Thursday, November 20, 2014

Learning to listen to God using the SOAP method, part 2

I'm practicing the SOAP method of Bible Study and listening to God. We Christians have turned Bible Study into such an academic scientific thing - it's a bit scary. I'm assuming the acronym SOAP is also meant to convey that by spending time listening to God and conversing with him, we will also wash and refresh our souls - like a good shower. I woke up grumpy today. Too much pressure in preparing for our anniversary celebration at Arrow. I need some time to be quiet, listen to my own heart and then to listen to God. I'm sure he'll help me align my heart to his. I hope so. To review, SOAP stands for:
  • Scripture: Choose a passage of scripture to read. Read the sections before and after the scripture to be sure you understand the context. Read and Reread it over and over slowly. Read it outloud. 
  • Observe: Notice what is going on? Look carefully at the words used. Write down any questions and observations you have? Notice things like repetitions, emotion words, action words, etc.
  • Apply: Ask God "How does this apply to me? In this step you need to allow the Holy Spirit apply the truth to your life. Don't be a hearer only, who goes away unchanged by the truth.
  • Prayer: Talk to God about what He just said to you. 

Here is a long youtube video to help you quiet your heart. You don't have to watch the whole thing. Just watch it long enough until your heart begins to quiet down. You might also want to play it at night and fall asleep to it. Before you read the Bible, prepare your heart to listen.

"Let the message about Christ, in all its richness, fill your lives. Teach and counsel each other with all the wisdom he gives. Sing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs to God with thankful hearts. And whatever you do or say, do it as a representative of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through him to God the Father." Col.3.16-17 

S - For my SOAP practice I am going to use Col 3:16-17. I will return to this scripture everyday for a while and I believe God will speak to me.

O-A: Today I notice that there is an order to these commands (admonitions?). He first says "Let the message of Christ, in all its richness, fill your lives" THEN he says "teach and counsel each other". For many years I taught others, but the message about Christ did not fill my life. I wasn't full of the message, I was full of self .  As my wife would say "let's just call it what it is."  I cannot count the times when I prayed to God for a message to share with others. I was like the man has guests arrive in the middle of the night and has no food to feed them. I banged on God's door crying out "this congregration is hungry and I have nothing to feed them, please help me." He did, but I was sharing truth that I wasn't experiencing. What a shame!

"in all its richness" - Wow. I love that phrase - richness. God wants to fill me with all the richness of the message about Christ. If I am filled with ALL the richness of this message then I will be prepared to teach and counsel others. That teaching will flow from an abundant life. It will have power because I am experiencing and living that which I tell others.

"Let" - that seems a bit passive. Let, allow, permit.

P- Father, I want the message of Christ, in all its richness, to fill me today. I offer myself to you - please fill me with the message. I actively yield to you. I trust you, by your Holy Spirit, to fill me with the richness of the message, the good news about Jesus. Forgive me for the many times I have tried to teach others without first experiencing your touch and filling.