Chomp! Chomp!!

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Susan Beckett | DP City Church

Just mention the word ‘rat’ and everyone squirms – usually, the mere sight of one triggers gasps and shrieks from most people. Rats are associated with disease, rot, filth, and death. They come in more than 60 different varieties and some grow up to 30 inches in length. (Yikes – that’s a scream in the making right there!) But believe it or not, rats are extremely intelligent and social, yet that said, they are rarely associated with our great American love of…the car.

Rats climb up car tires and crawl into the front wheel wells, through the car brakes, and into the engines of vehicles. Once there, they can cause havoc beyond belief. They often build nests but mostly they chew. Rats can actually damage every kind of wire in your car, mostly to keep their growing teeth short and sharp.

It’s crazy just how a tiny bite here, an eensy nibble there, and a mini chew within, can completely ruin someone’s car engine. The Bible, incredibly, has its own version of this destructive process, but it takes the form of a fox. Song of Solomon advises, “Take for us the foxes, the little foxes that spoil the vineyards.” The Hebrew word for “take” is “achaz” – it literally means “to seize,” and we’re being told here to seize “little foxes” before they can damage or completely ruin us.

These little foxes represent the small habits or compromises that we all have and cause damage to relationships, our social life, jobs, and personal growth, etc. not to mention separating us from our Creator. All are at risk from these little foxes!

Foxes are a lot like those rats – very intelligent; they even steal meals from top predators. But in early spring, the foxes bite off the new shoots of grapevines and chew away at the roots of the vines. If grapes are able to grow, the foxes will eat the fruit as it develops.

At first, they can appear cute, yet they are oh-so deceitful. Day by day, these “foxes” destroy lives. Usually – too late, they are discovered, but not before a life, a career, or a relationship has been permanently damaged. Johann von Goethe once remarked, “Things which matter most must never be at the mercy of things which matter least.” Little foxes top the ‘least’ list.

What’s so interesting here is that these little foxes have a huge advantage in that they’re not expected at first to have much power over us. Think about this — foxes are fast, sneaky, cute and very cunning, and, at times will actually play dead in order to attack a bird which is within its reach. Perhaps blog that into your brain for a later epiphany!

So what exactly are these little foxes? Bottom line is that they are anything that prevents you from growing and bearing fruit in your life. A bad habit, a sin, an addiction, hate or deceit…even preoccupation with time-stealing, life-draining issues. And just like gnarly rats or even tiny termites, these little foxes can bring down your’ house.’

But, by establishing priorities in our lives, we can develop strengths that keep us on course and point out where we may be getting stuck or off track. American speed skater Dan Jansen – a four-time Olympian – suffered a series of disappointments in his efforts to win the Olympic gold. According to Jansen, a secret to a successful life is

never to allow the little things in life to trip you up or take you down. In an article in Full Circle, he shares this, “When I was nine years old, I was competing at the youth national championships. I was in a good position to win my first national title when, coming around a turn, I tripped on a rubber hose they had set up as a lane marker. That slip cost me the title by one point. I started crying. I was crying as mom took off my skates and during the award ceremonies. I was still crying when we got in the car and when we pulled into our driveway six hours later. My father hadn’t spoken a word to me all the way home.” But as we got out of the car, he said quietly, “You know, Dan, there’s more to life than skating around in a circle.” Ouch! But lesson learned.

Myles Monroe settles it with this: “Our life is the sum total of all the decisions we make every day, and those decisions are determined by our priorities.” So why not “seize” those “little foxes” and choose to live your life in such a way that you’ll be remembered for your character, integrity, justice, an energy for good, and an authentic love of God?!

Bob and Susan Beckett pastor the Dwelling Place City Church at 27100 Girard Street in Hemet, CA. For more information, you may contact them at DPCitychurch.org

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