WATCH OUT FOR “LITTLE FOXES”
In the Song of Solomon, chapter 2, and verse 15, the scripture says; “Catch for us the foxes, the little foxes that ruin the vineyards, for our vineyards are in bloom.”
Foxes, with their cute bushy tails can spoil and eat the grapes on the vines. They burrow holes in the hedges around the garden, and they consume the grapes as they pass through, and the can completely destroy the whole vineyard, if no one is watching.
Those grapes in that vineyard, are kind of like the “fruits of the Spirit”, listed in Galatians 5:22 & 23. And our soul, is kind of like that vineyard. The fruits, of the Spirit of God, that a Christian has come to produce in his life, can be eaten up, and spoiled, by “little things”, that can be likened to “little foxes”. And if we’re not careful, before you know it, our very soul is ruined.
Let’s take a minute, and read once again, what those “fruits of the Spirit” are, from Galatians 5:22 & 23; “But the fruit of the Spirit, (This is talking about the “fruits” of the Spirit of God! These are the things that we will exhibit in our lives, if the Spirit of God dwells in our hearts) “But the fruit of the Spirit, is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. Against such things there is no law.” These are the things that need to dwell in our hearts.
But there’s these “little foxes”, that can disguise themselves, in the form of “little vices”, and they can eat away at that fruit. “Little vices”, like a “small” bad habit, or “little” indulgences of the flesh, or “slightly bad” attitudes, or just a “little bit” of neglect, and many other little things. And if we neglect these “little things”, they will surely cause us to stumble. Galatians 5:7 says; “You were running well. Who hindered you, not to obey the truth?” Was it one of those “little foxes” that caused you to stumble?
And so let’s consider some of the “little foxes” that can “eat up” those fruits of the Spirit, as you try to walk with Christ, and as you’re trying to “run your race”. And we’ve got eight little foxes to talk about..
#1. The little fox of selfishness, spoils our love. It destroyed King Saul’s love for God, and for David, his for his son Jonathan, and even himself. 1 Sam. 20:30 & 31 says; “Then Saul’s anger burned against Jonathan, and he said to him, “You son of a perverse and rebellious woman! (He didn’t even want to call him his own son. Now there’s love grown cold!) “You son of a perverse and rebellious woman! Do I not know that you have chosen the son of Jesse to your own shame and to the disgrace of the mother who bore you? For as long as the son of Jesse lives on this earth, (that’s David) neither you nor your kingship shall be established. Now send for him and bring him to me, for he must surely die!”
#2. The little fox of discontent, spoils our joy. There’s a story in the old testament, In the book of Esther, about Queen Esther, and Mordecai, and a man named Ha-man’. Ha-man’ had all he could ask for, but he still wasn’t content; He wasn’t satisfied. Mordecai was a Jew, who lived in Persia. And Mordecai had adopted Esther, his cousin, when she had been orphaned. And he raised her as if she were his own daughter. Well, as it turned out, Esther married the king of Persia, and herself became the Queen. And Esther and Mordecai, (being Jews) persuaded the king, to retract, an order to kill all the Jews in the country. And so now Ha-man’ enters the picture. And the bible says in Esther 5:10 thru 13; “.. And calling for his friends and his wife Zeresh, Ha-man’ recounted to them his glorious wealth, his many sons, and all the ways the king had honored and promoted him over the other officials and servants. What is more,” Ha-man’ added, “Queen Esther invited no one but me to join the king at the banquet she prepared, and I am invited back tomorrow along with the king. Yet none of this satisfies me, as long as I see Mordecai the Jew, sitting at the king’s gate.”
Isn’t that sad, that someone who is so blessed, still can’t be satisfied? And though WE are rich beyond measure, because of what God has done and is doing in our lives, we’re still sometimes unhappy. Because we want more and more. And maybe, we even begrudge the blessings that someone else has.
#3. The little fox of worry, spoils our peace. We worry about what we shall eat, drink, or wear… (Matt. 6:31-32) Martha worried about serving food, and spoiled a priceless moment in her life, that kept her from God’s “good part”. The story is told, in Luke 10:40 thru 42; “But Martha was distracted by all the preparations to be made. She came to Jesus and said, “Lord, do You not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? Tell her to help me! “Martha, Martha,” the Lord replied, “you are worried and upset about many things. But only one thing is necessary. Mary has chosen the good portion, and it will not be taken away from her.”
#4. The little fox of impatience, spoils our longsuffering. Because we are so impatient, we sometimes cast away our confidence, and our patience, even though we know, that if we endure, we will receive the promise. God tells us, in Heb. 10:35-36; “Therefore do not throw away your confidence, which has a great reward. For you have need of endurance, so that having done the will of God, you may receive the promise.”
And we can also lose our longsuffering toward brethren, and the lost souls around us, because this “little fox” steals our patience. Ephesians 4:2-3 says; “With all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, and with diligence, to preserve the unity of the Spirit, through the bond of peace.”
