For me, SOAP is a personal journey into the Word of God. Today is a good example of how “there are no rules” when opening the Bible.
The Observation section is about extracting the few verses or even clips of information that stood out to you. I believe this is how God speaks to us.
Today’s selection is long, with more red letters than anything we have stepped into before. I felt anxiety when first looking at it thinking this will be 100 pages long and take me a dozen hours to properly expose any relevance.
That is not the case however, I was reminded that as I move through today’s text, I am looking for anything that jumps out at me. SOAP is not a bible study in the sense that you are looking for deep theological and historical accuracy and teaching truths.
It is about finding what is relevant at the moment. What is God trying to reveal? What does His Word spark in your soul?
So for that, it is organic, just let it flow. It can be as in-depth or shallow as you feel led to step into each time you come to the plate. This likely won’t be the last time you ever read this verse, and the next time something completely different may jump out.
SOAP should never feel like a “have to”, it should always be a “want to”, filled with expectation that God will indeed meet you there, as I know He will for me right now.
John 3:1-15 (ESV)
You Must Be Born Again
3 Now there was a man of the Pharisees named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews. 2 This man came to Jesus by night and said to him, “Rabbi, we know that you are a teacher come from God, for no one can do these signs that you do unless God is with him.” 3 Jesus answered him, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God.” 4 Nicodemus said to him, “How can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter a second time into his mother’s womb and be born?” 5 Jesus answered, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God.6 That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. 7 Do not marvel that I said to you, ‘You must be born again.’ 8 The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear its sound, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes. So it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit.”
9 Nicodemus said to him, “How can these things be?” 10 Jesus answered him, “Are you the teacher of Israel and yet you do not understand these things?11 Truly, truly, I say to you, we speak of what we know, and bear witness to what we have seen, but you do not receive our testimony. 12 If I have told you earthly things and you do not believe, how can you believe if I tell you heavenly things? 13 No one has ascended into heaven except he who descended from heaven, the Son of Man. 14 And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son of Man be lifted up, 15 that whoever believes in him may have eternal life.
- unless… he cannot… see… enter… the kingdom of God
- the flesh is flesh… Spirit is spirit
- are you the teacher… yet you do not understand
- we speak of what we know and bear witness to what we have seen, but you do not receive…
- whoever believes in him may have eternal life
- UNLESS. This is an action item. It is saying without doing A you cannot experience B. Yes it is God who calls us to him, reveals himself, it is his faith that runs in our veins, and his blood that cleanses us, but still. We must be born again! Am I born again? Have I experienced revelation in the Spirit realm of which I had never experienced before being born again? Was I blind and now I see? If the bible and God and spiritual matters seem like folly, then I would hazard a guess it is because the Holy Spirit has not overtaken our own spirit.
- There are two worlds at war, much like it explains in Galatians 5. The flesh will always be the flesh, with its desires and schemes. But the Spirit is regenerated. It is 100%, whole, completed works of Christ with us. The only way to overcome the flesh is to walk in the Spirit. That doesn’t mean that our humanity ever dies, but Christ in us wins every time if we choose Spirit over the flesh. In what areas do I still not surrender to the good and perfect will of the Spirit in me?
- A teacher that doesn’t understand, that hits a little close to home honestly. How easy it is to regurgitate the bible and yet not live out its precepts. Hug someone at church and flip the bird to someone on the freeway. I receive grace and mercy on my knees and then offer judgment and resentment to those I’m in conflict with. Paul stated he kept his flesh in check so that after he preached he would not be disqualified. In what ways am I still hypocritical in my faith?
- The theme continues, we bear witness to the explainable things we can see, hear and feel… but how much do we still not believe in the unknowable things of God? How much do doubt and near mockery of spiritual things still hold residence in the deepest recesses of the mind or heart?
- Whoever believes… I can’t express enough in my own life how I’ve discovered that “hidden” beliefs are at the core of everything that ails mankind. Buried deep in our subconscious are the voices of self-doubt and condemnation, fear and worry, judgments and unforgiveness. In what ways do I profess belief yet still have evidence of disbelief in my life? Self-worth? Ability to resist temptations? That I’m a new creation and the old is dead? That I have everything I need to live a holy life? The word tells us who we are and what we can do, do I live as if that was true in every way imaginable?
Father God, Your Word continues to be deeply probing, exposing, the two-edged sword. And I welcome it Lord, for this is what sanctification looks like. May I always give you permission to expose the areas in my life where hypocrisy or worse heresy seeks to thrive in a mind and body that I profess to be dead to sin. Only You know the true depths of my heart Lord, may you continue to reveal to me the areas in my life that are not living and loving free through the mercies and wonders of all that You have done for me. May this day You be glorified in all ways through our total reliance on the Gift of the Holy Spirit that is You within me, may we all live as the born again beautiful miracles that we truly are.
As mentioned before, there are so many deep theologically significant relevancies to our daily life found within God’s Word that 50 people could look at the same passages and come up with 50 different viewpoints on relevancy. For today, these are mine.
Did you become aware of something different?
As always, my prayers that each of you have a wonderful day, let’s all go love on someone today.
Blessings in Christ,