Saturday, May 16, 2009

Little Foxes

I've been recovering from major surgery over the past month. For the first 2 weeks I didn't feel like doing anything, and my daily routine consisted of going from the bed to the couch and watching TV. I'm not a big fan of television and rarely watch it, but following my surgery I was so miserable that watching TV was about the only thing I felt like doing. My morning would start out with the Today Show, which was followed by endless cooking programs on the Food Network. It became a daily ritual for me. Before long, I started to feel far away from God and wondered what had happened to me spiritually. Before my surgery, I had a strong relationship with God and looked forward to my daily quiet time. I couldn't wait to read my Bible each morning and spend time in prayer. I would often journal my prayers or write what God's word revealed to me following my quiet time. Suddenly, I was finding it difficult to pray at all and realized my Bible had scarcely been opened since my surgery. I hated the distance I felt from God and how drab life had become. Depression had set in and I was constantly discouraged about my recovery process, feeling sorry for myself, etc. No matter how hard I tried to feel better about things, I continued to feel down.

One morning, when I woke up, I decided to open my Bible rather than turning on the Today Show. Song of Solomon 2: 15 stood out to me.

Catch us the foxes, the little foxes that spoil the vines, for our vines have tender grapes.

While Song of Solomon was written about a love relationship between a bride and her bridegroom, it is also often thought to represent the relationship between the church (the bride) and Christ (the bridegroom). John 15: 4-5 says:

Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in Me. I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in Him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing.

It soon became clear to me that I had allowed some little foxes to spoil my connection to the Vine! I had allowed TV to nibble away at my time rather than seeking wisdom and direction from the word of God. No wonder I was feeling so discouraged! Rather than producing spiritual fruit, I was producing the worldly fruits of complaining and whining about everything. While the programs I was watching each day were not bad programs, they nonetheless had consumed my life to the point where I was not taking the time to nurture my relationship with God. I was engrossed in all the cooking shows and learning about preparing gourmet meals while spiritually I was starving to death.

The very first day I opened my Bible rather then reaching for the TV remote, I felt such a difference in my attitude. I was renewed spiritually by the power of God's word, as my thirsty spirit drank deeply of the beautiful message of God's love and mercy. I began to see life in a positive way again rather then dwelling on the negative. I was made aware of how quickly the little foxes can come in without us realizing they are there and destroy our relationship to the Vine.

Little foxes come in many shapes and sizes; excessive TV watching, continual cell phone usage and texting, too much computer time, the desire for material things, busyness, being involved in too many activities, job stress, worry, fear, relationship issues, and a multitude of other everyday things. When we feel distant from God and spiritually weak, it's not because God has moved, it's because we have allowed other things to crowd God out of our life.

One way to see where you are spiritually is to do a fruit inspection. What evidence of spiritual fruit can you see in your life? Galations 5: 22-23 says the fruit of the spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. If we aren't seeing these fruits in our daily lives, chances are there are some little foxes nibbling away at our relationship to the Vine. Beware of those little foxes!

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