Test yourselves to see if you are in the faith; examine yourselves! Or do you not recognize this about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you—unless indeed you fail the test? 2 Corinthians 13:5.

Today your LORD (יהוה) God (אלהים) says:

If you want to walk in the Spirit, that is, see things as I do and have constant direction, protection, wisdom, knowledge, and fellowship, you must also live by the Spirit. And what do I mean by that? I mean you must walk in the sacred and not the profane. Understand this, if you have received Jesus as your Lord and believed in His Name, you are a temple of the Holy Spirit who dwells in your born again Spirit. You have received My promise and My Spirit sanctifies you by My Word if you will renew your mind thereto, but if you keep filling your mind with worldly, idle thoughts and the anxious, angry, and lustful thoughts of the flesh and meditating on these things you are grieving and silencing My Spirit within you and your conscience will be not be witnessing with My Spirit but with another spirit and will not be directing you correctly for you have seared it.

But the Spirit explicitly says that in later times some will fall away from the faith, paying attention to deceitful spirits and doctrines of demons, by means of the hypocrisy of liars seared in their own conscience as with a branding iron. 1 Timothy 4:1-2.

It is time to do spring cleaning. I talk about this in My Song of Songs.

“My beloved responded and said to me, ‘Arise, my darling, my beautiful one, and come along. For behold, the winter is past, the rain is over and gone. The flowers have already appeared in the land. The time for pruning and the songs has come, and the voice of the turtledove has been heard in our land. Song of Songs 2:10-12.

Jesus tells you that He is the vine and you are the branches and I am the vinedresser and that I watch over the health and fruitfulness of My vine. I lift up the trailing branches and prune the fruitful branches so they may bear more fruit. Pruning removes any portions that have a disease, fungi, and other types of decay, pruning also gives more sunlight and air circulation, which also helps to reduce the incidence of disease. Grapevines are best pruned in spring (February/March, or even as late as early April) because if pruned too early a hard frost in late winter can damage the canes and buds. They are pruned at the time of the latter rain.

“I am the true vine, and My Father is the vinedresser. Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit, He lifts up (airó in Greek, which means to raise, take up, lift); and every branch that bears fruit, He prunes (kathairo in Greek, which means to purge, cleanse, prune (cathartic). It is from the word “katharós,” which means “without admixture,” what is separated (purged), hence “clean” (pure) because unmixed (without undesirable elements); (figuratively) spiritually clean because purged (purified by God), i.e. free from the contaminating (soiling) influences of sin.) it so that it may bear more fruit. You are already clean because of the word which I have spoken to you. Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself unless it abides in the vine, so neither can you unless you abide in Me. I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me and I in him, he bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing. John 15:1-5.

You are cleansed by My Word, blessed are the clean (katharos) of heart for they shall see Me. But you know that. Jesus told you that the night He was betrayed, which is set forth above, that is, you are already clean because of the Word which I have spoken to you, and as a member of His body the church He washes you with water, living water, with the Word.

Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself up for her, so that He might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the Word, that He might present to Himself the church in all her glory, having no spot or wrinkle or any such thing; but that she would be holy and blameless. Ephesians 5:25-27.

And yes, you should sing to cleanse your heart. I come down and dwell on the praises of My people. And I am pure and I am holy and if you fill your heart with My Spirit so will you be. And I tell you that you get filled with the Holy Spirit by “speaking to yourself and one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody with your heart to the Lord; always giving thanks for all things in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ to God, even the Father.” Ephesians 5:19-20.

Make your heart a place of song the whole day long. That is what David did when he was king and living on Mt. Zion in Jerusalem. He pitched a tent for My ark of the testimony and then instituted 24/7 worship with M songs, and stringed instruments, wind instruments, and percussion to accompany for which he engaged 288 Levites who drew lots for their hour of praise.

And David tells you how I pulled him out of the pit that Saul had driven him into. I put a new song in his mouth a song of praise to Me, his God, his LORD, the lifter of his head, and it pulled him out of the miry pit to put his feet firm on the high rock. And singing hymns and spirit songs made all the chains fall off and opened all the gates of the prison for Paul and Silas.

