Ah….the dentist. The guy so many of us love to hate. I actually don’t mind going to the dentist for teeth cleaning appointments. Our family actually had our bi-annual cleaning appointment recently. Before we left the house, I brushed and flossed my teeth like I always do. When my husband saw me brushing, he looked at me with a very puzzled expression. He asked me why I was cleaning my teeth. He continued to say, “Isn’t that the reason we are going to the dentist?” I laughed. He was right! Why was I cleaning my teeth right before I was going to get my teeth cleaned?! I never really thought about it before, but when I did, it seemed totally ridiculous. I guess my reason was that I was somewhat ashamed for my dentist to see me with dirty teeth. Since his specialty is teeth I always want him to see mine in their best condition – cleaned, flossed and freshly rinsed with mouth wash. I feel a little embarrassed admitting this to everyone, but it’s the truth.
The more I thought about it, the more I realized that this is similar to what many of us do when it comes to God.
Have you ever met someone who says that they aren’t clean enough or good enough to come to Christ? I have. I have witnessed to and invited several people to church that have told me they are not ready. Many people say that they have ‘work to do on themselves’, or that they have to ‘get things in order’ before they can approach God or have a relationship with Him. Some people have even told me that they won’t even enter a church building until their ‘lives are right’ out of fear that something bad would happen. I get the sense that most people feel this need to clean themselves up before having a relationship with God. I’m not sure where this idea comes from, but it is not true. In fact, it is quite the opposite – we go to God to get clean!
Many people don’t realize or they forget that God created us and knows us better than we know ourselves. He sees everything that we do, think and feel whether we acknowledge Him or not. Avoiding Him doesn’t help us at all. God knows just how imperfect we are and loves us still – unconditionally. He knows our hearts and our deepest thoughts. He knows our flaws, failures and insecurities better than we know them. He desires to have a relationship with us anyway. More than that, He wants us to trust Him. He does not expect us to clean ourselves up before we come to Him. He doesn’t want us to fix ourselves before getting to know Him. In fact, we are actually powerless to do so. God, is the only One who can change us completely. We can try (kind of like me trying to clean my teeth ahead of time), but our ways do not work. Sure we may be able to make ourselves look pretty on the outside, but God sees past the outer appearance to the deep places of our soul. We may even be able to change certain behaviors with a little discipline, but that doesn’t deal with the root of the problem – sin.
When I brush my teeth, I am able to get some of the dirt off and my teeth may look a little nicer, however, there are things that I am unable to see, such as plaque, tartar, cavities or worse! It takes a specialist to thoroughly clean my teeth and repair these things by using his special tools and wisdom. In the same way, God is the only One who is qualified to remove our sin, clean us up and deal properly with the deep issues of our heart. He is THE EXPERT!
Even when I do my very best to clean my teeth before my dental appointments, my dentist always seems to notice something – usually something that I am trying to hide. At every visit, it never fails, he’ll ask about my coffee consumption. Ugh! I sit there hoping that I’ve done good enough job cleaning so he doesn’t notice, but he does, because that’s his job. Do I need to feel ashamed and hide this from my dentist? No. Seems a little silly doesn’t it?
It is the same way with God. He sees everything that we would like to hide from him. He wants us to come to Him, so He can help us. We do not need to attempt to clean ourselves up before having a relationship with Him. The whole purpose of Christ’s visit to Earth was to do the work that we couldn’t do ourselves. Once we accept that – God does the rest!
I know that God can be intimidating. After all, He is holy. Do you know what else? He is love. He loves us so much and invites us to simply come. Come to Him as you are. Come with all of your stains. Come with all of your imperfections, your mistakes, your shortcomings and your baggage. He wants to do an amazing work in us if we’ll let Him. He just wants YOU!
For those who feel unworthy, ashamed or just too messed up to come to God – come anyway! Stop trying to fix yourselves on your own, and give it all over to the One who cares for you and longs to make you a new creation. Come to God and be healed. Be changed. Be clean. Be free! The first step is to accept God’s Son, Jesus Christ as your personal Savior. Allow Him into your heart and spirit. I promise that He will do such an awesome work in you – something beyond what you can imagine.
Maybe you already know Jesus as your Lord and Savior, but have not allowed Him to reign in a certain area of your life. Maybe there is something in your life that you have been trying to manage, fix or clean up on your own. Stop! Stop trying to fix [by yourself] what can only be fixed by the Expert. Give it over to the One who can truly help you. Run to His throne of grace and allow Him to do what only He can!
So please remember that while some things in life may require some prepping, pre-cleaning or pre-treating, it is not so with God. We can come just as we are – no matter how dirty.
I hope that you find this little word encouraging today.