For Lord’s Day June 10, 2012
My dentist this week gave me a lesson in flossing. When she’s looking inside my mouth, there’s no hiding I need to floss more. Now, I’ve been doing better than I used to do because she’s been holding me accountable (I’ve been at the dentist four times since February to begin dealing with my teeth after a decade of denial). There’s no hiding if I floss or not. When I do, my gums are pink and thin, and don’t bleed when she works on mis dientes. Pero, when I haven’t been flossing daily, my gums are red and swollen and bleed when she applies the tools of her trade. You know what I’m talking about (admit it!).
Recognizing that it is easy to put off, even with the dental floss staring at me when I’m quickly brushing to go to bed tired, she gave me some advice. Keep some floss at different places in the house to remind you and where it’d be convenient to do so briefly. Maybe where I read my books, watch a program, for instance. A place where you notice it and are more likely to pick it up at the time. Made sense to me. Not sure I’ll be flossing while exegeting, but it did make sense. Remove the obstacles of fatigue and forgetfulness by putting something that’s actually quite easy to do and always very worth while at a place you’re most likely to encounter and engage.
Made me think about devotions. Where might you put your Bible, Westminster Standards, and devotional books to more naturally stop and open them up and do some spiritual maintenance? To sink your teeth into something more meaty than magazines, TV, and video games more often than not? How can you strategically place Bibles around the house: near the kitchen table, in the living room next to where you lay the remote, by your bedside on TOP of everything else on your night stand right in front of where you reach to turn off the lamp? How about keeping your Psalter next to you so you might sing something to start the day with?
Wherewithal shall a young man cleanse his way? by taking heed thereto according to thy word. (Psalm 119:9)
So will I sing praise unto thy name for ever, that I may daily perform my vows. (Psalm 61:8)
Be merciful unto me, O Lord: for I cry unto thee daily. (Psalm 86:3)
Blessed is the man that heareth me, watching daily at my gates, waiting at the posts of my doors. (Proverbs 8:34)
Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee. (Psalm 119:11)
The law of the LORD is perfect, converting the soul: the testimony of the LORD is sure, making wise the simple. The statutes of the LORD are right, rejoicing the heart: the commandment of the LORD is pure, enlightening the eyes. The fear of the LORD is clean, enduring for ever: the judgments of the LORD are true and righteous altogether. More to be desired are they than gold, yea, than much fine gold: sweeter also than honey and the honeycomb. Moreover by them is thy servant warned: and in keeping of them there is great reward. (Psalm 19:7-11)
Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in thy sight, O LORD, my strength, and my redeemer. (Psalm 19:14)
Sing praises to God, sing praises: sing praises unto our King, sing praises. For God is the King of all the earth: sing ye praises with understanding. (Psalm 47:6-7)
I will extol thee, my God, O king; and I will bless thy name for ever and ever. Every day will I bless thee; and I will praise thy name for ever and ever. (Psalm 145:1-2)
And he said to them all, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me. (Luke 9:23)
Well, I sure do like it when I floss more regularly. It doesn’t hurt if it’s a habit. And it heals if it’s a habit. My teeth feel much better (breath probably is better too, but don’t ask me to prove it). I sure do like it when I spend daily time with God too. There’s no hiding it, at least from my family, when I don’t. Much less spiritual plaque collects up. Much less bleeding over things that shouldn’t be stuck between my teeth anyhow. Much more meaningful meditations with fresher experiences of God’s grace and glory. For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. (Hebrews 4:12)
“Give us this day our daily bread”. He gives it to us. Do we put it in our mouths? Do we chew on the kinds of things that will clean our teeth and sharpen them for spiritual things?
Well, pardon the mixed metaphors in this devotion. But let’s see how we can put some simple dentist discipline into our devotional life. We’ll all be the better for it. And Christ’s body will be more clean, holy, and fresh in our service and witness to the Great Physician.