Today I say goodbye to an old friend. They have been a part of my life since my childhood and for the most part they have been a blessing. They have shared mealtimes with me, they have even been there when I have needed to grit my teeth. But recently I have been fed up to the back teeth with them. Or, more precisely, with it.
Today I will have a troublesome back tooth extracted. It was damaged years ago by an impacted wisdom tooth and has been persevering since then, aided by dentists, until it has reached a point where it is no longer viable. In fact it is a liability. Cold food in particular sends an electric shock of pain shooting out of the tooth. It needs to come out.
As I wait for to go to the dentist it strikes me that all of us have habits, behaviour and (to use the Biblical word) sins that need to be extracted. We can leave them there but they will simply cause us problems and pain – and perhaps cause others around us pain too. Thankfully God’s Spirit is gentler than a dentist and doesn’t use sedatives. But we have to want him to help us, and we have to help him to help us.
If our problem is anger we can help by trying to take a long cleansing breath before responding to someone or something.
If our problem is gossip we can help by resolving to pause before we speak and ask whether what we are about to share really is ‘for prayer’.
If our problem is lust we can use the ‘off’ button on remote controls.
And so on. You know your own weaknesses. How can you help God to help you?
As I say goodbye to this old friend that has become painful, I pray that God’s Spirit will also help me with extractions so I might become a better free sample of Jesus.
Be blessed, be a blessing