Give me a word, Lord: FOXES AND GRAPES

Song of Solomon 2:15 Catch for us the foxes, the little foxes that ruin the vineyards, our vineyards that are in bloom.

I don’t think that in all my years that I have ever heard another sermon preached from the Song of Solomon 2:15, but an interim pastor, Bro. Wiley Abel, did just that a few years ago. He first caught our attention by showing a slideshow of adorable baby foxes on the screens. He did this to distract us for a moment, and it worked. Who could not stop and oooh and aaah over adorable baby foxes? Not this girl! I’m an animal lover, and I tend to get very easily distracted when I see an animal of any sort. But what can we glean from this little verse about foxes and grape vines? Quite a lot, actually.

When we as Christians blossom in life, everything is grand. It looks like everything is coming up roses (or grapes if we stick to the text), and we don’t realize that sneaky, sometimes quite adorable little foxes can sneak in and seek to destroy us. No, not some adorable little thing like a baby fox?! That can’t be. Oh yes, it can. It can indeed. For you see, the little foxes are the little things that distract us for Christ. These things can be the the tongue, an attitude problem, self love, self-centeredness, opinions, or perhaps it could be a habit of turning minor trouble into major problems, the lack of love, lack of acceptance, or lack of forgiveness. These little things seem harmless at first look, but when we let them sneak their ways into our lives like a sneaky cute little fox, we slowly start to wither away from our connection with Christ. The things that distract us begin to turn our focus onto self and the problems, and this causes us to take our focus off of Christ. As we lose our focus on Christ, we forget to cling to the true Vine, and we wither. We can’t produce good fruit if we aren’t fully connected to the Vine.

So what do we do about this? First and foremost, we must cling to the Vine always and in every area of our lives. If we are clinging to Christ, the distractions of this world won’t be able to pull us away. Second, we must defend our hearts and our churches against the little foxes just as a farmer defends his farm from foxes and other predators. We have to stand guard against the evils of this world that try to attack us and steal us away from Christ. The foxes may steal the grapes, and those vines may wither, but nothing can steal us away from Christ when we cling to Him. “I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one will snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all; no one can snatch them out of my Father’s hand.” (John 10:28-29) Nothing can snatch us away.

It’s hard. Life is hard. There are a million and one distractions in every single day. I get it. There are many days that I feel like a dog chasing my tail, and just when I grasp those sparse hairs at the tip of the tail in my mouth, the tail slips out, and I begin chasing again. We can’t keep living life in the fast lane. We have to slow down and take time to grow in our relationship with Christ, establish a firm foundation, and be truly rooted in the Spirit. Those strong roots will keep us firmly planted in our relationship with Christ, and those sneaky little foxes won’t stand a chance! Cling to the true Vine!

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