Now he who received Seed among the thorns is he who hears the Word, and the cares of this world and the deceitfulness of riches choke the Word, and he becomes unfruitful.
He who loves father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me. And he who loves son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me.
Adam loved Eve more than God's law. Samson loved Delilah more than God's gift. Eli loved his sons more than the sanctity of the priesthood.
King Herod loved his stepdaughter's dance more than John the Baptist's head. Martha loved her work more than Jesus' company--for a moment. Pilate loved popularity more than justice. Sapphira loved Ananias more than the truth.
A thorny heart is a torn and crowded heart. If the heart represents our life, Jesus said it can be choked with riches. But it can also be choked with cares: a.k.a. misplaced priorities--including people, family and work.
Loving anyone or anything more than God is idol worship--even your husband, wife or children. Judging from the mistakes of some Bible heroes, that's a hard lesson to learn. So, copy the ultimate Man in this regard: Jesus. He's the only One Who got everything right.
'Jesus would not entrust himself to them, for he knew all people' (John 2:24). 'I do not receive honor from men' (John 5:41).
So how can a modern-day saint keep a healthy heart in Babylon? Do what Daniel did. Put God first. Meet Him in prayer at the beginning, the middle and the end of each day.
Make decisions based on Him, not them--whoever he, she or they are. Because the difference between love and lust is thorns. If you put too much focus on anything but God, it will stick you--as small as a prick or as big as a dagger in the heart.
What if your heart is already crowded with thorns, a.k.a. loved ones or concerns? Repent, 'Casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you' (1 Peter 5:7). Give Him your busyness, your worries and your family: the ones you're tempted to love too much and the ones you're tempted to hate.
Therein is a thorny heart cleared.
'I believe firmly that the moment our hearts are emptied of pride and selfishness and ambition and everything that is contrary to God's law, the Holy Spirit will fill every corner of our hearts. But if we are full of pride and conceit and ambition and the world, there is no room for the Spirit of God. We must be emptied before we can be filled' (D.L. Moody).
To Be Continued...
P.S. To read the other devotions in this series, please see the Heart Conditions series.