Other seeds fell among thorns, and the thorns grew up and choked them.
– Matthew 13:7
I'm really excited to get to share with you the third poster in the Parable of the Sower Series: Among Thorns. If you haven't had a chance to see the first two, The Pathway and The Rocky Soil, I really encourage you to check them out!
This soil in the parable is very personal to me, as it vividly displays the condition of my heart before Christ stepped in and set me free from my sin. As I began working on this poster, I wanted it to visually portray the depth of the pain and deception I was in before being saved, and I believe it has done just that.
Before Christ opened my eyes to my need for him, I was being choked by my love for the things of this world. Sin had its claws in me and its wounds had their full effect. I was dead in the clutches of my sinful heart.
But I thought I was alive. I thought I was saved. I thought I was a Christian on his way to heaven. Thanks be to God that he stepped in and showed me just how deceived I was. That in reality, I was none of those things. I was just a man bound up in my desire to be satisfied by the things of this world while on his way to hell.
Listen to how Jesus explains this soil in Luke 8:
And as for what fell among the thorns, they are those who hear, but as they go on their way they are choked by the cares and riches and pleasures of life, and their fruit does not mature. – Luke 8:14
I had no fruit in my life because I was being choked by the things of this world. I looked back on my life as a so-called Christian, and instead of seeing me gradually growing in victory over sin, I saw sin growing victory over me. I was fooling myself. I only wanted Jesus to come into my life, take away my guilty conscience and get me into heaven, but I didn’t want to submit him. I didn’t want him to take away my sin. I just wanted to keep my love for the world, while keeping him around too. However, It doesn’t work like that.
Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world—the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride of life—is not from the Father but is from the world. And the world is passing away along with its desires, but whoever does the will of God abides forever. – 1 John 2:15-17
There is only one way to have victory over our sinful love of the things of this world, and that is the power of God, through the Holy Spirit.
For if you live according to the flesh, you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the misdeeds of the body, you will live. – Romans 8:13
When thinking on Romans 8:13, the famous Puritan John Owen said, “Be killing sin, or it will be killing you.” Well, it was killing me. But God didn’t leave me there.
And you were dead in the trespasses and sins in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience— among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind. But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved— and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them. – Ephesians 2:1-10
Jesus, with his nail pierced hands, reached into my thorn pierced heart, and made the fruitless dead soil of my heart alive. He worked my thorn-infested heart and has made it able to bear fruit!
If you are reading this and see that your heart is being choked by the things of this world, I plead with you, repent of your sin, put your faith in Jesus and follow him no matter what! Trust him to forgive your sin, then by the power of the Spirit and by the word of God, enter into war against your sin.
If you want to know more about my story, you can find my testimony here: Shawn's Testimony
I hope you enjoy seeing the art and I look forward to creating the last poster in the series soon. The Good Soil.