Wednesday, September 3, 2014

A trip to the dentist

Today I went to the dentist for the first time in four years… I know, I know… gross! But let’s get past the judging. The “dentist” I went to was a school for dental hygienists where you basically get awesome attention to your teeth for almost no money, it’s a pretty sweet deal. Because they are students they have to know what they’re doing and how to explain it and it’s a very thorough check up… nearly 3 hours. As I was sitting there honestly kind of nerding out over the cool dental gear they have out these days, my mind started going. One thing that the student who was taking care of me said was that our body HATES bacteria and will do whatever it can to fight it or stay away from it. Well, I have two permanent retainers that make it rather hard to thoroughly brush the teeth they are attached to, and it showed in my check up today. My teeth are in decent condition, no real cavities, etc… but she could tell that bacteria was there and told me that it’s through cleanings that the bacteria is removed so your body doesn’t have to “run away from it” and cause you serious problems in the long run.

As fun as it that very poor lesson in dental hygiene was, that’s not why I’m writing. I want us to look at our lives… there are things in our past that tend to make it hard to deal with certain situations and sin. Much like my very permanent retainers, they may be have a purpose to protect or preserve, a “coping mechanism” of sorts, a wall we put up and it makes certain things difficult to reach and sometimes down right off limits. Maybe it’s a behavior, a temptation, a habit that we have that we just don’t like to expose to the convicting work of the Spirit and the double edged sword of His Word. We go to church, we do a nice little topical “brushing” so we feel nice and clean and minty when we leave but we fail to allow God to do the real work. We may go to retreats or afterglows where we give Him access once in a blue moon but then after that emotional mess and actually dealing with the filth in our lives, we neglect it again for years to come only for it to build up more and more. Sin is a lot like cavities and gingivitis, by the time it hurts, it’s almost too late and drastic and painful work needs to be done. We feel like we’re protecting ourselves not dealing with the tough stuff, when really we are doing the exact opposite. People in oral health emphasize the need for consistent and frequent cleanings to keep that nasty bacteria at bay, if only we would take care of our spiritual health like we do our mouths… we brush twice a day, but how often do we read the Bible or pray? We go into the dentist (be it a bit begrudgingly, but we go nonetheless) when we begin to feel discomfort, but do we seek godly counsel when we’re going through trials or have fallen into sin? Anyway, just some things I was pondering from the dental chair today. Who knew God had so much to “drill us on” from a trip to the dentist.


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