This seems to be an appropriate time to speak of thorns. It seems so much has become what we define as a “thorny issue.” People are seen as ones with a thorny personality. Easily provoked or perturbed. Seen as “prickly types.” So many topics cannot be rationally discussed. It’s as if we touch a thorn and it immediately draws blood. Anger ensues. Sometimes causing permanent rifts. But the primary purpose of a thorn is for protection. It keeps away herbivores. But now we have become like thorns and bristle at the approach of anything that does not line up with what we think or the precepts of those we may follow. Those same thorns that we protect ourselves with will also pierce us.

This is the time of year that we, as Christians, set aside as especially holy. Easter. The death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Taking our sins on His body that we might have life. And more. But I find our celebration of this as somewhat incongruous with how we comport ourselves. At no time in my life have I seen such rampant discord, strife and hate throughout this world and even among those who claim membership in the body of Christ. Divisions in the church so often based on politics, race, eroding of civil rights, following those who reject the basic tenets of what Christ taught, and the growing attempt to gain more power from a worldly view. These are the actions of double minded people. Unstable in all their ways. Loving the wages of unrighteousness. They promise you liberty in Jesus, when they themselves are slaves to corruption. They look to bring you into bondage with the error they follow.

In Matthew 27 and John 19, the Roman soldiers did the bidding of the people who wanted Jesus crucified. They made a crown of thorns and fashioned it into a mockery of the crown a king would wear. It symbolized that which would choke out the words of the Lord like stated in Matthew 13 with the parable of the sower. Rather than a crown that speaks to glory, wisdom and kingdom living, it speaks to materialism, cares of the world, anger, jealousy, and hatred. It mocked the authority of Jesus and looked to humiliate and dishonor Him. These thorns could be 3 inches long. They were twisted into His head. They then took a reed and hit Jesus on the head, further driving the thorns into Him. Even His head was pierced for us. For our thoughts. The evil machinations our minds can plot. To rid us of all sickness of the mind. Double mindedness. Anxiety. Fear. Bi-polar. Schizophrenia, Narcissism. Harboring revenge and hatred of our neighbor we were told to love. We need to apprehend that which He took for us. Or, will we be like Peter who said he would die for Jesus but only realized how far from Christ he was when his conscience was pricked by the thorn of regret when the rooster crowed?

Proverbs 20:5 states that “Counsel in the heart of man is like deep water; but a man of understanding will draw it out.” He has given us all that is necessary to discern right from wrong. Lies from truth. The word of the Lord from that which has been twisted and perverted like the thorns that pierced the head of Jesus. He kept His mind on that which was before Him. And we are to have the mind of Christ. If so, we are to put off the old man who once was fully now embracing Christ. As it says in Colossians 3, we must clothe ourselves with tender mercies, kindness, humility, meekness, longsuffering, bearing with one another. Forgiving. Put on love and let the peace of God rule in your heart. If we walk in these things, the lies and disagreements that fill the air will not penetrate our minds. We will cast down all arguments and thoughts that exalt themselves against the knowledge of God. No tormenting spirit should have access to our thoughts. Those who spread a gospel of hate and division are of the world, and though the world hears them, they have no part in us. We are of God.

Do not think it strange that these evil thoughts and words have gained in intensity. Be extra serious and watchful in your prayers. Love one another. Be hospitable. Minister to one another. Avoid senseless arguments. Rightly discern the spirit of truth and the spirit of error. Have no part in the lies which only seek to bring more division. Cast off all fear. That spirit cannot reside in us. Cast out fear by embracing His love. These are trying times but we are overcomers. Keep your mind fixed on Him. He was pierced by those thorns that we would be able to withstand every onslaught attacking our mind. And we have this promise, that if we persevere, we will receive the crown of glory that does not fade away. Not one of thorns to torment, but a crown of an everlasting kingdom and kinship with our Father. May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.  And please open your hearts for extra prayer for Ukraine.  Blessings.

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