Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Pesky Little Foxes!

                Lately my husband and I have been experiencing a roller coaster ride of little trials. One day is good, and then the next day everything piles in at once. For the past few weeks it seems like it is one thing after another. For instance, my daughter got an illness. A very odd illness that threw us for a loop! Then our car broke down, then some other little things came up and once again we were battling discouragement and asking the question, “What the heck is going on?” It seemed like we just couldn't catch a break. Then, things slowed down for a few days- until yesterday. Once again, little trials popped up out of nowhere!  I found myself at the doctor with a very odd illness, and being afflicted with an infection that was and is still causing me a lot of pain. Will this ever end? As I prayed yesterday, a scripture passage came into my heart, one that reminded me that even the little trials of our daily lives can be attacks from the enemy.
        “Catch us the little foxes, the little foxes that spoil the vines, for our vines have tender grapes.” Song of Solomon 2:15
                I am sure that most of us can relate to these “little foxes” that seem to plague us day after day. We all have those days where it is one thing after another, and you just can’t seem to catch a break. Take comfort, you are not alone. The scripture tells us that these little foxes set out to spoil the vine. We know that Jesus is the vine and we are His branches. (John 15) We know that when we abide in Him we will bear fruit. The little foxes seek to eat the fruit that we are bearing. Foxes are sly little creatures. They come out at night and sneak into the vineyards and fields and eat the crops. They do not do it if the vine is not producing fruit, they wait until the fruit is ripe and ready. Take comfort, these little foxes mean that you are bearing fruit!
                The main purpose of the fox in this scripture is to spoil the vine. It seeks to destroy any and all fruit that is being produced by the vine. This is so true of our enemy. The bible tells us that he roams around like a roaring lion seeking whom he may destroy. (1 Peter 5:8) The enemy does not want us producing fruit for our Lord. The more fruit we produce, the more impact we make in the world for the Lord Jesus, the less hold the enemy has on us and those whom the Lord is reaching out to. We forget sometimes that we are in a spiritual battle. That every day our enemy is seeking to destroy any and all work we will do for Jesus. He does not want us to succeed, so he sends these little foxes to devour us and discourage us.
                All these little foxes that have been attacking my husband and I are because we are producing fruit. I remembered this morning that the Lord has me walking through a door, today, actually- I am walking through the door. This door may be leading to the next step in my ministry; this door is the beginning of something that will produce much fruit for His glory. So why am I so surprised that these little foxes have crept in? Why am I so surprised that these little foxes have come out of their holes and are attacking my vine? Clearly, I am doing something the enemy does not want me to do.

                There are two instances, however, when we find these little foxes coming out from underground and attacking our vineyard. They come for two reasons. The first one is because we are producing fruit and they want to destroy any fruit that we have. The second reason is sin. Paul writes in 1 Corinthians 5:6 that a “little leaven leavens the whole lump”. Anytime there is sin in our lives, no matter how little, our vineyard is affected. Is there sin in my life? I had to ask the Lord this morning and He showed me that I have been disobedient to Him in one area of my life. I have not done what He has asked me to do. I have done most of it, but partial obedience is still disobedience. As a result some of these little foxes are of my own making, and not from the enemy. These are the ones He has shown me I need to catch myself by doing what He has asked me. The other ones that have come are in His hands, and He will catch them for me. All I have to do is be obedient, and hold fast to Him.
                It is important for us to understand that these little foxes are going to come into our vineyard. Their main purpose is to destroy any and all fruit that we may produce as a result of our relationship with Jesus. Hudson Taylor writes, “The enemies may be small, but the mischief done is great…and how numerous the little foxes are!” These little foxes, these little trials that come into our walks are never alone. They always bring their pack with them. That is why so many times it feels like everything is happening all at once. The little foxes that my husband and I have been dealing with are still attacking, but our hope and faith is in our Lord.
   Do not be discouraged. I know it is easy to get discouraged when these little foxes keep coming. But do not let the enemy get you discouraged. Once you are discouraged, all the other things follow- for instance, doubt, fear, hopelessness, and so on. Discouragement is the only tool the enemy needs to use, because once we allow him to use it, we fall into all the other things that take our eyes of Jesus. The little foxes that are in our vineyard right now are being caught by our God. He has our back, He knows what will come out of it, and all we have to do is trust in His care and know that no matter what happens- He will carry us through.

                We must not forget that Jesus is our vine, and we are the branches, and God the Father tends to us all. It is through His mercy that we will survive these little foxes. It is through His grace that we will produce much fruit. These little foxes will get under our skin, and seek to discourage us, but we can take heart that our Father in heaven is the Master Hunter of all foxes! I pray today that your little foxes will not discourage you, but instead, will draw you closer to Him, the Keeper of the Vine. To Jesus be the glory forever and ever, amen and amen.