“The fig tree puts forth her green figs, and the vines with the tender grapes give a good smell. Rise up, my love, my fair one, and come away!” Song of Solomon 2:13 ”Catch us the foxes, the little foxes that spoil the vines, for our vines have tender grapes.” Song of Solomon 2:15
From Watchman Nee’s commentary on Song of Solomon…
“Take us [Let us catch] the foxes” is very much a command. Big foxes go after the fruit of the vine, but little foxes break the tender vine branches. Though damage may be done by big foxes, you may still have a chance to bear some fruit, but with the damage done by little foxes the chance of fruitage is almost destroyed….” “What are the little foxes? Every small appearance of the old life – a habit, a retrospective look – such are the little foxes. They are not necessarily grave sins. We are told in Ecclesiastes 10:1: ‘Dead flies cause the ointment of the apothecary to send forth a stinking savour: so doth a little folly him that is in reputation for wisdom and honour. Little foxes hide themselves behind the vines. If unnoticed they can easily destroy the vine. Subjectively speaking, the first step of hindrance is in the matter of following the Lord. Little foxes do their damage and cause conditions of fruitlessness usually before the resurrection life in Christ is strongly established within. We must therefore beware of the little foxes.”
What are the little foxes in your life? Are you aware of them? Are you watching for them?
God is calling us to an intimate relationship with Himself. He is working in us the power of His Cross, and the power of His resurrection life. As we learn to abide in Him and His Word abides in us, much fruit is able to come forth in our lives, even in the winter of our lives, through much trial and suffering, we learn, as we abide in Him, that there is a fruitfulness that comes out of our suffering.
But many times there are the little foxes to contend with. We go on ignoring them day after day and finally we realize they have destroyed our fruit, and we cannot ignore the damage they have caused. Each of us has something of our sinful nature that we just haven’t dealt with, even while serving the Lord, and growing in our walk with Him. It is an irritation, a bad habit, something that we just get by with….but we never take it to the Lord and surrender it to His cross. It may be an attitude. It may be a habit. It may be a “small” besetting sin, that others don’t really see, but you know it is there.
These “little foxes” have a way of creeping up on you, just as the Lord is beginning a work in your inner being, and spoiling it, so that it bears no fruit.
”The first risings of sinful thoughts and desires, the beginnings of trifling pursuits which waste the time, trifling visits, small departures from truth, whatever would admit some conformity to the world; all these, and many more, are little foxes which must be removed. This is a charge to believers to mortify their sinful appetites and passions, which are as little foxes, that destroy their graces and comforts, and crush good beginnings. Whatever we find a hinderance to us in that which is good, we must put away.”
But too often the little foxes get ignored. We don’t think they are big enough to deal with. We put them on the back burner, and say we will deal with them later.
Time wasters are little foxes. There are so many time wasters in our lives. Have you ever had a day where you were busy all day and accomplished nothing? There was no fruitfulness in your day. By the end of the day you were exhausted and yet you said to yourself, “What did I do? This was a wasted day.” I’ve had too many days like that until I have to realize that my time belongs to God, and there is enough time in each day, given by Him to do what He would have me to do with that day. I can’t let the little foxes spoil the fruitfulness He intends.
Worry is a little fox. We spend so much energy worrying about what may happen or not happen that it robs us of our strength and our joy in accomplishing what the Lord would have us to do. Our job is to obey Him – His job is to work out the details and the problems. Worry is fear that God won’t do His part, or that He is not really active in the things in our life that concern us. Worry is dread that our purposes and our will won’t see the thing that we hope for transpire, instead of accepting God’s purposes to be accomplished in the matter and accepting whatever His will is, that it is perfect and that He works all things together for our good.
Instead, we let the cares of this world choke us as in the parable of the sower… Matt. 13:22 ”He also that received seed among the thorns is he that heareth the word; and the care of this world, and the deceitfulness of riches, choke the word, and he becometh unfruitful.”
Gossip is a little fox that spoils many vines that are bearing good fruit. Nothing will more quickly destroy a fruitful vine. It betrays confidence, spoils reputations, brings discord, and is the most difficult to repair. It destroys God’s vine and the fruit of others lives also, besides our own.
Prov. 11:13 ”A talebearer revealeth secrets: but he that is of a faithful spirit concealeth the matter.”
Pro 20:19 ”He that goeth about as a talebearer revealeth secrets: therefore meddle not with him that flattereth with his lips.”
Slothfulness is another little fox that must be dealt with. If not dealt with then the work God has given us, the fruitfulness He intends for us, and the growth in our spiritual life will never take place. Procrastination is a robber of God. The thing we are putting off doing usually never gets done.
There are many little foxes. Maybe you can think of more of them in your own life. The time to deal with the little foxes is now – not after they have spoiled your fruitfulness and your intimacy with God. God is calling you – “Come away my beloved!” Will you put off His call? He wishes to bring you into a life of abundant fruitfulness and intimacy with Him. The time to answer is now.
Abba, Father, we say, “yes!” to Your command to “catch” the little foxes, and Your call to intimacy in an abiding relationship with You, so that You may have the fruitfulness in our lives that You deserve. Help us to catch the little foxes. Reveal them to us, and help us to deal with them by Your Spirit. Shed Your light on the little foxes in our lives.
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