Monday Morning Devotion -March 22, 2021
"The Little Foxes that Steal Your Joy"
Catch for us the foxes, the little foxes that ruin the vineyards, our vineyards that are in full bloom. Song of Solomon 2:15
Recently I noticed that my on-line service had a section that listed my top ten blogs (devotions) of the 800+ that I have published over the past 15 years. They are listed by the number of hits they received. I thought it might be fun, from time to time, to revisit some of these. I will still create brand-spanking new ones most weeks. But, today let's revisit Number One which got 12,962 hits back on September 4, 2006: The Little Foxes that Steal Your Joy."
In her book, "Be Anxious for Nothing," Joyce Meyer points out "the Bible teaches that anxiety brings a heaviness to a person's life. The dictionary defines anxiety as "a state of uneasiness; worry°Abnormal fear that lacks a specific cause."
I think we have all felt that at times. There was something in the back of our mind that made us uneasy. It was as if something bad was going to happen. We didn't know what, but we just felt like it was going to happen. The frustrating part about that is we didn't know what it was°but, it bothered us.
Meyer says she once went through a period in her life where she was plagued by anxiety. She just kept feeling that something terrible was going to happen. When she finally asked the Lord "what's up?" He told her these were "evil forebodings." Say what? She didn't have any idea what an evil foreboding was. Later she came across Proverbs 15:15 which states: All the days of the desponding and afflicted are made evil (by anxious thoughts and forebodings), but he who has a glad heart has a continual feast (regardless of circumstances.)
Meyer was pretty intense, and she just kept on looking for some monster problem to occur. She was making mountains out of molehills. She was looking for those "little foxes that spoil the vines" as described in our scripture for today, from Song of Solomon or as it is entitled in most Bibles the Song of Songs. Since we think Solomon wrote them, we might as well call them Solomon's Song of Songs. Anyway, Solomon talks about those foxes.
Apparently, foxes liked to dig around blossom-covered vines and if they aren't discovered and run off, they could destroy a whole vineyard. Solomon is using this as analogy for a marriage. Little things keep on creeping in and spreading and eventually can take over and destroy a marriage. It's kind of like the Kudzu approach. Once that stuff gets in a field or woods or garden it will just take over. You can chop it up°pull it up by the roots°burn it°and it will still come back.
The point is if we just keep on getting upset over one little thing after another in our lives, we aren't going to enjoy life very much. We will have zero happiness. Think about some of the things that you have worried about before, that are now past. Were they worth the worry? Did all that worrying help? Do they amount to a hill of beans now?
In John 14:1, Jesus says and I'm paraphrasing this. "Don't let your hearts be troubled. It is a fact of life that you are going to have trouble in this world. But, take heart, because I have overcome the world." In other words, Jesus is saying, "Cut it out. stop worrying about these things? these evil forebodings. You can choose peace or trouble in your life. The choice is up to you. Stay calm or be agitated all the time. You make the choice."
Sometimes we have these forebodings and experience deep anxiety because of hurts suffered in the past. We need to call on the Holy Spirit to lead us step by step through these kinds of problems.
In 1 Peter 3:4 we find these words°a gentle and peaceful spirit (is not anxious or wrought up) but is very precious in the sight of God. To be wrought up is to be tense, tied in a knot, upset and disturbed. To be anxious is to be worried, disquieted, or distracted. Ever felt that way?
Why does the devil try to get us to feel that way? Because when he does he gets our attention off of the good things God has given us. He doesn't want us to enjoy this abundant life we have been given.
Meyer says she was always so intense, before she discovered these truths that we have been looking at she could not enjoy her family. She was so busy trying to change them all, she never let any of them enjoy life.
She had a nice home, but she couldn't enjoy it°She felt like she had to keep everything spotlessly clean. Everything had to be in its place. She was so intense and insistent in her approach she couldn't enjoy her home, nor could her family enjoy it.
Her children had nice toys, but they weren't able to enjoy them because she didn't want toys strewn all over the place. She didn't know about fun. She only knew work. She would go along behind the kids. "Pick up this mess. Get this room cleaned up right now! All you ever do around here is make more work for me!"
Then, she wondered why she wasn't happy. She couldn't figure out why she had these evil forebodings. Finally, you know what God told her? After searching the scriptures and trying to find out what evil forebodings were, she heard God saying to her, "Calm down and cheer up! Don't be so intense. Lighten up. Enjoy life!"
God is probably trying to tell us the same thing if we would only listen. The Psalmist said it well in Psalm 8 verse 24. "This is the day the Lord has made; we will rejoice and be glad in it."
Today is another day we have been given. It's a gift. We should enjoy it. Okay, so it's a Monday and Mondays are Murder. But each day can only be what we make it out to be. Anxiety also means being concerned about a possible future event. It's mentally leaving where you are and getting into an area of the past or future. We can't enjoy today, the Lord's latest gift to us, for worrying about things past or future things that may or may not happen.
We don't have to be an airhead, a happy-go-lucky mental midget who doesn't take responsibility. We are called on to be vigilant, cautious, and to guard against the bad things that can happen. Not everything that happens is going to be good.
We need to learn to relax and take things as they come without getting all nervous and upset about them to the extent that they ruin our day. Be of good cheer. Laugh more, it is O.K. to lighten up. Enjoy life.
Prayer: Lord sometimes we simply forget that each day is a gift from you. It is up to us to receive that gift and then use it in a positive way. When we do this with grateful hearts and realize how special each day is, we will dispel the evil forebodings°those little foxes that steal our joy. Amen!