Friday, December 2 (Suggested Scripture Reading: John 15:1-11)
Two of the biggest news stories to come out this summer were issued by the FDA. First, in August, the United States Health Department issued the announcement that all of that flossing we’ve been griping about doing for so long really isn’t doing as much good as originally thought. According to the researchers (possibly a group of 8-12 year-old boys), flossing has few health benefits.
The American Dental Association cited other research that showed flossing does help lower the build-up of plaque, however this research was seen as unreliable. Apparently the ADA’s studies only lasted a couple of days (presumably since they weren’t able to find people who were willing to actually floss for longer than that).
The second story was that the FDA is banning most of the ingredients in antibacterial soaps. These ingredients have not been proven to be effective, or safe, for long-term daily use. This ruling involves more than 2,000 products!
When I heard these stories, I couldn’t help but see the spiritual parallel. We can spend a lot of effort trying to keep our lives and our hearts clean. We can fall into the false assumption that strong willpower is all we need to overcome the powerful temptations that we are exposed to throughout our days. We get distracted by one self-help book or support group after another. But Proverbs 16:25 tells us, “There is a way which seems right to a man, but its end is the way of death.” When we look to ourselves or to other men, we are looking in the wrong place.
In this passage in John 15, Jesus tells us that our spiritual health is rooted in Him. The more we dwell in His presence, the healthier we are. The more we abide in Him, the more we glorify Him by bearing much fruit, and, ultimately the more we are able to experience the joy of His fellowship.
Living a pure and fruitful life in Christ isn’t a burden, but it isn’t always easy. We are surrounded by many distractions that appeal to our flesh, and many of them seem right and good to us. But when these distractions draw us away from the presence of Christ, they are only leading us down the wrong road.
Today, as you prepare your heart for our coming Savior, remember that He has begun a good work in your life, and He will complete it! Pray for true repentance in your heart, and let Him draw you back into His presence. Commit today to abide with Him.