Friday, June 12, 2009

Spirituality and the Dentist Chair

So yesterday I twittered something that I know sounded like I had been given too much novacaine. I twittered that going to the dentist was like coming to church in many ways. Now before you start sending me emails of your dentist horror stories just listen to mine. For one I have the most amazing dentist in the world. (Dr Mike) Shameless plug for my friend and fellow Relevant peep. So be kind with the dentist stories at church he is sensitive. (LOL) Back to the story. So a couple of weeks ago I went in to have some dental work done and at that time Mike told me that I really needed a good cleaning. So that is what I had done yesterday and that is when God spoke to me in the dentist chair. (I admit it is a little weird, but stay with me). As I sat down in the chair the hygienist (Penny) came in to perform the same cleaning that she has done on probably hundreds of patients, but God wanted to speak to me as His patient at the same time.

So the cleaning began. She started by asking me some questions you know the standard "do you have any pain in your mouth?" etc to which I responded, "actually one tooth on the top is kind of hurting." She then said, let's take a closer look at that and she pulled out the x-ray machine and snapped a picture. "We will take a look at that in a moment," she said as she went back to work. She proceeded to scrape off all of the tartar that had built up on my teeth over the past year. As she was scraping the tartar off she was telling me why it was hurting and bleeding a little. She said when you do not brush and floss on a daily basis the bacteria in the food mixes with your own saliva and creates this substance called tartar and then there is no way you can get it off without help. She then asked me the dreaded question, "Do you floss?" to which I responded, "Well sometimes but probably not as much as I should." I told her that I like the new flossing tools on the stick. I said "those make it easier," to which she responded. "They do make it easier but they do not do it properly." I was busted. She then told me she was going to polish my teeth and get them looking good. Then she said, "now I am going to teach you how to brush and floss the right way." I was a bit taken back, I mean I am 40 years old and I have been brushing my teeth and flossing occasionally for years. I did not think I needed a class on brushing and flossing. But she insisted. She then showed me that she had a mirror above the dentist light and she adjusted it so that I could see what she was doing. She said " I want you to watch how I do every step so you can replicate it when you get home." I watched her brush and floss every tooth with precise detail. Her next statement rocked my world. She said, "Paul I can show you how to do all of this, but now I am going to give you all of the tools and you are going to have to go home and do it every day for yourself." It was now my choice to determine the health of my teeth. So I left the office with a bag of tools that could and would help to keep my teeth healthy if I choose to use them.

WOW! that is when it all sunk in and God smacked me in the head with this idea that I had just experienced church. You see we come in each week and hear a message that generally poses a question as to where we are on our spiritual journey. Then we look into the Word of God to see what God has to say about that situation. Upon looking at what God says about it, sometimes we feel Him scraping the tartar off of our life and sometimes this process hurts. Then, we generally ask the question, "How did things get so bad?" This only leads to a response from God in the form of another question, "Have you been spiritually brushing and flossing each day?" After realizing that maybe we have been neglecting the proper form of spiritual maintenance, God tells us, "No problem I am going to polish you up and show you exactly what you need to do to continue the process". There is only one catch, "When you leave here, He says, you will have to do some of this yourself!"

You see, I think we get confused sometimes with two words. Salvation and Sanctification Salvation or the act of becoming a Christ follower is something that only God can do. Salvation comes from God, but sanctification is the process that God uses to make us more like Him and just like flossing and brushing, we are very involved in the success of this process. I think Proverbs is a great book to help us in this process. Keep reading this week and don't skip the process