Some years back, I worked at a missionary training base in Honolulu that was lovingly referred to as “the only third world base in a first world country.” Can’t begin to tell you how true that was. For part of my time at that amazing place, I lived in a tiny, tiny room set off the front porch of a house called Calcutta Mansion. I do mean tiny. There was only enough space inside for a single bed, chest of drawers, and a narrow aisle. (I’m talking something like an eight-foot by four-foot closet here.)
In one respect, however, my little room was Titanic-like. The floor listed so badly that I had to be careful getting out of bed in the morning or I’d lose my balance and fall out the window. And as you can imagine, what with the funhouse floor and all, the door to my beloved room didn’t even come close to shutting all the way. Which was a big issue for me because of the huge family of rats that lived in our attic – an attic that conveniently opened up right over the front porch, just outside my little room.
Every night, this horde of rats would run through the attic, screaming at the top of their little lungs. And I knew – I just knew – that some morning I’d wake up to a bunch of furry bed-companions and a half-chewed-off toe.
The day finally came when the missions base restored Calcutta Mansion. One of the workers told me later that when they ripped up the carpet of my front-porch bedroom, they discovered a whole lotta nothing. Hungry termites had munched away most of the wood underneath, so I’d really been living on a threadbare piece of carpet the entire time. No wonder the room leaned. (And no wonder the carpet felt so soft.)
Which brings us to the point of this post …
How’s your relationship with God these days? Does it feel a bit off? Maybe not as healthy as it used to be or as healthy as you want it to be? Is it listing like my little room at Calcutta Mansion?
In Song of Songs 2:15, Solomon wrote “Catch the foxes for us, the little foxes that are ruining the vineyards, while our vineyards are in blossom.” In the Bible, vineyards are often pictures of God’s chosen people and (as seen in John 15) of our relationship with Him. So this verse from Song of Songs gives us a great key to growing a healthy, fruitful walk with God. First, we gotta catch the little foxes that are ruining the vineyard.
I’ve discovered that it’s not always the big, powerful enemies that work to tear down our relationship with God, most often it’s the little foxes. While I was worried about the big, loud, ugly rats in the attic, an army of tiny, silent, nearly invisible termites were doing a far more destructive work.
Same thing holds true for our walk with God. It’s the small, unhealthy thoughts, attitudes, and beliefs that can come in and do the most destructive work, munching away at the very foundations of our relationship with Him. It happens over time. We rarely see or hear it. Until that one horrifying day when we pull up the carpet and discover our floor is missing, our foundation destroyed.
I recently realized that my own vineyard was becoming host to a whole bunch of destructive creatures. Little foxes like criticism, complaining, bitterness, judging, doubt, and disappointment – all working to ruin my relationship with God. No wonder things felt off. No wonder the sheen was missing from my walk with Him.
If that sounds like the state of your own vineyard these days, I encourage you to do what I’ve been doing. Catch those little foxes (unhealthy thoughts, attitudes, and beliefs), toss them out of your mind and heart, and build a strong wall to keep them from getting back in.
- Make kingdom declarations every day, speaking out the truths, promises, dreams, and desires of God. (If you don’t know where to start, I’ve got a whole list of them in my book.)
- Listen to powerful kingdom teaching every week. (Or stick your nose in some great kingdom books.)
- Worship God every day, and soak in His glorious presence. Not just a little … a lot!
- Meditate daily on God’s Word. Think about it. Chew on it. Rest in it.
- Steward all the prophetic words and promises God has given to you through the years. Make a list and start reviewing it every chance you get.
And remember this: If you don’t make changes, nothing will change. (Pretty deep, huh?) So, go catch those little foxes, build a new wall, and double the guard while you’re at it. Then your vineyard will flourish again!