This week I am reading back through the book of Luke. We cannot underestimate the power and importance of God's word. It is alive and it conveys the heart of God to us. It informs us who to be and who not to be and gives us wisdom and counsel that is applicable in all areas of life. Yesterday, when reading Luke 8 and the all familiar parable of the sower/soil, I thought a great deal about the school and our students. Our school is unashamedly Christ-centered and that requires that we be diligent in a day that the darkness of the age is pressing against our children on every front.
In the parable Jesus describes the seed as the Word of God implanted and sown into human hearts. Each example of the soil it falls into is full of critical truth that we can use to reevaluate our own hearts and homes but yesterday one in particular stood out to me for our students. Verse 7 says, "Other seed fell among the thorns; and the thorns grew up with it and choked it out." This is so critically important to consider. You see, the thorns didn't immediately kill the seed. In fact, they seemed harmless for a long time, they grew together, they cohabitated-sharing the same soil and resources, they didn't hurt a thing (just a little prickly to touch). They were seemingly harmless for a long time, but they always had a plan. They always had a design against the seed. They were always the seed's enemy. They would never be satisfied sharing the soil. They wanted to own it all. They wanted to choke everything out. The appearance of harmlessness was the great deception and the failure to remove them was so costly.
The thorns of the earth for our children can represent the hyper sexualization of culture. How sick it is that everything is centered around sexuality and sexual desire in today's environment. The thorns could be the things you don't see on their devices--a funny but crude Tik Tok video here, an eyebrow-raising snapchat there, a slightly inappropriate Marco Polo. The thorns can be a steady diet of reels that are funny but laced with perversion, deception, misdirection, and are reshaping your child's heart and mind. The thorns could be the things that are actual sexual in nature but considered "cute" in little girls--dressing them immodestly, allowing them to act inappropriately--but they won't stay little forever...and the thorns are growing. The thorns could be the video games you are glad they're playing because they're quiet; when in truth the people they are playing with online are poor influences, or the graphics are inappropriate, or the violence over time is simply too much for their hearts to handle and are incorrectly shaping them. The thorns could be the movies and TV shows you may not even realize they're watching and aren't thinking about the evil intent in the mind of satan to use these things to derail your children. It could be the music that isn't just entertaining but sowing perversion or profanity into their minds. The steady diet of these things are impacting them, rest assured. The thorns could be the one friend, neighbor, or family member that you know they really ought not be spending time with but you talk yourself into it--justifying it to keep the peace. The thorns could be the steady disrespect you permit them to show adults. You could evaluate your own home and children and make a list of the thorns you see.
It's important to note that these thorns were growing up right along side the Word of God, but they are sucking important life away from the soil of your children's heart. Soil that should be focusing on becoming Christ-like without competition. The thorns are right there--seemingly harmless. Even though your child is in a Christian school, attends church, or has rules and structure to some degree; if the thorns remain all these efforts could be lost. We cannot deceive ourselves into thinking that we've done enough by these things and then to avoid the battle, or out of convenience, or God forbid our own carnal desires allow the thorns to grow. The thorns will ravage your investment.
There is no greater responsibility, joy, or God-ordained charge than parenting. As parents, we must be on guard and diligent at all times. We will each give an account to the Lord one day for our overseeing of our children's spiritual journeys. The age is dark and it is pressing in on our children seeking to devour them. Yet, we do not have to fear. We do not have to despair. We should not even condemn ourselves if we see a past where we could have done better. The Lord is with you. He is near you. Nahum 1:7, "The Lord is good, A stronghold in the day of trouble, And He knows those who take refuge in Him." He is your help and wants you to succeed. He can overcome any mistake and give you grace to navigate through the most difficult of situations.
Today, start pulling up the thorns. They are not harmless. They are evil. They are designed to abort the purposes of God in the lives of men and women. We must hate all forms of abortion--that which ends the precious life of an unborn child and that which the enemy has designed to abort the spiritual journey of your children. Partner with God and work in the soil of your home--remove the thorns!