I visited one of my “NOT” so favourite places today. The dentist! I’ve been having an occasional “niggle” in one of my teeth, and decided I had better get it checked out. Unfortunately my dentist didn’t have good news for me. Upon all the examinations and x-rays he discovered one of my teeth was not in good shape, as that “niggle” is being caused by decay which has reached down almost to the nerve. I am now lamenting that I haven’t been more vigilant about going to my check up’s, and wondering how that “little niggle” which I thought hadn’t been causing much of an issue, is in fact far more serious than I thought.

It got me thinking this afternoon, as I commiserated about my  trip to the dentist, that life can be full of those “little niggles” which we often ignore until it causes enough pain and discomfort for us to do something about them. On thinking about it I realised I have been bothered by that niggle a lot more than I would at first acknowledge; I’d just been adjusting what and how I did things.

How often do we do the same thing with the issues that niggle at us in our everyday lives? Sadly we too often can leave those things which start out as not too serious a problem until they flare up and cause obvious damage. We adjust, push aside and try to ignore what is actually glaringly obvious if we would be honest and listen to the warning signs, and God’s gentle directives.

God exhorts us to deal with our issues; those underlying often hidden things in our lives. He knows that it’s usually not the obvious issues in our lives that will cause us the biggest problems and threaten to “take us down”. It’s the little offenses, unforgiveness, negative and harmful habits,  attitudes, or even complacency when it comes to our relationships with Jesus and our loved ones, which niggle at us, but which we mostly ignore and leave to fester and spread.

The bible cautions us to “Catch for us the foxes, the little foxes that ruin the vineyards”. (Song of Solomon 2:15). It’s the little things that dig under our defenses and eat away and undermine who we are, that we need to watch out for. It’s those things that can catch us out. It’s those very issues that are capable of doing an incredible amount of damage that we need to be watchful about.

My word of advice as I make myself go to the dentist tomorrow to deal with that “not so little niggle”, is for us to face our issues, those “little foxes” in our lives head on. Don’t delay, postpone, or procrastinate anymore. One by one excavate them out of your life.

Because if we don’t, as I’m sadly discovering, that decay will spread and eventually hit a painful nerve. Then it won’t just be a little niggle anymore, but more like a root canal, and it could end up costing you far more than you think!

 Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it. (Proverbs 4:23)

Search me, O God, and know my heart; Try me and know my anxious thoughts; And see if there be any hurtful way in me, And lead me in the everlasting way. (Psalm 139:23)

Prayer: Lord search my heart and reveal and confront me with those seemingly “little” things in my life, which are in actual fact eating away at who I am. Show me where they are causing damage to my relationship with you, and those around me. Can you please rid my life of those destructive “niggles”, so that I can live healthy and free. In Jesus name Amen.