In Song of Solomon we read "Catch the foxes for us, The little foxes that are ruining the vineyards, While our vineyards are in blossom." (Song 2:15+).
One application equates the "little foxes" with "little" sins. This begs the question - are any sins really "little?" And "How does your garden grow?" (from nursery rhyme "Mary, Mary, Quite Contrary")
A man was walking down a hill in the woods when he stepped on a little twig. The twig rolled and he fell. As he got up and went on his way, he thought to himself "If that had been a big log, I would have seen it and climbed over. There would have been far less likelihood of my falling, for I would have been aware of the danger." The very fact that the twig was so small was what made it so dangerous.
In our daily spiritual walk, we are continually being tempted and continually in danger of being carried away and enticed by our own lusts and if we give in the result is sin (James 1:14-15+). The devil is a tempter and he cleverly places little temptations (like little twigs) that so easily entangle us (cf Hebrews 12:2+) and defeat us. His "little twigs" are generally more effective than "big logs" partly because they are so often unnoticed and partly because even if we do notice them, we consider them too small to really make a significant difference in our spiritual walk. In short we too often fail to heed Jesus' commands to "Keep watching and praying that you may not enter into temptation; the spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.” (Mt 26:41+)
Application - Beware of the "little foxes," those temptations that seem so trivial and minimal as to easily escape our notice. Remember that it was only a "little thing," (one bite of a forbidden fruit) through which "sin entered into the world, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men, because all sinned." (Ro 5:12+)
As Puritan John Owen wisely asked "Do you mortify? (read Colossians 3:5+) Do you make it your DAILY work? Be ALWAYS at it whilst you live; cease not a day from this work; be killing sin or it will be killing you." (See under point #1 - Of the Mortification of Sin)
And the good news is that we are not left to ourselves to kill sin but as Paul instructed "By the Spirit (God's provision of supernatural power) put to death (Our responsibility) the deeds of the body and you will live." (Ro 8:13+). Dr Martyn Lloyd-Jones once said this was the "most important statement in regard to sanctification" in the entire New Testament. (see link to sermon below).
Vice is a monster of so frightful mien (manner)
As to be hated needs but to be seen,
Yet seen too oft, familiar with her face,
We, first endure, then pity, then embrace.
-- Alexander Pope - Essay on Man
Sins are like circles in the water when a stone is thrown into it - one produces another. When anger was in Cain's heart (Ge 4:6-7), murder was not far off (Ge 4:8).
So let us "encourage one another day after day, as long as it is still called “Today,” so that none of you will be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin." (Hebrews 3:13+)
- Are You Entangled?
- Deceitfulness of Sin
- Commentary on Romans 8:12-13 - on site
- The Way of Sanctification - Romans 8:12-13 - D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones - Mp3
- Sin and the Christian - Romans 8:12-13 - D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones - Mp3
- Sin and the Body - Romans 8:12-13 - D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones - Mp3
- Of the Mortification of Sin in Believers - John Owen
- Of the Mortification of Sin in Believers - Greg Herrick
- Mortification of Sin - Master's Seminary Journal: Volume 5: #1, Spring, 1994 - John MacArthur
- What is mortification of sin / the flesh?;
- What does it mean that the spirit is willing but the flesh is weak?;
- What is the flesh?;
- What is the enemy within?; What is the sin nature?