I had my first root canal this morning. I think they really get a bad rap. Sure, I don’t like the sound of the drill or the numbing shots or sitting with someone’s hands in my mouth for long stretches of time. But it wasn’t terribly painful – and I did have meds for numbing – and the environment was basically sterile – and the doctor was trained and experienced and had the right tools.
Evidently there was infection down in the roots of the tooth. I couldn’t see it, but I knew it was there because I felt the effects. And I couldn’t do anything about it myself! I had to trust the dentist to do what he needed to do to remove my pain. I didn’t really understand what he was doing or how much longer it was going to take or what it was going to feel like, but I sat and waited out the process.
Here’s the analogy: I’ll bet you already see it. Jesus is the doctor and sin is the infection. It’s got a hold of me deep inside and there is nothing I can do to get rid of it myself. I need someone who knows how to help and who has the resources to take care of my problem – my spiritual problem. Jesus is the only one who can heal this ache.
Now, after the root canal I’m not just stepping back into the old normal. My mouth is sore and I’m afraid to use that part of my mouth. It’s too different and unknown at this moment. I definitely have the consequences of the infection in my body. The nerve was stripped out and another substance was put in its place. Just like when sin is stripped out I need Jesus to fill that vacuum so I don’t crumple or implode or explode.
Here’s a question – is the tooth that had a root canal stronger or weaker than another tooth? As my teeth age they will naturally become weaker. The filler for the root canal is stronger. The same is true of my life when I get myself out of the way and let Jesus fill me. I am stronger when He is at the core.
No one is established by wickedness,
but the root of the righteous will never be moved.
Prov 12:3 ESV
Make sure there is no man or woman, clan or tribe among you today whose heart turns away from the Lord our God to go and worship the gods of those nations; make sure there is no root among you that produces such bitter poison.
Deut 29:18 NIV