It is time you got serious about you inner life, that is, what is going on inside your temple. At the time of Moses what was allowed in the tabernacle and the Holy Place and the Holy of Holies was a life and death issue for the nation. And for you, it still is, for you have a treasure entrusted to you that is shining in your earthen vessel.

Do you not know that you are a temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you? If any man destroys the temple of God, God will destroy him, for the temple of God is holy, and that is what you are. 1 Corinthians 3:16-17.

This is serious. Holiness should be part of who you are. I keep you but you need to keep yourself as well.

Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and that you are not your own? For you have been bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body. 2 Corinthians 6:19-20.

Guard your heart with all diligence for out of it come the issues of life. And cleaning it of clutter has other ramifications as well that are a cause for diligence. Once an evil spirit such as gossiping, fear, depression, sickness or offense is cast out it will seek re-entrance to where it was used to residing, for demons have no place to reside on earth except in people. The cast out unclean spirit will try to return but if you offer opposition he will go and get seven others worse than himself and come back to take you captive again. You have to watch this and not become discouraged doing spring cleaning of your inner self, for the devil will not give up easy the places where he is used to ruling you in.

In a way it is very much like a parent who has not taken their position of authority in the home and is letting the children run how things go by giving in to their tantrums, disrespectful behavior and lack of obedience. When the parent tries to take their rightful place of authority back the child will put up full resistance to cause the parent to back off. But if you persist and dig your heels into My Word the devil will have to flee from you.

The time to prune, to cleanse, and to clear My way with songs has come.

The fig tree has ripened its figs, and the vines in blossom have given forth their fragrance. Arise, my darling, my beautiful one, and come along! O my dove, in the clefts of the rock, in the secret place of the steep ascent, let me see your face, let me hear your voice; for your voice is sweet, and your face is lovely. Catch the foxes for us, the little foxes that are ruining the vineyards, while our vineyards are in blossom.’” Song of Songs 2:13-15.

Arise and shake off the dust and the chains that have held you captive. My glory is shining on you to clear the darkness and fill you with light. Just as I hid Moses in the cleft of the rock and covered him with the shadow of My had as My full glory was displayed before him so that he would not perish in his flesh from so great a weight of glory and light, so Jesus, the rock, the enclosed rock garden of Songs of Songs, the walls of Salvation of Isaiah, and the gates of praise, is the secret place in which I hide you, the place of steep ascent which rapidly raises you to My very throne in Heaven. And there you come with confident singing and joy crowning your head as you enter the palace of the king with your great High Priest, the beloved Son and your divine bridegroom, to be cleansed and washed in His blood (mercy) and the Word (grace) just when you need it.

But I tell you to clear your place of ascent you must, “Catch the foxes for us, the little foxes that are ruining the vineyards, while our vineyards are in blossom.” Song of Songs 2:15.

What are the little foxes? Envy, jealousy, offense, depression, bitterness, resentment, anger, complaining, grumbling, cursing—these little foxes gnaw away at your bones, your house, your dream, your marriage, your finances and whatever else you have in your life that is in bloom until they have gnawed it all away.

If you study foxes, you will find they chew and gnaw on things, in fact, just about anything. If they get in your garage or carport they will gnaw and chew at the wiring in your car and you will not be aware until your breaks go out. They chew on the toys your children drop in the yard. They gnaw at your house if they get under it. And little by little they will destroy your garden, your home, and anything else they can get ahold of to chew and gnaw on. And you are not aware until it goes out.

Resentment, blame, pointing the finger in accusation of others, acting in oppression of others, lying, taking things that are not yours and concealing them, envy, jealousy, grumbling and complaining, embezzling, depression, ingratitude, road rage, cruel words, unjust deeds, adultery, rude words, lying, taking offense and harboring it for years, judgmental words, hate, anxiety, stress, and fear tolerated, these things gnaw away at your bones, your organs, your heart, your brain, your marriage, your relationships, your job, your strength, and your very life. And suddenly the final event will cause the collapse, and how great that crash will be, and you will hatefully blame the last person or thing that was there when it fell. But it all began years before. Why? You did not catch the little foxes.

