard work of thorn and thistle removal from their lives (see 1 Timothy 2:1, Proverbs 17:10, and Exodus 17:12-13) …
Please take some time to go and read Matthew chapter 13 where Jesus talks about the story of the seed, soil, and sower that this modern parable was based upon. And if you already know this story, you’re probably asking the question about this series of blog posts on a modern parable – “if this is the last excerpt, when are you going to talk about the good soil referred to in Matthew 13?” My response to your question is as follows: good soil is the focus and hope of every chapter in Volumes 1 and 2 of Good Ground, so grab a copy of both of these books and read for yourself about cultivating the gift of good ground in the soil of your soul…
I surely hope that you’ve been encouraged by all of the segments in this modern parable series of excerpts from Good Ground, Volume 2. And it goes without saying, that I surely hope you’ll be encouraged by all of the chapters in Good Ground, Volumes 1 and 2. (Volume 1 available now for purchase on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Walmart, and other online book distributors. Volume 2 is coming very soon!)
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written by and copyrighted to Beth Madison, Ph.D., 2022