I’ve gotten behind on SOAP and I’m not sure how I feel about that. It’s not that I haven’t been in the Word and in prayer and seeking how to live from His righteousness and not mine.
And it’s surely not because I haven’t been writing, the evidence is all over my page as I press into the stormy waters of my emotional pains from the past and seek deeper understanding and surrender.
But I committed to doing one SOAP per day, and the reality is, I de-prioritized it.
It doesn’t do any good to beat ourselves up if we don’t hold steadfast to an intention, goal or desire, but it is important to take ownership of the decisions and not make excuses.
Instead of skipping days, I will now seek the discipline needed to catch up and stay on course. That means I will have to do at least 2 one day soon, and that’s ok. And if I miss another, then there will be three.
The choice is always ours, where we are in life is directly related to the priorities we set and the actions we take, period.
John 4:27-42 (NIV)
The Disciples Rejoin Jesus
27 Just then his disciples returned and were surprised to find him talking with a woman. But no one asked, “What do you want?” or “Why are you talking with her?”
28 Then, leaving her water jar, the woman went back to the town and said to the people, 29 “Come, see a man who told me everything I ever did. Could this be the Messiah?” 30 They came out of the town and made their way toward him.
31 Meanwhile his disciples urged him, “Rabbi, eat something.”
32 But he said to them, “I have food to eat that you know nothing about.”
33 Then his disciples said to each other, “Could someone have brought him food?”
34 “My food,” said Jesus, “is to do the will of him who sent me and to finish his work. 35 Don’t you have a saying, ‘It’s still four months until harvest’? I tell you, open your eyes and look at the fields! They are ripe for harvest. 36 Even now the one who reaps draws a wage and harvests a crop for eternal life, so that the sower and the reaper may be glad together. 37 Thus the saying ‘One sows and another reaps’ is true. 38 I sent you to reap what you have not worked for. Others have done the hard work, and you have reaped the benefits of their labor.”
Many Samaritans Believe
39 Many of the Samaritans from that town believed in him because of the woman’s testimony, “He told me everything I ever did.” 40 So when the Samaritans came to him, they urged him to stay with them, and he stayed two days. 41 And because of his words many more became believers.
42 They said to the woman, “We no longer believe just because of what you said; now we have heard for ourselves, and we know that this man really is the Savior of the world.”
- v27 – But no one asked…
- v34 – My food is to do the will of him who sent me
- v35 – open your eyes and look at the fields! They are ripe for harvest
- v36 – harvest a crop for eternal life
- v36 – So that the sower and the reaper may be glad together
- v39 – many believed…because of the woman’s testimony
- v40 – they urged him to stay with them, and he stayed 2 days
- v41 – because of his words many more became believers
- v42 – [we believe] [not because of what you said, but because of what he said]
- v42 – this man really is the Savior of the world
v27 – Nobody asked Jesus why he was talking to “the Samaritan woman”. Gee, I guess not being willing to talk about the elephant in the room has been around a long time. Was it out of fear or respect?
- How often do I question God in my heart when events unfold in a way that makes no sense to me?
- Am I honest enough to go to Him with my concerns or secretly despise Him in His apparent failure?
v34 – Food = doing God’s will? Clearly, he’s talking about spiritual sustenance, and this is a wonderful passage that shows the importance of not just praying, worshiping and going to church to receive from God, but that we must also be doing the work of the Kingdom to maintain our spiritual health.
- In what ways am I serving God and doing His work?
v35 – Open your eyes and look. Man, this one hits home. If you want to know how you can begin doing the will of God, simply ask Him to break your heart for what breaks His. You will begin to see pain, suffering, oppression, poverty, loneliness, fear, sickness and a host of other human sufferings that God wants to use us to step into, to be His heart, hands, and feet. But we can’t do that until we see through His eyes.
- Have I opened my eyes to the needs of others?
- If so, how do I respond when I see a need I could fill? Avoid eye contact? Cross the street? Justify it by thinking “it’s just a Samaritan woman”?
v36 – A crop of eternal life. Again, this is so convicting. I do pray, I do worship, I do share the Gospel (somewhat anonymously through this blog), I come alongside other believers. But we are talking about the Salvation of souls.
- How much urgency do I feel to talk to friends, family, co-workers, or complete strangers about the Good News of Christ for fear that if they don’t wake up, they are going to hell?
- Do I really believe eternal damnation is on the line for all non-Jesus followers?
- Would my insecurity in sharing my faith matter at all if I truly believed the people I know and love are going to experience eternal suffering without Jesus?
v36 – the purpose of sowing is to make a harvest possible. And with that, both the sower and the reaper are rewarded with joy in seeing lost souls saved.
- Do I get excited when witnessing baptisms?
- Do I get emotional when others respond to an altar call?
- Do I even care about other’s faith journey?
v39 – Many believed because of one person’s testimony. If she had not told others about how God invaded her life and offered to change everything, the town would not have come to know Jesus, or find eternal salvation. One woman’s testimony.
- Do I have a testimony for Christ?
- Do I share it with others and excitedly say “come see”.
- Do I even believe my testimony matters?
v40 – They urged him to stay.
- Do I ever pray to Jesus with urgency?
- Do I open God’s Word with urgency?
- Do I seek discernment, courage, and strength from the Holy Spirit with urgency?
v41 – Because of his words. The Word of God makes believers. Not my words, not my prayers for someone. Not my lesson plans, or creative ideas.
- Do I invite people to religious activities or introduce them to Jesus?
- Do I see myself improperly as the harvester, or understand that I am just a sewer of His Words?
v42 – because of what he said. Again, my testimony, my grace & compassion, service to others, my loving-kindness and other Christ-like qualities draw people to me, but it’s critical that I hand them off to Jesus.
- The same questions above apply, is my discipleship journey of redemption about me or Jesus?
v42 – This man really is the Savior.
- Am I convinced?
- Have I heard God’s word in my life? Have I seen His miracles in my life? And I convinced yet, that Jesus is who He said He is?
Abba Father, I am so incredibly grateful for your Words that set us free. The last few days have been a difficult deep dive into the memories and emotions of my childhood, but I’m getting through it. I believe that is only possible because the revival of reliance, the remembrance that you are not “just” god, YOU ARE GOD OF THE UNIVERSE, AND YOU LOVE ME, AND YOU PROMISE TO ALWAYS BE WITH ME AND PROTECT, GUIDE AND COMFORT ME. I CAN DO ALL THINGS THROUGH YOU WHO STRENGTHEN ME. When my faith gets weak, my ability to cope weakens. My wholeness is directly proportional to my faith. I confess Lord that in recent seasons I had become complacent, got comfortable with You and forgot what it was like to worship You. Thank you for Your steadfast patience, You have always been there for me, and I’m grateful.
Man, I love this stuff! This season of renewal is moving mountains in my life. Well established mountains that I didn’t believe were movable. That’s on me for not believing it and not on God for not moving them. He makes all things new, hallelujah!
How about you guys, getting anything out of this SOAP series?