My wife and I generally take a nightly bike-ride for several reasons. Yes, we are trying to get back into shape after a very long deputation. But more importantly, it allows us to talk and share about the things we encountered during our day. Last night, at the close of our ride, the topic turned to a subject that invoked a response from me with which I am not happy. In my mind, I thought that the situation had been resolved some time ago. I was surprised when Glenda pointed out both the incorrectness of the attitude and related sharpness of my response. You see, the topic of discussion was one which we had discussed several times in the past and evidently, my response had “adjusted” with time. I was no longer in alignment with how Jesus would have responded. I was unaware of this and am still trying to reconcile why I responded the way I did.
While praying and meditating on the event, God placed three verses in my mind.
In his great love poem, Solomon spoke of little foxes that would destroy the vine of love. Why little foxes? Big foxes can be easily seen and either eliminated or chased away. They are large enough that they can reach the plumper grapes that are higher in the vines. Also, the damage is mostly limited to the loss of grapes that they eat. However, the little foxes can only reach the grapes if they lean on the vines. The pulling that results from their weight tends to break the vine, thus destroying the entire plant. This is compounded because their size causes them to be overlooked by the watchman. A cute little fox can destroy several vines before being discovered.
I competed in high school track. My favorite competitions were the 100 yard dash and 440 yard sprint. During practice and during my normal exercise, I wore standard cross-training or running shoes. They were well cushioned and heavy. However, when I would compete, I would wear special shoes. The weight of my normal shoes was measured in pounds, but my competition shoes were measured in ounces. This simple lesson has stayed with me through life. You see, there was a definite difference in speed depending upon which shoes I was wearing. It was simply a matter of weight.
So what do little foxes and weight have in common?
How can I be fruitful if the branch that connects me to “The Vine” is damaged? The nourishment that I need from its Life-Giving Source will never arrive. Even if there are buds on my branches, they will not develop. Additionally, if my branch has the beginnings of grapes, the moisture required for maturation will not be present.
What if a little added weight keeps me from completing the race? What if I become tired or stumble because of a little weight? I may think, “but it’s not sin…,” but, is it worth it? My goal is eternity in the presence of God. What if that little weight keeps me from my goal?
As David penned the words in Psalm 139:23-24, I wonder if he was thinking about little foxes and unnecessary weights? That is where my mind is tonight. God, shine your light on my heart. I want to not only be pleasing to you, I want to be profitable. I want the fruit of our relationship to be worthy of you. Show me the areas that need changed or eliminated. I care only to be like you. I ask you to empower me to change any part of me that is displeasing to you. I am your willing vessel. Jesus, You are all that matters.
Psalms 139:23-24 (KJV)
23 Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts: 24 And see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.
Song of Songs 2:15 (KJV)
15 Take us the foxes, the little foxes, that spoil the vines: for our vines have tender grapes.
Hebrews 12:1-2 (KJV)
1 Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, 2 Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.