You don’t have to brush your teeth . . . if you don’t want to keep them. When we eat, there are acids in our food which combine with the bacteria in our mouths to form plaque. After enough plaque builds up, it hardens into tartar and causes cavities and gum disease. Most dentists recommend brushing twice a day and flossing once a day to prevent these tooth problems. They know that if you don’t brush your teeth and floss, you will have to pay them a visit. But there aren’t too many dentists who will twist your arm behind your back and make you brush and floss. They leave the decision up to you, but you have to live with the consequences.

Just like no one can make you brush your teeth and floss, no one can make you live a godly Christian life. You have a free will. Pastors, teachers, friends, and parents can lead you in the right direction, but you have to “brush” and “floss” on your own. Your mentors know that if you don’t do what is right, you will have trouble in your life, but they can’t force you to make good choices. No one is going to interfere with your free will. The choice is yours . . . but so are the consequences.

If you want to keep your teeth, then you need to brush and floss them. If you want to be blessed by God, then you need to live in obedience to His Word. The question is, how much do you want God’s blessings in your life? Only you can answer this question, but think through it carefully. Your answer will influence every relationship you hold dear. It will overflow into every decision you make. It will affect everything you do, say, and think for the rest of your life.

Devotional by Dr. James A. Scudder