And some fell among thorns, and the thorns grew up, and choked it, and it yielded no fruit. - Mark 4:7
First thing to note is that thorns lie in wait to grow up whenever those who have them hear and receive the word of God. The strategic goal of a thorn is to prevent received words of God from becoming fruitful.
Those who have thorns are never in a position to control or remove such thorns by themselves. They have to live with their weaknesses while submitting to the dispensation of grace for deliverance and glory that prepares them for the power of Christ.
Thorns are very stubborn. To understand how stubborn thorns can be, we learn from Paul who thrice prayed unsuccessfully for the removal of his thorn. Paul had the faith of God and knew that all prayers root in the faith of God that heals the sick. Yet, he wasn't delivered from his thorn because of his prayers of faith. He needed to make supplication unto God.
Paul wasn't sick in the form of an illness, so he needed no healing of his physical body. He was weak as a result of a lust in his flesh – an undesirable craving in his conscience. Evil lusts are inordinate cravings for things not according to the will of God; thorns are symbolic of such lusts. Mark 4:19 describes them as cares of this world, deceitfulness of riches, and lusts of other things.
When prayer is insufficient to remove weaknesses caused by lusts, a supplication is sufficient. A greater dispensation, whether of the grace or of the Spirit of God, is sufficient to redeem from lusts or give liberty respectively. The Lord Jesus Christ told Paul that His grace is sufficient.
The glory of grace that Paul would rather experience is the redemption that comes from the Lord Jesus Christ, specifically from the blood of His eternal covenant. Paul would rather glory (obtain redemption) in the weakness of his conscience so that the power of Christ may rest upon him unto salvation.
Enough about Paul. You can read (2Cor. 12) about his struggle over a thorn in his flesh and subsequent victory by the sufficiency of grace. Let's talk about us – me and you!
Before now, I had lusts lying in wait to grow up and choke every word of God I received. Lusts can be subtle or overt, weak or strong. Nevertheless, they choke to prevent fruitfulness of the word I received.
I am justified by faith, receiving the goodness of God and healing of my body as the righteousness of God imputed unto me. It is a good thing to obtain my judgment of the righteousness of God, but there are acceptable and perfect things greater than the righteousness of God I have received. I thank God for the supply of His grace and Spirit working effectively with power unto His glory.
Of what use is an unfruitful word of God in me? I glorify God by bearing fruit: His glory is my exaltation and my crown, O God of my joy and salvation. I glory in the fruit of His acceptable things. If lusts abide in me, they immediately and strategically grow up to prevent the word of God from becoming fruitful, foreclosing my inheritance of the kingdom of God.
Do you have any lust? It will prevent the word of God you have received from becoming fruitful. It cannot destroy the word of God, it just will prevent fruitfulness in you and for the glory of God.
Perhaps, you have heard and received multitudes of the word of God, yet, no fruit can be seen. Perhaps, you have unsuccessfully prayed more than thrice to remove your thorns (lusts), yet, your prayers are insufficient.
The Lord Jesus Christ says His grace is sufficient for your redemption unto glory and prepare you for His power of Christ. His blood of the everlasting covenant is available to set all captives free, purifying their conscience from all lusts.
If you have a thorn, it is that lust so easily besetting you. It lies in wait to grow up and choke every word of God you hear and receive. It is your weakness that frustrates your faith and prevents your exaltation by God.
Lust can be an inordinate craving for money and fame, or for pornography and other sexual uncleanliness, it could be for alcohol and substance abuse, for narcotics and power of control, or for any other thing excluded from the will of God.
You know that you have thorns when there is no fruit by the word of God you have heard and received.
God sends redemption to His people through the blood of His everlasting covenant, which remains an acceptable sacrifice by the Lord Jesus – our Hope of glory.
This is the good news of grace: Whosoever has a thorn can be set free to glory in the newness of life according to the new covenant, and without any hindrance by lusts. Jesus' blood speaks of better things (of grace that is sufficient for thorns) than the blood of Abel who speaks by faith.
For it is written (Zechariah 9:11-12): “AS FOR THEE ALSO, BY THE BLOOD OF THY COVENANT I HAVE SENT FORTH THY PRISONERS OUT OF THE PIT WHEREIN [IS] NO WATER. TURN YOU TO THE STRONG HOLD, YE PRISONERS OF HOPE: EVEN TO DAY DO I DECLARE [THAT] I WILL RENDER DOUBLE UNTO THEE”
Therefore, hear the voices of supplication, O God of grace, for redemption by the blood of your Son who was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father. In the name of the Lord Jesus, set the captive free from lust. Amen!