The Little Foxes That Spoil the Vines
Song of Solomon 2:15
We want to live a life of faith in God. We want to follow the Lord and we want our lives to make a difference. We have God’s love in our hearts and the Holy Spirit in our lives and we are excited to be on our way. We start out strongly with faith and enthusiasm. But then some little thing happens, some small problem gets us off the course, and we never quite understand why. Why we fall off the path and why we wander around in a muddle?
The two lovers in the Song of Solomon brag about their wonderful marriage. These lovers have named their love relationship “the vines”. The bride and the groom are crazy in love. They can’t keep their eyes off of one another! They tell us that their love “the vines” has produced “tender grapes”. The bride wants to catch any problem that could possibly harm their relationship, any little fox that could spoil their wonderful vine! They know that even the hottest love can grow cold and they want to protect their love “their vines” from such a fate. “Catch us the foxes, the little foxes that spoil the vines. For our vines have tender grapes.” (Song of Solomon 2:15) Foxes could chew the grape vines and spoil part of the harvest.
We are the bride of Christ and we want be His faithful witness. We try to love others and have faith in God when problems arise. But little foxes or little problems always seem to show up and spoil some of our efforts, if we let them. Our job is to catch these problems (foxes) before they spoil our (vines) faith walk.
My friend Sue, a faithful Christian, works in a beauty salon where one of the other workers, a woman named Judy, seems to hate her. Everyday Judy makes fun of Sue, steals things from her work station, gossips about her behind her back and tries to make her life miserable. For a while Sue tries to be nice to Judy, but finally she starts spreading nasty rumors about Judy behind her back and doing what she can to get her in trouble.
But Sue knows that she should not be paying back a bad deed with another bad deed. She knows that Christ came to change all of that. His followers are not to practice hate and retribution. But we are to pass on His love and His grace. Christ forgives us our sins and extends grace to us and we are commanded to follow Him and forgive others and extend grace to those who sin against us.
Scripture says that Jesus has left us His peace, but Sue didn’t have any peace when she was around Judy. Sue began to pray and ask God for His peace and His help and several Bible passages came to her mind. Romans 12:20-21 says: “If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him drink: for by so doing you will heap burning coals upon his head. Do not let yourself be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.”
I always thought that the “burning coals” spoken of in this Bible passage were payback for what the enemy had done to me. But Joyce Meyer in her book, Living Beyond Your Feelings, says that she believes the burning coals “are actually the fire of love you are showing that eventually melts the hardness of your enemy’s heart.”
Joyce Meyer in her book Living Beyond Your Feelings, says that: “The Bible teaches us to always believe the best about every person. “Love always believes the best of every person.” ( 1 Corinthians 13:7) She goes on to say that if we let our thoughts lead us, they usually tend toward negativity. The flesh without the Holy Spirit is dark and negative. But if we choose to let the Spirit lead us, instead of the flesh, then we can be filled with life and peace in our souls.
Sue prayed and asked God to lead her in her dealing with Judy and then she tried out this idea of “thinking the best” about Judy. Sue began thinking that Judy was probably hurting from a problem in her own life and that was why she was behaving so badly. Each time Judy was rude or mean, Sue would repeat her “thinking the best” idea to herself and each time she noticed that those good thoughts calmed her down emotionally.
Our own hateful thoughts are toxic to our minds and bodies and spirits. We might as well take poison. But if we choose to follow the Holy Spirit’s leadings, He will give us thoughts of love and grace that will lead us to life and peace and joy. We have a choice to make. Follow the Holy Spirit or follow our own angry negative thoughts. Scripture says: “May the good Spirit lead you on to level ground.” (Psalm 143:19)
I am guilty of letting rude negative people turn me into a rude negative person. This negative habit of mine is a sin, a “fox” that has spoiled part of my life “vine”. Next time I start thinking about a person who is rude to me, I plan to follow Scripture’s teaching and pray for that person and believe the best about that person. Instead of wasting parts of my day being angry and down in the dumps, I plan to try to let the good Spirit lead me on to “level ground” like Psalm 143:19 says.
Being fearful is another bad habit (sin) that I have. Another sin “fox” that messes up my faith walk (vine). All through God’s Word we are told over and over not to fear because God is with us. (Isaiah 41:10) Scripture says: “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” (Philippians 4:13) We are told not to be anxious about anything but to pray about everything and give our problems to God and He will take care of them. (Philippians 4:6-7) God has promised to give us His grace. Grace is the power we need to live our life in victory. But grace can only be received through faith. Joyce Meyer in her book Living Beyond Your Feelings, says, “Faith is our plug into the grace of God.” And then she asks: “Are you unplugged?” You may be full of faith but are you using your faith? How do you unleash your faith?
Joyce Meyer suggests three ways to unleash our faith.
Scripture says: “Let us come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.” (Hebrews 4:16) When we pray we can also ask God to strengthen us in our faith during the time we are waiting for the answer.
After we have prayed, we should talk as if we really believe that God is answering our prayer. Hold fast your confession of faith in God! Sometimes I ask for something and then I keep on complaining as if I had never prayed at all. I have learned that I should not pray one way and talk another. I should stop making negative, faithless statements.
The third ingredient in releasing your faith is to do whatever you feel that God is asking you to do. If you have a part to play, play it. Keep moving forward. Perhaps He asks us to do nothing. Be obedient to God.
I can see that there are things I need to do to clean up my act. First I need to give in to the Spirit and receive His grace when I deal with a rude person. I need to learn to “think the best” about the person who offends me. Not to play the “pay back” game but to extend grace!
And secondly, I need to plug my faith in. In the past I have prayed and given my troubles to God. But then I take them back and continue grumbling about them. My mouth doesn’t go along with my faith. I have fallen down on the “Saying” part. This tricky little “fox” has been spoiling things for me. I need to learn to talk the talk of faith. I need to catch this wily fox and the other one too. Do you have any foxes you need to catch?