The third group (in the parable of the sower) encounters three challenges that every person will have to deal with at some time in their life – worry and anxiety, money and things, pride and selfishness. thorns1

Mark 4:18-19 (NKJV)
18 Now these are the ones sown among thorns; they are the ones who hear the word,
19 And the cares of this world, the deceitfulness of riches, and the desires for other things entering in choke the word, and it becomes unfruitful.

The third group heard God’s Word, but it was sown among thorns.  There are three thorns that are identified.  The first thorn is the cares of this world.  The second thorn is the deceitfulness of riches.  The third thorn is the desires for other things.

The FIRST THORN consists of the cares, anxieties, worries, and concerns of this world.  God’s Master Success Book gives the solution to worry and anxiety problems:

1 Peter 5:7 (AMP)
Casting the whole of your care [all your anxieties, all your worries, all your concerns, once and for all] on Him,
for He cares for you affectionately
and cares about you watchfully.

You are to take action regarding your cares and anxieties; you are to give them to God.  If you hold on to the cares and anxieties of this world, then God does not have them and you get to keep them!  When you keep your cares and anxieties you have disobeyed God because you are admonished to cast all your cares on Him.  The reason you can confidently cast your cares on God is because He cares about you affectionately and watchfully.  When you cast your burdens on Him by refusing to live in worry, your faith confirms that He will sustain you.

Psalm 55:22 (NKJV)
Cast your burden on the Lord, and He shall sustain you;
He shall never permit the righteous to be moved.

Instead of worrying, spend that time meditating on the principles contained in God’s Master Success Book.  If you know how to worry, you know how to meditate.  Worry is simply meditating on the problems in your life.  When worry becomes a habit, every little thing in your life seems to become a burden.

Worry wastes a great deal of time and energy.  Worry rarely provides any assistance, but always produces anxiety.  Worrying is counterproductive because of the things that people worry about: 40 percent never happen, 30 percent are over and past and cannot be changed, 12 percent are needless health issues, 10 percent are petty miscellaneous worries, and only 8 percent are real legitimate worries.  92 percent of the average person’s worries take up valuable time, cause painful stress, even mental anguish, and are absolutely unnecessary.  You can cause yourself to needlessly live a miserable life by not doing what God has told you to do.  God told you to cast your cares, anxieties, worries, concerns, and burdens on Him; do it!

Whatever you allow into in your heart programs your success mechanism.  Whatever you retain in your heart will eventually come out as results, benefits, or consequences.  You cannot retain your burdens and program your heart for success.  You will have to choose between burdens and success.

The SECOND THORN is the deceitfulness of riches; the lure, seduction, and temptation of wealth.  The people in this group are fooled by the desire to get rich quick.  They are deceived because they do not know the difference between what they need and what they want.  They may have all they need to live comfortably, but they let themselves become anxious and discontent over what they merely want.  This confused condition is the result of the love of money.

1 Timothy 6:9-10 (NIV)
9 People who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires that plunge men into ruin and destruction.
10 For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil.  Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.

Money is not the root of all evil; it is the love of money that is a root of all kinds of evil.  When money becomes your love, it becomes a root of evil in your life.  When money becomes your love, money becomes your master and it becomes the god that you are serving.

Matthew 6:24 (NLT)
“No one can serve two masters.  For you will hate one and love the other; you will be devoted to one and despise the other.  You cannot serve both God and money.”

The love of money has a debasing influence.  You cannot serve both God and money, and serve means love.  You can have a large amount of both God and money, but you cannot love them both.  When you harbor a love of money, the outcome will be an expression of greed.  Your successes will be shallow at best, and will be potentially devastating to the lives of those you love.

The THIRD THORN is the desire for other things; the craving for worldly goods and worldly ways, frivolous pride in possessions and achievements, selfish desires, greedy imaginings, and all the vanity that is inherent in the natural man.  These desires inhibit the positive programming of your success mechanism.

1 John 2:16a (NLT)
For the world offers only a craving for physical pleasure,
a craving for everything we see,
and pride in our achievements and possessions.

Maintaining a balanced outlook is essential to your success.  The desire for other things prevents a healthy balanced perspective.  Negative emotions, negative thoughts, and negative mental images must be avoided.  Mental images and emotional thoughts, positive or negative, when held in your heart program your success mechanism.  An image of someone else’s success adds a little success to yourself, while an image of someone else’s failure only serves to add a little failure to yourself.

Those in group three are distracted by certain aspects of their own physical existence, and they miss out on the benefits available from God’s Word.

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