The value of a bib
The weapons we use are not human ones. Our weapons have power from God and can destroy the enemy’s strong places. We destroy people’s arguments, and we tear down every proud idea that raises itself against the knowledge of God. We also capture every thought and make it give up and obey Christ.
(2 Corinthians 10:4-5 ERV)
It was Mark Twain who reminded us of the fact, "It is easier to stay out than to get out." It might be helpful to actually use an illustration here. Think of a baby at the high-chair, all ready to eat some mushed up spinach and carrots and spaghetti. He is wearing a bright white t-shirt and his clean little diaper. What is the instinct of most parents just before they sit that plate of colorful food in front of the little guy? It is either to strip the wee one of his white shirt, or to place a bib large enough to cover it! Why? We know the stains that will be inevitable if we don't keep them away from the shirt - easier to keep (or stay) out than get out! The "weapon" against the stain doesn't have to be all that complicated, does it? Both are relatively simple - but unless we avail ourselves of one or the other, we will inevitably be dealing with the problematic stains!
There are far too many times we don't want to take that little extra effort to just "guard against" the things that "get in", but when we don't do that very well, we find the "getting out" is much, much harder than we'd like it to be. Attitudes tolerated that ought to be dismissed quickly are often setting us up for even worse attitudes, and actions, later on down the road. Look again at what Paul says - we don't just give into the things we need to dismiss - we capture them and "make them give up". I liken this to what my brother used to do when I was a little child. He'd tackle me, holding me down, tickling me until I nearly lost my breath from laughing so hard. It didn't take long for me to cry "uncle" and beg for my merciful release. But...how did I get tackled in the first place? I put myself in range! I got in his space - near enough for him to grab me - and sometimes quite deliberately, I might add!
We wonder why we are working so hard to "get out" what got into us, but we ignore the fact we "got into" that predicament because we put ourselves near enough to be drawn in and pinned down! If we'd spend just a little moment of time ahead of time taking that thought captive BEFORE we act upon it, we might find we are doing a little less "stain removal" after the fact! The issue isn't the stubbornness of the stain - it is the stubbornness of the one who allowed the stains to occur in the first place! It took only a couple of occasions of fighting to remove stains on those fashionable and cute little "man shirts" my daughter dressed my grandsons in from infancy to suddenly make her appreciate the value of removing the shirt while they "dined"! We may not learn our lesson the first time, but if we are constantly fighting to remove stains from our lives, I'd have to ask what we aren't understanding about how they get there in the first place?
We may want to "look good", not wanting to wear that "unfashionable" bib of God's protection, but I'd much rather guard against the stains of life than work hard to remove them later on! Just sayin!