So how do you catch these little foxes? For they hide and gnaw quietly under the foundations of the house, behind the flourishing plants as they bloom in the springtime of your life, and in every dark nook and cranny where there is clutter piled up. Watch your thoughts and watch your joy level. If your thoughts are tormenting you, the little foxes are gnawing. If you have no joy, the little foxes are gnawing away and you wonder what is wrong with your life.

You think your bones, your house, your dream, your marriage, your finances, your heart collapsed suddenly and you blame the person and the last event that finally took it down, but the gnawing began many years before because you did not drive out the little foxes.

Paul understood about little foxes. He chased them relentlessly. He advised you, “Therefore, laying aside falsehood, speak truth each one of you with his neighbor, for we are members of one another. Be angry, and yet do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger, and do not give the devil an opportunity. He who steals must steal no longer; but rather he must labor, performing with his own hands what is good, so that he will have something to share with one who has need. Let no unwholesome (mean, rude, offensive) word proceed from your mouth, but only such a word as is good for edification according to the need of the moment, so that it will give grace to those who hear. Do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. Be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you.” Ephesians 4:25-32.

And he continues going after the little foxes: “Therefore consider the members of your earthly body as dead to immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and greed, which amounts to idolatry. For it is because of these things that the wrath of God will come upon the sons of disobedience, and in them you also once walked, when you were living in them. But now you also, put them all aside: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and abusive speech from your mouth. Do not lie to one another, since you laid aside the old self with its evil practices, and have put on the new self who is being renewed to a true knowledge according to the image of the One who created him— a renewal in which there is no distinction between Greek and Jew, circumcised and uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave and freeman, but Christ is all, and in all. So, as those who have been chosen of God, holy and beloved, put on a heart of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience; bearing with one another, and forgiving each other, whoever has a complaint against anyone; just as the Lord forgave you, so also should you. Beyond all these things put on love, which is the perfect bond of unity. Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body; and be thankful. Let the word of Christ richly dwell within you, with all wisdom teaching and admonishing one another with psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with thankfulness in your hearts to God. Whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through Him to God the Father.”  Colossians 3:5-17.

Do you remember Joseph, the son of Jacob, whom his brothers tossed in a pit and then sold into slavery? That was not a sudden event on the spur of the moment, though it seemed to be. For years Joseph’s brothers had the little foxes gnawing away in them with jealousy, envy, bitterness, resentment, and, finally, hatred for their own brother. But Joseph did not let them unleash their little foxes into him. He kept out all the little foxes. He refused to speak ill of his brothers. He never shared with anyone what his brothers had done to him. When asked why he was in prison in Egypt, he merely stated he had been taken by force out of Israel and had done nothing that deserved his being in prison. No mention of the brothers or Potiphar’s wife. And Pharaoh was pleased to meet Joseph’s brothers many years later and invited them to come to be cared for by him. Joseph had never even mentioned his brothers. That was no longer a story of his life. All he saw was triumph of dreams come true. And he was grateful, diligent, and excellent in all he did.

Joseph did not let the sun go down on his anger and he allowed no bitter root to take root in his heart. He later told his brothers that they had meant what they did to harm him but I had turned it into something good that saved many lives. So he told them to fret about it no further and have no fear he would retaliate. They never understood their brother. They always thought he was just waiting to get even. They did not understand a man who had never let a little fox gnaw at his bones. Joseph walked with Me, so you know he walked in love. And love heals, raises up, and covers a multitude of sins. And in love, he had joy. And when you have fullness of joy, little foxes are completely shut out. There is nothing they find that they can gnaw on. Good news makes the bones strong and a cheerful heart does good like a medicine.

With all diligence guard you heart, for from it flow the issues of life. Guard your heart against all the little foxes. Catch them and take every thought obedient to Christ. Probably you should tie all their tails together and torch them out of your life. Samson had the right idea about foxes.

I love you. Let Me help you be alert to the little foxes. But the best way to defeat them is never to talk about the hurts, resentments, abuse, and wrong behavior of others. And depression is one of the worst little foxes you can let in, that one gnaws away very quickly. Why feed the foxes? Just starve them by giving them no place in your heart.