In January of this year, many exclaimed 2020 is my year of clear vision. Then BAM! We found ourselves facing a life-changing pandemic, injustices, riots, and a polarizing political climate that shifted us in ways we never expected. Massive shifts in life came at us all at once and from multiple directions, leaving many of us out of control of life, family and routine, or at least feeling that way. We were thrust into a “new normal” so quickly without opportunity to notice the enemy, not just masquerading as a roaring lion but also as a little fox.
There is this peculiar little verse tucked away in an obscure Old Testament book, The Song of Solomon, which warns us against foxes. It states, “Catch for us the foxes, the little foxes that ruin the vineyards, our vineyards that are in bloom.” (Song of Solomon 2:15).
Now notice this verse is found in The Song of Solomon which is a love letter between the Beloved and Her Lover. Traditionally most scholars believe that it is a metaphor of the love that Jesus has for His church. Back in the day when people dated, the couple often had a love song that was theirs (in the 80’s and 90’s we even had whole mix tapes). This book is like a wedding song, maybe the greatest love song ever written.
However, buried away in this beautiful love song is a warning that if we do not upkeep our vineyard, we will not produce fruit. The vineyard represents your personal relationship with God and the fruit is the work you produce for God. Sisters, I know 2020 has been difficult and the clear vision we hoped for is more like foggy-looking glass. Nevertheless, we must be on guard and we cannot allow any sneaky little fox to wiggle his way into our vineyard!
The problem is we only recognize the enemy as a roaring lion, but we fail to notice when the enemy comes in like a little fox!
The fox is a rather curious little critter. It is silent and solitary. It has incredible senses of sight, smell, and hearing. It exhibits tremendous cleverness in going after its prey. The fox is very cunning, devious, and capable of misleading its pursuers with utmost skill. The fox has always been considered a symbol of slyness, cunning, craftiness, and mischief.
The fox sounds like the enemy to me! And 2020 has kept us so busy worrying about the big events, some of us have not even noticed our vineyards are in disrepair. Oftentimes it is the little foxes that keep you from intimacy with God and from producing fruit for God. What are the little foxes in your life? What little sins are you justifying?
In total transparency my 2020 word of the year is Bloom and there have been many times this year those sneaky little foxes have tried to keep me from flourishing. But God has given me the victory and He desires to give it to you, too. One of the things I have learned that helps capture little foxes is simply this – expose them. Today I choose to expose three common Little Foxes that keep us from bearing fruit in hopes that you will leave 2020 blooming for Jesus.
Three common Little Foxes:
1. Little White Lies
Lying lips are an abomination to the Lord, but those who act faithfully are his delight. Proverbs 12:22
Lying is wrong no matter how little it is. The enemy is the Father of Lies (John 8:44) and when we lie, we speak Satan’s language. When we exaggerate to make ourselves look better than we are, in truth we are lying. We do not have to post all the good things on social media. Sometimes we can post the unfiltered pictures.
When we pretend to be OK when we are not, we are lying. Little white lies tend to grow and lead to bigger lies and more sin. It is better to cut it off now! Catch that lying fox and put him out of your vineyard. Remember, it is okay not to be okay. If you are struggling do not suffer by yourself. Reach out to a trusted friend, mentor, or counselor and confess your lies and ask for help.
2. Little Laziness
Laziness keeps us from living up to our full potential. Laziness has no place in the character of a follower of Jesus. Read what the Bible has to say about being lazy and the heart-breaking consequences of having a lazy lifestyle.
Proverbs 10:4 Lazy hands makes for poverty, but diligent hands bring wealth.
Proverbs 6:6 Go to the ant, you sluggard, consider its ways and be wise!
Colossians 3:23 Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters.
Idle hands are the devil’s workshop. I know 2020 has tempted many of us (me included) into Netflix binging like no other time, but sisters it is time to put down the remote and pick up our bibles. The Bridegroom is looking for Bridesmaids with oil in their lamps.
3. Little Lukewarm Living
Revelation 3:15-16 ESV I know your works: you are neither cold nor hot. Would that you were either cold or hot! So, because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth.
God wants us to get a made-up mind! The letter to the church at Laodicea is the harshest of the seven letters to the churches in Asia Minor. By His indictment of their “deeds” (Revelation 3:15), Jesus makes it clear that this is a dead church. The members of this church see themselves as “rich” and self-sufficient, but the Lord sees them as “wretched, pitiful, poor, blind and naked” (verse 17). Their lukewarm faith was hypocritical; their church was full of unconverted, pretending to be Christians. If you find yourself in a state of being lukewarm, then it is time to repent and ask God to stoke the fire again.
Jesus frequently equates deeds with a person’s true spiritual state: “By their fruit you will recognize them,” and “Every good tree bears good fruit” (Matthew 7:16–17). Jesus is the true vine. Apart from Him we cannot bear fruit. True fruit only comes from intimacy with Him. The thing is if we do not catch the little foxes in our lives, not only will we not produce fruit, but we will not be able to say the next verse in The Song of Solomon, “My lover is mine, and I am his” (Song of Solomon 2:16).
Sisters, this is not the time to just go through the motions, or “fake it until we make it”. Now is the time to pray, seek God’s face, catch the little foxes that are ruining our vineyards and fall in love with God all over again!