The Trouble with Foxes

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Let’s recap where we have come in the song so far  – or as they say on TV – Here are some things you may want to know: (you can skip this part if you want – but it might paint the picture for you)

When we started this story of romantic pursuit our maiden (the passionate believer) was in love with the Shepherd King (Jesus) from afar. Her heart cry was “Draw me, and We will run.” At that time she was an admirer. He began to fulfill her request and began to woo her, and they have begun to get to know one another.

When she first begins to get to know Him she realizes that she is a mess. She says “Don’t even look at me – I am filthy on the outside, but because of your attentions I am becoming lovely inside. On the outside I feel like a nasty old desert tent, but on the inside, I feel I am adorned with curtains from the Kings palace. (1:5)

In Verse 6 of the first chapter she confesses that, in order to live out her deep desire to please her new love, she got right to work. I think of this as working in the Church, joining committees, going to meetings, you know the drill.

She got so busy with the work of the Church that she neglected her personal relationship with her Lover, and she began to feel like a failure:

They made me caretaker of the vineyards,
But I have not taken care of my own vineyard. ~ Song of Songs 1:6

Now she has spent time with Him. She pulled back from ministry and began to spend large amounts of time in worship, in personal connection with Jesus, just loving on Him. It’s been a warm and cozy time in her Christian walk.

Then we enter into a season of change. She awakes from her place of worship and see He is not in the room, but rather He is out in ministry, in life, “Climbing on the mountains, Leaping on the hills!” and calling her to join Him in ministry.

This is a frightening prospect for her. She likes her little cocoon of personal closeness to Him. But He reassures her with His declaration of how much He loves her and how beautiful she is.

This is where we come in today:

Catch the foxes for us,
The little foxes that are ruining the vineyards,
While our vineyards are in blossom. ~ Song of Songs 2:15

We find her second self-assessment in the Song, and she is not where she was. She has grown.

Her garden (her spiritual life) is no longer unkempt as it was in 1:6. It has blossoms and is beginning to bear fruit.

Is this the fruit of the Spirit? : “…love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control” (Galatians 5:22-23) These are beginning to show great progress in her life. No longer is she “dark but lovely.” Those around her are beginning to reckon her alive in Christ.

However there are little foxes.

The problem with these foxes is that they sneak around and just as the fruit is nearing maturity, they grab it and spoil the personal harvest she has been walking toward.

They are not the big animals who come in and destroy the vines and trample the vineyard, but just take these vines that are ready to bear fruit, and make them unfruitful.

Our girl is sensing the conviction of the Holy Spirit in her life. It is being stirred up by His call on her to get out of her comfort zone and move out in ministry, and she is afraid. Every time she take a step forward there is a little slipping going on. She is making HUGE progress in her Christian walk, but can’t seem to get fruit on the table.

And it is the little things, the things that are hard to give up.

Do you have little foxes that the Lord is pointing out to you even as you connect with this picture? Are there things that, just as you take a huge step forward in your patience pop up and challenge you and you lose your cool? Then you think, ‘that didn’t look much like Jesus at all.’

Or perhaps there is some little thing you hold on to, that when you were first started pressing into the Lord and intimacy, it did not hinder your massive growth, but now you find you have gotten stuck – plateaued so to speak.

Are you holding on to a liberty that turns out to be a little fox in disguise?

This is true in any area of our lives.

In the past few years I have tried to bring two huge areas in my life into control. I am talking about my natural life here. And it was in getting rid of the little foxes that I found victory.

I am talking about my finances and my weight.

A financial fox might be going to the ATM and then not paying attention to where the money goes. At the end of the month I would see that all the money was gone, but I had nothing to show for it.

And as for my weight – well – my life was beset with foxes all around, donuts, candy bars, 3rds at every meal.

So it is with your spiritual garden. Solomon calls them foxes, Jesus calls them thorns:

And others are the ones on whom seed was sown among the thorns; these are the ones who have heard the word, and the worries of the world, and the deceitfulness of riches, and the desires for other things enter in and choke the word, and it becomes unfruitful. ~ Mark 4:18-19

What I love here is that she does not shrug her shoulders and give up, she asks Him for help. Remember this wonderful promise:

For we do not have a high priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but One who has been tempted in all things as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and may find grace to help in time of need. ~ Hebrews 4:15-16

If you sense the Spirit poking around at some little foxes, don’t be afraid to ask for help, and He will come along side you, and together you can clear out the garden, and enjoy the fruit you have labored for.

Well – I have gone way too long today, and for this I apologize. I suppose I could have broken into two posts. Perhaps you will forgive me and read it over two days.

I am really loving this Song!

Ben NelsonI hope it is helping.

See you soon.

Ben

0 thoughts on “The Trouble with Foxes

  1. bennetta faire

    Deceptively cute fox picture, Prof. Deliberate choice, to make a point, I deduce. God bless you and the fam--sis Cj (If you notice my "D" words, they're a hint--my entry for the DDD-Challenge is up.)

    Reply
  2. livinginobscurity

    You've been reading my mail! That just about sums up my life, but even though it has been a treacherous journey at times, there has been marked growth. Sometimes it is those little foxes we like to ignore and lull ourselves into believing they don't matter and we somehow feel justified because of how far we've come. For many of us, it is not the big things that trip us up but those little foxes that do. It pays to pay attention to them if we want to go to greater heights with Him! Trying really hard to get rid of those foxes, even though some of them are so darn cute, as the picture above! Great post Ben!

    Reply
  3. cshowers

    I'm in Georgia, visiting my daughter, and just the other night, a woman from Atlanta was on the news, talking about a rabid fox that bit her. The fox came up to her and seemed very friendly, rubbing itself in between her legs, like a friendly cat. Then, when a boy approached the seemingly harmless and friendly fox, it went crazy and bit her, and two other women as well...

    Our own little foxes are often like this fox -- seemingly harmless, comfortable and even friendly, and then, when we least expect it, it lunges at us, causing great injury to us and to others as well.

    This was a really great word, Ben. I didn't even notice it was long, because it was so good. Thanks for sharing!

    Cheryl

    Reply
    1. Ben Nelson

      That is a wild story about the friendly fiend. i thin, some of the foxes in my life would never bite me, they just keep me distracted and away from that which would bear great fruit - keep me disconnected from the vine.

      Bless you dear one, have a great trip and visit, and same trip home.

      Ben

      Reply
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