After a gardener has tilled the hard ground, removed any rocks or clay, and added more soil he must keep careful watch for weeds. Weeds can cut off life from the fruit by strangling it and the plant isn’t able to mature due to this choke-hold. Notice that the plant was growing alongside these thorny weeds and were pictured as outside influences preventing fruit from maturing. Do you see the spiritual connection?
Jesus identified the thorny plants for us: cares of the world, deceitfulness of riches, desire for other things, and pleasures of life. I find myself influenced by several of those categories at various times in my life. How about you? Do you find worldly influences choking out God’s Word and a kingdom life? Are there times when you’re double-minded; you want to go one way but sense the Holy Spirit leading you in another? Which way do you choose? Are you so busy with life that God has become an outsider, just looking in? Is there a choke-hold in your mind that’s suffocating the voice of the Spirit?
“The sinful nature wants to do evil, which is just the opposite of what the Spirit wants. And the Spirit gives us desires that are the opposite of what the sinful nature desires. These two forces are constantly fighting each other, so you are not free to carry out your good intentions.” Galatians 5:17 NLT
How do we allow the thorns to grow (living in the world) but not let them twist around and choke our fruit? Jesus said you would know a tree by its fruit: it’s time for a fruit inspection.
But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against these things! Galatians 5:22-23 NLT
Jesus once got angry at a tree (Mark 11:12-26) because it looked good on the outside but had no fruit. Peter questioned him and Jesus compared it to our faith without the influence of doubt. He spoke to that tree and it withered, consequently He taught that we can speak to mountains and they will move. That’s the kind of fruit we need: mountain-moving faith. He continued to encourage us to forgive others (vs. 25-26) and pray in faith:
“I tell you, you can pray for anything, and if you believe that you’ve received it, it will be yours.” Mark 11:24 NLT
Forgiveness is fruit you want to cultivate today then your Father will accordingly forgive you: you harvest the seeds you plant. The same word for thorns in this parable is used for Jesus’ crown of thorns. He was a mock-King by wearing it, however, it symbolized our forgiveness on the cross. To experience kingdom living we also must display the fruit of forgiveness. Locate your thorns, repent, and watch your fruit mature, that’s kingdom living.