S.O.A.P. – “Scripture, Observation, Application, Prayer”
Jesus said, “Watch out! Don’t do your good deeds publicly, to be admired by others, for you will lose the reward from your Father in heaven. When you give to someone in need, don’t do as the hypocrites do—blowing trumpets in the synagogues and streets to call attention to their acts of charity!
“I tell you the truth, they have received all the reward they will ever get. But when you give to someone in need, don’t let your left hand know what your right hand is doing. Give your gifts in private, and your Father, who sees everything, will reward you.
“When you pray, don’t be like the hypocrites who love to pray publicly on street corners and in the synagogues where everyone can see them. I tell you the truth, that is all the reward they will ever get. But when you pray, go away by yourself, shut the door behind you, and pray to your Father in private. Then your Father, who sees everything, will reward you.
“When you pray, don’t babble on and on as the Gentiles do. They think their prayers are answered merely by repeating their words again and again. Don’t be like them, for your Father knows exactly what you need even before you ask him!” Matthew 6:1–8 NLT
Do you feel like you have to impress God or other people when you pray? What does Jesus say?
What is the godly motivation for giving and praying?
Why are motives so important to God?
Do you look forward to the rewards your Father in Heaven will give you if you pursue his righteousness with the humility Jesus teaches?
Lord, my heart is full of many things, some good and some bad. Some enriching, some downright ugly. At times, I have what I believe are good motives. At times, I know I’m just doing the right thing to get noticed. Thank you for calling me to a better standard of living. Teach me to humbly, quietly serve you and others…not to be praised or noticed by people, but to be praised and noticed by you. Everything you give me is a gift; help me to fear you in a way that helps me see you clearly. Help me to draw close to you so that you will, as you promised, draw close to me!