Catch the foxes for us, The little foxes that are ruining the vineyards, while our vineyards are in blossom. Song of Solomon 2:15
The last few days have been challenging to say the least. It is interesting how God will reveal Himself through teachable moments (if you will) to us in what appears as a most inopportune time. The other morning, around 2:30 am, my household was awakened by the sound of an alarm going off from downstairs. When I went downstairs, I was shocked to see water pouring from our kitchen appliances and from a vent in the ceiling. The alarm was coming from our stove letting us know there was a problem. That problem, water, was about to cause an electrical issue with the stove. I never even knew this model stove was created with a feature that if water ended up consuming the wiring, it would sound an alarm.
When I turned the light on to adjust my eyesight, there was about 3 inches of water on our hardwood floors. It was definitely not what I expected to awaken to on Monday morning. In order to give this blog context, let me go back to a few days earlier. I noticed a small spot on the ceiling in which we did not think it was a big problem. It appeared to be a minor leak in one of our pipes. My initial thought was, I would just open that small portion of ceiling up on Monday and take a look and see if I could fix it myself. I did not think it was claiming my attention at that time so I put it off. Fast forward to Monday morning and what appeared to be a small little leak ended up ruining our kitchen, kitchen appliances and our hardwood floors. Something that appeared to be minor that I decided to put off, until later to take care of, ended up creating a major crisis.
Through this experience, God had given me a sure indication, a step by step, hands on experience of how sin in our lives wreaks havoc. We see it and we don’t pay attention to the seriousness of it based on limited perception and privilege. We cannot see what is going on behind the small spot. We don’t see the raging disruption that is about to cause serious damage to our daily movement if we just ignore the warning. Or better yet, if we just say, I know it is a little problem and I can just get to it later. We can marginalize sin in the same way. I marginalized that small spot on my kitchen ceiling. If only I had taken action right away and accessed what I was seeing correctly. I saw it and in my arrogance thought I could handle it on my own. That was the problem with privilege, believing that I could handle it because of how I saw myself but with really no definitive justification. Never really taking a closer look at what was festering under the surface.
I say arrogance because in truth I did just think I could handle it and it was no biggie. Often, this is how we treat sin. We downplay it, oh it is not adultery, it’s just an “entanglement.” It is not lust it just happened because I was up surfing the television late night. Or it was just one look, all men do it. It is just a little fib not really a lie. We marginalize our sin. We marginalize what we see that can potentially grow into a deeper problem. The lesson for me is two-fold: not only pay attention but take action.
Don’t ignore the signs but take action to prevent or to repair the problem.
- When we see a small issue deal with it right then don’t put it off.
- When we don’t deal with the small issue other things are affected inadvertently.
- When we don’t deal with the small issues, the effects are long lasting and even destructive to everything around us. (A domino effect)
The good news is that we had insurance to replace the mess. Insurance is what allows us to go through the process of review, removal, recovery and restoration. All of these are important after a major crisis. And all of these are important when it comes to fixing the problem of sin in our lives. It is not enough to just see the problem but we have to begin the claim process. The claim process is proclaiming that we are sinners in need of a Savior named Jesus Christ. If we confess with our mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved; for with the heart a person believes, resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth he confesses, resulting in salvation. (Romans 10:9-10)
Once the claim has been put in for approval then we are cleared to begin the process for review. This review is where the work of the Holy Spirit begins to shine light on those dark, dampened places that are in need of replacement. Without the review work of the Holy Spirit, the road to recovery is a back and forth process that often ends without work completed.
After the review the removal process begins. The removal of sin does not take place until the Holy Spirit is allowed to take us through repentance which literally means change of mind. The change of mind is from old habits, old attitudes and old ways of doing things. This removal of sin leads to the turning away from sin. The removal is the heavy lifting that often comes with great suffering. Removal of sin does not go without physical work having to be done to cut, break, pull and sever deep connections that have been under the surface for a long time. Remember my ceiling and all the damage that was exposed after I decided to contact my insurance about restoration. It was not a pretty sight, in fact, the work required had to be accessed and then evaluated to see how much time would be needed for removal. This is how sin is, it takes time for the Holy Spirit to work and remove us from old to new thinking but when the process has begun and we are on board. Great things will come about. Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come. (2 Corinthians 5:17)
The recovery process is where we begin to see results leading to restoration. Once we have allowed the old to be replaced and begin to bring in the new mindset and new way of life. What was damaged before begins to take on new purpose and meaning. It is the first signs of the new taking root in our lives. Some decide to do the work themselves but I implore you to allow the professionals to take you through the process. The professional in this scenario is the power of the Holy Spirit that we must be willing to surrender (or relinquish control) to. This is the surest way to make sure that what is replaced is done properly. We must trust the process friend. Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He will make your paths straight (Proverbs 3:5-6). The recovery process is that which is able to take a liar and make him a person of integrity. It will take an estranged spouse and make them available. It will take an impatient person and make them mild mannered. It will take our blunders and blossom beautiful moments out of them. It will take this pandemic we are in the midst of and create people more grateful for family and God. The recovery process can be good news.
Last but not least, restoration is the end result. Its good news knowing that the things that we ignore and think are destroyed opportunities can be restored. When we look back over the process of what can occur when we allow the Holy Spirit to come in and do a complete work. Its better news taking action before things get to this point so that there does not have to be restoration.
Nestled away in the Song of Solomon 2:15 is the verse giving a warning about little foxes that can destroy a vineyard. What they do is nibble at the vines where the grapes receive nutrients from, causing the vines to wither and die. The little foxes need to be dealt at the root of the vine before they destroy the beauty of what could be produced. It was determining the problem and saying what needed to done. The same is applied with the spot on my ceiling and the same as sin in our lives. Don’t allow sin to continue so that it can be dealt with before the consequences are detrimental. Don’t allow the reading of this blog to just be another read but deal with that which is underneath.