Thursday, December 29, 2011
Foxes in the Vineyard - Introduction
What adjectives come to mind when you look at the above picture? What random thoughts does it invoke?
Oh, I love this picture. No, I didn't take it and I have no clue where it was shot. (I found it on Clip Art.) But to me, this picture represents on a small scale what I desire my relationship with Jesus Christ to look like. A place of sweet, unbroken fellowship, filled with the beauty and peace of my Savior! This thought brings such joy to my soul!
Now, what about the picture below? I think of the words desolate, gloomy, forsaken, and empty. The vibrant life that was seen in the first picture does not exist here. What once might have been a place of beauty and grandeur has now been reduced to a heap of rubble and stray twigs.
Unfortunately, this is the condition of many hearts today: ruined, forsaken, and empty. They do not have the joy of the Lord, but instead are ruled by depression, anger, and bitterness.
Why is this? How could a beautiful, fruitful garden like the first picture become so cold and dark like the second?
Neglect. Abandonment. Apathy.
Which garden does your soul compare more closely to?
This was the very thing the Lord convicted me about a couple weeks ago. I was reading Song of Solomon 2 and reached verse 15 where the beloved is talking to his bride. He entreats her with these words,
"Catch the foxes for us, the little foxes that are ruining the vineyards, while our vineyards are in blossom."
Just as the bridegroom of Song of Solomon entreats his bride with these words, so our Bridegroom beseeches us to catch the foxes in our lives, the foxes that are ruining our vineyards, our garden, our soul.
I just love the imagery in this verse. Our love for Him being pictured as the vineyard in bloom, preparing to blossom. But just as we are beginning to cultivate our garden, to fall in love with Jesus Christ, the little foxes of this life (our pride, selfishness, bitterness, anger, etc.) come sneaking in and destroy the blossoming vineyard.
How tragic, how devastating! Praise God that we are not powerless against this destruction, that He has given us victory through His blood. That is why He urges us to catch the foxes and remove them. Just as a gardener must stay alert and kill any weed or potential danger invading his garden, so we must learn, through His strength, to watch and completely destroy any sin desiring to creep its way into our relationship with Jesus Christ.
How important is this relationship to you? It will show by how jealously you guard it.
Lately, I have been praying, asking that the Lord would show me any "foxes" that have crept into my garden unnoticed and were ruining the blossom of love between us. Oh, He is quick to lovingly answer His children, is He not?! :)
The Lord convicted me of two areas in my life that I had not guarded and had, therefore, allowed sin to reign. I will address each of these in the next two blogposts.
I urge you, fellow servants of Christ, to go before our great King and ask Him to reveal any area where His garden has been ruined or neglected in your life. The beauty of this truth lies in the fact that not only will He show us our sin and welcome us back to His open arms, but He will clear away the ugly rubble with His own hands and plant seeds of new life and joy within us...to cultivate again a blooming garden.