Growing up, we hunted a lot of gophers. I suppose some people would be upset that we killed harmless little animals, and the truth is, one little gopher doesn’t do a lot of damage. But in the environment of a pasture, the hundreds of gophers that proliferate unchecked will eat a pasture down to nothing.
As I read Song of Songs 2:15, I couldn’t help thinking of this principle in my own life.
Catch all the foxes, those little foxes , before they ruin our vineyard, for the grapevines are blossoming!
Song of Songs is a love letter, but the truth in this verse applies to any relationship, or even our spiritual lives.
When something produces fruit, there will always be things that come to eat it. It might be attitudes, perhaps distractions that keep us from connecting with Jesus and each other in a healthy, meaningful way. It may be something stymying the development of the fruit of the Spirit in our lives.
I desire to walk in intimacy with my husband, my close friends, and most importantly with Jesus. I know the fruit when these relationships grow is profound, and something I want. But so often I leave the foxes in the vineyard of my life unchecked until they have already stolen a good deal of fruit.
When a fox raids the hen house, the loss of chickens/eggs incites immediate action, yet I am often much slower to act when it comes to catching foxes in the unseen realm that devastate the fruit of abundant life Jesus calls me to.
For me habits and patterns are a big fox. Attitudes and perspectives are two more I need to watch to safeguard the fruit in my spiritual life and relationships. Taking time for discernment and good questions is critical to even see the foxes that so easily hide in the often crowded vineyard of life.
The Holy Spirit proves extremely committed to helping see and catch the foxes; without His help, they are elusive and hard to grasp!
1 Peter tells us the enemy prowls like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour. I have found this to be true, but sometimes both the enemy and our own weakness come in the form of little “harmless” foxes that weasel away the fruit right before our eyes.
Time can be an ally or a relentless slave driver and I am learning why. You cannot return time to its former place, rather, we are instructed to redeem the time because the days are evil. (Ephesians 5:16)
The time to catch foxes is when the fruit is still in the blossom stage. If we wait until later in the season, the best of the fruit will be lost, and we are caught on the defensive, trying to save what is left.
What are the foxes in your life that keep you from the productivity Jesus has called you to? In this lent season, may the Holy Spirit show you the best way to catch them now!