26 JUNE 365 Days with Calvin

Uprooting the Thorns

He also that received seed among the thorns is he that heareth the word; and the care of this world, and the deceitfulness of riches, choke the word, and he becometh unfruitful. Matthew 13:22

suggested further reading: Matthew 6:19–24

Jesus teaches us here about another kind of believer: those people who seem open to receiving the word of life but eventually permit other things to corrupt it and make it ineffective in their lives.

The thorns that destroy the Word’s effect are the pleasures of this life, wicked desires, covetousness, and other anxieties of the flesh. Matthew mentions only the cares of this life along with covetousness, but the meaning is the same as in Luke, for in that term he includes the allurements of pleasures (which Luke mentions) and every kind of desire. Just as corn, which might be productive, no sooner rises as a stalk than it is choked by thorns and other matters injurious to its growth, so the sinful desires of the flesh prevail over the hearts of men and overcome temporary faith, thus destroying the power of the heavenly doctrine before it reaches maturity.

Though sinful desires exert their power on the hearts of people before the Word of the Lord springs up into blades of corn, initially their influence is not evident. Only when the corn matures and promises fruit do these worldly desires gradually make their appearance.

Each of us, therefore, ought to tear out the thorns in our hearts to prevent the Word of God from being choked in us, for there is no one whose heart is not filled with a vast quantity of, indeed, a thick forest of thorns. What is more, the number of thorns is so prodigious that it ought to shake off our laziness, which is the reason why most people do not trouble themselves about the thorns.

for meditation: Has studying the Word of God become dull and tedious to you? Have you become so busy that reading the Bible has only become perfunctory? Are the sorrows and cares of life intruding on your prayers as so many thorns? If so, beware lest the thorns of life gain such root that they choke off your faith. Take the hardness of your heart to the Lord and ask him to soften it and pour new life into it.[1]


[1] Calvin, J., & Beeke, J. R. (2008). 365 Days with Calvin (p. 196). Leominster; Grand Rapids, MI: Day One Publications; Reformation Heritage Books.

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