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I have a dentist appointment today, and it got me thinking about how we sometimes think of and treat God and church attendance.

When I was a kid I would brush my teeth twice before going to the dentist, as if that would somehow help me. After the appointment I would be careful about what I ate and about keeping my teeth clean. But only for the rest of the day, maybe the next morning. Then it was back to usual.

But over time I began to understand why all the things I learned from the dentist were important and why you are told to do and not do certain things. So over time I have also developed and implemented regular tooth-cleaning habits, almost to the point of brushing or cleaning my teeth “religiously.” The habits have become so regular that some have joked that I brush my teeth when I smell food!

But let’s be honest. How many times do we try to “clean up” the day or even the night before church, listen to God’s Word on Sunday, and though we try to practice what we’ve learned, by the end of Monday we’re back to what we were before? How many times do we go to church to “fix” a problem, and then stop going regularly once we think everything is fine? How many times do we disregard God’s instructions for our daily spiritual care?