Flossed Lately?

Even the most saintly among us tend to lie about three things. 
  • First, the number associated with our height (usually rounded up).
  • Second, the number associated with our weight (usually rounded down).
  • Third, the answer given in response to the question asked by the dentist or hygienist inspecting our teeth - "How regularly do you floss?"
As a word of disclaimer, I am a son and grandson of a dentist and my father-in-law also bears D.D.S. after his name.  My family pays attention to teeth!  From my father and father-in-law, you can hear them say a catchy phrase - catchy and challenging:  "Only floss the teeth you want to keep."

One is hard-pressed to form many more sentences with such liberty and conviction wrapped up in such a verbal package. 

As a child, I looked forward to losing teeth.  I even enjoyed the feeling of moving the nearly-ejected tooth back and forth in anticipation.  I have no such desire now.  I like my teeth - all 28 of them.  (I lost four molars of wisdom long ago.)  Therefore, when tempted to neglect flossing, I replay the phrase in my head:  "Only floss the teeth you want to keep."  And each time I do, I reflect on the liberty in that statement. 
Those that know teeth best speak challenge with liberty. 

The one who knows all things best did the same.  Jesus (as recorded in John, chapters 10 and 14) challenges with liberty. 

9 I am the gate; whoever enters through me will be saved. They will come in and go out, and find pasture. 10 The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.
John 10:9-10 (NIV)

“I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me."

John 14:6

- In the former, Jesus refers to Himself as a gate.  He invites sheep (trusting believers) to enter through Him into security.
- In the latter, Jesus refers to Himself as the way, truth, and life.  He offers the way by serving as the way.  He speaks truth and we choose whether or not to believe Him.  He offers life and we choose whether or not to die to self in order to live.  (See 1 Corinthians 15:31 and Galatians 5:24-25.)

Earlier in John, the writer records the best known and centrally important words in the Bible . . .

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.
John 3:16 (NIV)
God gave.  Jesus died.  You and I decide whether or not to believe.  Paul, the apostle, brought great clarity to the situation in which we all enter.
For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Romans 6:23 (NIV)

God gave a gift.  Eternal life to be exact.  He gave the gift and waits for each recipient to open it, to embrace it.

In a few days, I have a dental appointment.  I anticipate the question.  And I will answer (honestly) - "regularly."  I was taught well and given great advice.  And I took it.  I was given a gift of advice and by keeping it, I keep my teeth. 

I am the gate; whoever enters through me will be saved. They will come in and go out, and find pasture.
John 10:9 (NIV)
Jesus came and spoke truth (more than advice).  By believing Him, I have been saved.  I believe His truth and, therefore, I keep my life - even though I will die.
Jesus told her, “I am the resurrection and the life. Anyone who believes in me will live, even after dying.
John 11:25 (NLT)


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