The seed that fell among the thorns represents others who hear God's word, but all too quickly the message is crowded out by the worries of this life, the lure of wealth, and the desire for other things, so no fruit is produced. Mark 4:18-19 (NLT)
"Now, listen carefully, when something crowds God out of my heart, you know what it's called? It's called an idol."
As we discussed yesterday, God wants more than just a little piece of your heart. He wants your whole heart.
Jesus talked about how easy it is to let your heart become so overcrowded that you have no room for God. He says there are those who hear God's word, but they become overwhelmed with worries about all the things they have to do and all the things they want to get, and eventually the stress strangles what they heard - so nothing comes of it.
This is why some people can go to church week-after-week and year-after-year and yet there is little change in their lives. The seed that is planted through the Word on the weekend isn't able to grow because there is no room in the heart.
Now, listen carefully, when something crowds God out of my heart, you know what it's called? It's called an idol. An idol is anything that takes the place of God in my heart. And the Bible says there should be no idols in our hearts.
Idolatry doesn't mean you have a little statue that you kneel before and pray. An idol can be your career. An idol can be your boyfriend. An idol can be making money. An idol can be a dream. An idol with can be your marriage. Anything that is more important to you than God is an idol.
The Bible says, "Be still, and know that I am God!" (Psalms 46:10 NLT) Here's a rough translation: sit down and calm down. You can resign as the general manager of the universe and it's not going to fall apart. You may be so busy putting irons in the fire, that you're about to put the fire out.
Jesus is telling us to get rid of the clutter in our hearts and make room for his pervasive presence in our lives.