Nip It In The Bud
If you grew up watching the Andy Griffith show or are married to my husband, you still watch Andy Griffith. In the "One Punch Opie" episode, .Opie must learn to fight when a new boy ridicules him and begins to lead his friends towards a life of crime. The conversation between Andy Taylor and Barney Fife goes like this:
Barney Fife: "Yeah, well, today's eight-year-olds are tomorrow's teenagers. I say this calls for action and now. Nip it in the bud. First sign of youngsters goin' wrong, you got to nip it in the bud."
Andy Taylor: "I'm gonna have a talk with 'em. Now, what more do you want me to do?"
Barney: "Well, just don't mollycoddle them."
Andy Taylor: "I won't."
Barney: "Nip it. You go read any book you want on the subject of child discipline and you'll find that every one of them is in favor of bud-nippin'." ....
Barney: "Only one way to take care of it."
Andy: "Nip it."
Barney: "In the bud."
To nip something in the bud means to stop something at an early stage. In the early 1600's this term was used when cold weather would nip a flower in the bud. If we don't want a flower to bloom, we "nip it in the bud." Like a flower, we sometimes need nipping to prevent sin. Are there things in your life you need to nip in the bud? James 1: 14, "but each person is tempted when they are dragged away by their own evil desire and enticed." Sounds like we all have those things that need to be removed at the very beginning before it takes root in us and grows.
Scripture shows us that we are guilty of sin by thinking things not just acting on them. Matthew 5: 21-22, "You have heard that it was said to the people long ago, ‘You shall not murder, and anyone who murders will be subject to judgment.’22 But I tell you that anyone who is angry with a brother or sister will be subject to judgment. Again, anyone who says to a brother or sister, ‘Raca,’ is answerable to the court. And anyone who says, ‘You fool!’ will be in danger of the fire of hell." Matthew 5: 27-28, "You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’ 28 'But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart.'" That is a scary thought that our thoughts can be sinful. I am pretty sure we can all think of someone we do not care for. Just turn on the television!
God is telling us it is a heart issue. If we let our heart wander away from God, we will begin to take action to sin against God. Murder is wrong but so are hateful thoughts, even if no action is taken. Ouch! Adultery is wrong but lust is just as wrong, even if no action is taken. When these things happen, hearts have gone astray and that is what Jesus is warning us about. The real key to fighting sin is to nip it in the bud before it takes over our thoughts! That is the only way to be in a safe place when temptation arises.
We are going to mess up and we are going to make bad choices. We all sin against God every day. But the good news is that God can help us grow and be more like Jesus. We have to be intentional staying close to Him each day. This will prepare us to be better equipped for those times of temptation. When we do this the Holy Spirit has more room in our heart to work on us. The Holy Spirit gives us what we need to be more Christ like. Galatians 5: 22-23, "But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law."
Stop sin before it starts. “He who chooses the beginning of the road also chooses the place it leads to.” Nip it, nip it, nip it in the bud!