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Catch for us the foxes, the little foxes that ruin the vineyards, our vineyards that are in bloom. Song of Solomon 2:15

Preventative maintenance is important in many areas of our lives. A simple oil change can keep your car running better and longer. A few minutes of exercise everyday can keep your body healthier, your mind sharper and give you more energy for the day.

The same is true in our relationships with our spouses/significant other, our children, our families, our jobs or any other relationship we may be a part of. It’s the little things we do that keep a relationship healthy and growing. In order for relationships to be healthy they need to continue to grow. Stagnant relationships are dying relationships.

In Old Testament Palestine, vineyards were a huge part of the economy. One of the ‘predators’ for the vineyard was the fox. Small foxes would enter the vineyard at night and destroy the vines, eat the grapes and blossoms and dig up the roots. The owner of the vineyard spent much time and money to protect his vineyard from these little, but deadly enemies.

Healthy relationships are relationships where all parties involved work together to keep the little things from entering our ‘vineyard’ to damage or kill it. Most relationships don’t end like a train wreck. Train wrecks are sudden, unexpected and deadly. Relationships usually die a slow death from the inside out, like cancer, and usually happen when one or both parties involved fail to take preventative action.

The ‘little foxes’ of relationship can be something as simple as making sure you say thank you, or being brave enough to say ‘I’m sorry’ even if you aren’t totally at fault. The ‘little fox’ of sarcasm can attack the very roots of the relationship. Sarcasm is the lowest form of ‘humor’ and one of the deadliest relationship killers. Unresolved anger, guilt and emotional or physical abuse may seem like big issues in a relationship, and indeed they are. However they aren’t the main issue, they are the result of the work of little foxes.

The best protection for the vineyard of our relationships is a firm, unified relationship with Jesus Christ. Religion and going to church won’t protect your relationship any more than a sign at the entrance of the vineyard will ward off the foxes. Relationship with Jesus is much more than religion and warming the pew of some church.

Simple things like saying ‘I love you’ or, ‘I’m proud of you’, or ‘I like how you do that’ are little things that can add huge walls against the foxes of our lives. Studying the Bible together, making sure that there are no unresolved conflicts in your lives, being willing to forgive and be honest with each other and encouraging each other to use thief gifts are all ways to strengthen the bond of your relationships.

Vineyards were the life blood of the Old Testament economy just as relationships are the lifeblood in this journey we call life. Work as hard as you can to make sure the little foxes don’t enter and destroy.

PRAYER: Father, I admit to you that I’m not good at relationship. My past is full of so many foxes that I’ve never learned how to do relationship well. I’m tired of feeling like I’m the only one doing the work of relationship building. The pain of rejection and abuse keeps me back from trying anymore. Help me to build a relationship with You first so that I can build or rebuild relationships with those I love. In Jesus name, Amen.

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