Originally scheduled for May 5
Consider, if you
will, the plight of the ordinary dentist. You pay him to make
repairs to your teeth; but you also pay him to prevent more decay —
which thus of course means that he has less work to do. By doing
this you are depriving him of some future income. Your dentist
doesn’t seem to mind; in fact, he thinks it’s a good idea. You will
notice that your insurance company usually will pay for preventive
work as well. One good example of preventive work for the dentist is
a teeth cleaning session. Every six months or so you are to go in
and experience that symphony of scraping sounds which marks your
teeth being cleaned.
It is a form of
preventive maintenance. Not surprisingly, there are lots of things
on this planet which benefit from the concept of preventive
maintenance. For example:
of your car recommends that you bring it in at certain intervals to
have the oil and filter changed. This helps prevent damage to the
engine, and thus in the long run saves you money.
Human beings have
the same thing. You get an annual physical examination; you buy
vitamins to help prevent various diseases; you get vaccinated to
prevent other diseases.
have this. If you have an antivirus program on your computer, the
chances are excellent that it conducts an antivirus scan at frequent
intervals. They are set to do this without you noticing — it’s
called “background processing” — but they do it nonetheless.
In a perfect
world this would not be necessary. This is not a perfect world.
God has a similar
program with regard to sin. It’s a part of communion.
We are taught
that we are to take communion regularly. One reason for this is so
that this preventive maintenance will take place.
Each time we
partake, we are first to examine ourselves. We are to look at how we
are behaving; we are to look at how others might see us — and then
find those things which need to be fixed. We are looking for
As we find it, we
are to set in motion the process of removing it. First we are to
repent of our sins. That means telling God we are sorry — but also
turning our lives around to stop doing whatever it is that
displeases God. Then, asking God’s help, we are to follow through
and reform our lives to match his desires, not ours.
Don’t take this
lightly. If you fail in dental maintenance — brushing, flossing,
teeth cleaning, and so on — the dentist resorts to the drill. If you
fail in spiritual maintenance, you oblige God to resort to measures
which are both more powerful and more painful. Examine yourself,
therefore, and then repent and reform.