#5. The little fox of bitterness, spoils our kindness. The bitterness of the Pharisees, hardened their hearts, and disabled their mercy. In Mathew 9:13, Jesus said to the Pharisees; “But go and learn what this means: ‘I desire mercy, not sacrifice.’ For I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.” And what Jesus meant there, was that he didn’t come to call those who THOUGHT they were righteous, but rather, He came to call those who KNEW they were sinners! In thinking that they were the “righteous ones” the Pharisees hardened their hearts toward all other people, and looked down on them, and felt bitterness, instead of mercy. When we allow bitterness to enter our hearts, we lose our capacity to be kind and merciful.
#6. The little fox of laziness, spoils our goodness. When we are lazy, we don’t work with our hands. But the Lord says, in 1 Thessalonians 4:11 & 12; “And to aspire to live quietly, to attend to your own matters, and to work with your own hands, as we instructed you. Then, you will behave properly toward outsiders, without being dependent on anyone.”
And of course Ephesians 4:28 commands; “Let him that stole steal no more: but rather let him labor, working with his hands, the thing which is good, that he may have to give to him that needeth.”
So then not only do we not want to be dependent on others, because that’s not the Lord’s will for able bodied people; But, God wants us to be able to give to others, who need it! Like those who are NOT able bodied any longer! Work with your hands! But that doesn’t man that we can’t work with our brains too! Work with every tool that God gave to you, and He’ll be happy.
#7. The little fox of doubt, spoils our faith, and our faithfulness. Our questions and doubts, hinder the full assurance of our hope, and of our endurance and diligence, unto the end. Hebrews 6, verse 11 tells us; “We want each of you to show this same diligence to the very end, in order to make your hope sure.” And Hebrews 10:22 says this; “Let us draw near with a sincere heart, in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and our bodies washed with pure water.”
Don’t let doubt, consume your faithfulness, and your diligence, and your hope. Don’t ever doubt God, or His word.
#8. The little fox of pride, can eat up our meekness and humility. Pride destroys us, and many are snared by it. And the “more accomplished” a person might get, the more susceptible they are to pride. But pride turns ALL of us, into fools! Prov. 16:18 warns us all; “Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall.” And 1 John 2:16 says that; “..all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the boastful pride of life, is not from the Father, but is from the world.” And it will take away your meekness, and it will take away your humility, as if that part of you was simply eaten up, by a cunning little fox.
Foxes, with their cute bushy tails, can spoil the grapes on the vines. And little vices, with their seemingly “insignificant” traits, can spoil the fruits of the Spirit, that are supposed to make us more godly, and bring us close to God Himself.
Don’t let it happen! Don’t let those little foxes have their way. Do like we’re told in James 4, verses 7 & 8; “Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Draw near to God, and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded.”
Even in the smallest of things, submit yourself to God! Resist the devil! Resist, the “spirit of disobedience to God”. Resist, the “spirit of opposition to God”. I’m so fond of Ephesians 2, verses 1 & 2, when it comes to giving us a clear definition, of exactly WHAT, the devil is; Exactly WHAT satan is; Ephesians 2:1 & 2 says; “And you were dead in your trespasses and sins, in which you used to walk, when you conformed to the ways of this world, and of the RULER of the power of the air..” (the “power of the air” is the power of this world! And I think we all know what power rules this world. It’s satan; It’s the devil)
“..You were dead in your trespasses and sins, in which you used to walk, according to the ways of this world, according to the RULER of this world, of the SPIRIT, that is now working in the sons of DISOBEDIENCE.” The “sons of disobedience” are obviously the sons of the SPIRIT of disobedience, which is the SPIRIT of this world, which is the SPIRIT of disobedience, to GOD!
When we disobey God, we exhibit, and we demonstrate, the spirit of satan! Right from within ourselves, we sometimes demonstrate, the very spirit of satan. When what we should be demonstrating, are the fruits, of the Spirit of God.
Do you know what tempted Eve, in the garden of Eden, to eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil? God tols Adam that it was off limits; And I think we can be sure that Adam told Eve the same. Do you know what it was that cause her to disobey? It was “the SPIRIT of disobedience to God”. That’s what it was. Eve demonstrated that spirit by her actions! It was what the bible calls “satan”, the very spirit of disobedience to God.
And sometimes, just sometimes, we have that very same spirit within ourselves, tempting us, to disobey God. Probably just in “little things”. Just “little foxes”. Like a little bit of selfishness. And a little bit of discontentment. And a little bit of worry, which really amounts to a lack of trust in God. And a little bit of impatience. And a little bit of bitterness. And a little bit of laziness. And a little bit of doubt; And that too, boils down to a lack of trust, doesn’t it? And even just a little bit of pride, can be our downfall.
Even in our thoughts, we must submit to God. Paul once said, in 2 Corinthians 10, verse 5; “..and bringing into captivity, every thought to the obedience of Christ.” And it was through Paul, that God encourages us, with these words, from Philippians 4, verse 8; “..whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.”
Draw near to God with every thought. And if we do, that spirit of disobedience will be long gone. It won’t be able to stick around, ’cause we’ll be too busy thinking about all the good stuff, that God wants us to think about!
How you gonna think about disobeying God, when your mind is full of thoughts about truth, and honesty? And virtue and praise, and loveliness, and the like?