Do you go to the dentist regularly? As a young child my parents instilled the importance of taking care of our teeth and having regular dental check-ups. As incentive to brush our teeth every day and avoid sugar, my daddy told us we would earn $5 each time we came out of a check-up with no cavities.
Obviously, that was a hundred years ago when $5 would purchase you more than a cup of coffee at Starbucks. In fact, when I would get that $5, I felt like the richest girl in the world. I mean, think of all the bubble gum $5 would buy, right? Needless to say, I didn’t earn the money as frequently as I should have.
There was a trick to making the money. We needed to avoid sugar as much as possible, brush our teeth regularly, floss more often than the day we visited the dentist, and have regular check-ups. To neglect one of those steps made us more open to cavities.
As I brushed and flossed my teeth last night, I started thinking about sin and tooth decay are similar in that they both sneak in when we least expect it, do damage in hidden places and by the time we notice it, some damage is already done. The best way to beat both is preventatively.
So what are some things we can do to avoid sin having it’s way in our lives?
- Be intentional in our relationship with the Lord by spending time with Him consistently. Just like brushing and flossing, every once in a while just won’t cut it. It takes time to build a relationship. Consistency is key [Mark 1:35].
- Don’t just get in the Word, but get the Word in you. This doesn’t happen as the result of casual reading. You mus to pour over it, meditate on it, study it for it to become a part of you [Deuteronomy 6:7, 2 Timothy 3:16].
- Talk with the Lord, frequently. Communication is a critical component to any healthy relationship. It isn’t just you talking, rattling off your laundry list of needs. That’s dictation. Conversation is a two way street. It’s talking and listening. You always learn more by talking less and listening more. Keep that in mind when praying [John 17:11, and John 17:21].
- Stay in community. It is important to spend time with others in the body of Christ. God told us to do this for our benefit, not His. He isn’t any less powerful or any less God if we choose not to meet. Coming together corporately helps strengthen us, allows others to carry us to the Lord when we are too weak to pray for ourselves, and overall, it just makes life more fun [Proverbs 27:17, Mark 2:4, and Hebrews 10:25].
Proper preventative care can save you a lot of pain and suffering in the long run. Make sure you do all you can to protect not just your dental health, but your spiritual heal as well. It will make a world of difference and keep you smiling.
These steps are crucial. I love that you showed the difference between dictation and communication. I think it’s also important to remind ourselves of the difference in hearing and active listening. I can hear someone talk all day long and only take in noise. We do this for a number of reasons (boredom, irritation, tiredness, etc.) however I think a lot of it also has to do with the fact that we want to speak! It’s like we are waiting for the other person to finish so that we can butt in. Yet if I am actively listening then I am taking the speaker’s words into account and letting myself meditate on them. Listening to someone else speak affirms the speaker as well as yourself that their words matter!! Same with God. He doesn’t need to be affirmed, yet similarly to human relationships He loves for us to show Him that we listen. Sometimes I have to remind myself to listen to Him and not just jump to the next thing. It’s more important for us to hear more than for us to say more.
*Like you said, it’s more important for us to hear more than say more.
Also, a lot of people believe it’s awkward to speak with God because He knows everything already….but it’s interesting that when we do speak with Him many of us end up jibber jabbering away.
Anyway, food for thought 😉