S.O.A.P. – “Scripture, Observation, Application, Prayer”
I pray that your hearts will be flooded with light so that you can understand the confident hope he has given to those he called—his holy people who are his rich and glorious inheritance. I also pray that you will understand the incredible greatness of God’s power for us who believe him. This is the same mighty power that raised Christ from the dead and seated him in the place of honor at God’s right hand in the heavenly realms. Ephesians 1:18-20 NLT
In those days you were living apart from Christ. You were excluded from citizenship among the people of Israel, and you did not know the covenant promises God had made to them. You lived in this world without God and without hope. But now you have been united with Christ Jesus. Once you were far away from God, but now you have been brought near to him through the blood of Christ. Ephesians 2:12-13 NLT
Therefore I, a prisoner for serving the Lord, beg you to lead a life worthy of your calling, for you have been called by God. Always be humble and gentle. Be patient with each other, making allowance for each other’s faults because of your love. Make every effort to keep yourselves united in the Spirit, binding yourselves together with peace. For there is one body and one Spirit, just as you have been called to one glorious hope for the future. There is one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is over all, in all, and living through all. Ephesians 4:1-6 NLT
Ponder the phrase “the blood of Christ.” Consider the gravity of your sin and the ultimate generosity of God.
Do you believe truth doesn’t change despite your preferences, beliefs, or opinions?
Do you believe love is the most powerful change-agent in the universe? Why or why not?
“…you have been called to one glorious hope for the future.” How often do you find yourself leaning into this hope?
Lord, thank you that the gravity of my sin did not weigh down the power of your love! Thank you for bringing me salvation—forgiveness through your death and a new life through your Holy Spirit—so that I can live in hope and share it with others!
Imitate God, therefore, in everything you do, because you are his dear children. Live a life filled with love, following the example of Christ. He loved us and offered himself as a sacrifice for us, a pleasing aroma to God.
Let there be no sexual immorality, impurity, or greed among you. Such sins have no place among God’s people. Obscene stories, foolish talk, and coarse jokes—these are not for you. Instead, let there be thankfulness to God. You can be sure that no immoral, impure, or greedy person will inherit the Kingdom of Christ and of God. For a greedy person is an idolater, worshiping the things of this world.
Don’t be fooled by those who try to excuse these sins, for the anger of God will fall on all who disobey him. Don’t participate in the things these people do. For once you were full of darkness, but now you have light from the Lord. So live as people of light! For this light within you produces only what is good and right and true. Ephesians 5:1–9 NLT
God invites you to imitate HIM…not as an employee or a soldier…but as his dear child. Take a minute and consider the WOW before you consider the HOW.
Now to the HOW: consider spending extra time reading what Jesus said, what Jesus did, who Jesus loved, what Jesus felt and why (anger, joy, surprise, frustration). As the “visible image of the invisible God,” Jesus’ life presents a picture of God that we are called to imitate, not as an outsider, but as a loved child of God.
Is there anything in your life you need to reject—any immorality, impurity, greed—so you can be free to pursue God’s will for your life?
Someone once said we choose our joys and sorrows long before we experience them. Will your current attitudes/actions, like seeds, allow you to harvest what you desire for your future?
Lord, thank you for redeeming my past, giving me life today, and securing my hope for the future. I want to be filled with your kindness so I overflow to the world around me!
Carefully determine what pleases the Lord. Take no part in the worthless deeds of evil and darkness; instead, expose them.
It is shameful even to talk about the things that ungodly people do in secret. But their evil intentions will be exposed when the light shines on them, for the light makes everything visible. This is why it is said, “Awake, O sleeper, rise up from the dead, and Christ will give you light.”
So be careful how you live. Don’t live like fools, but like those who are wise. Make the most of every opportunity in these evil days. Don’t act thoughtlessly, but understand what the Lord wants you to do. Don’t be drunk with wine, because that will ruin your life.
Instead, be filled with the Holy Spirit, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs among yourselves, and making music to the Lord in your hearts. And give thanks for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. Ephesians 5:10-20 NLT
“Carefully determine what pleases the Lord” – take a moment and consider your attractions, attitudes, and actions…is the Holy Spirit bringing to mind something good that God would like to build into your life? Something bad that God would like to free you from?
“Make the most of every opportunity in these evil days” – what your NEXT opportunity? How will you make the MOST of it?
“…be filled with the Holy Spirit…” While the Holy Spirit always lives with and in a believer (John 14:15-23), you have the opportunity to live more fully in the rhythms of the Holy Spirit! Instead of leaning on chemicals for temporary “joy,” Paul encourages believers to embrace the Holy Spirit’s offer to create real joy, gratitude, and peace in your soul. Choose the gift today!
Lord, thank you for promising to come and make your home with me. Calm my spirit and build my faith. Help me to call out evil and promote good, being careful to live joyfully in your paths!
And further, submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.
For wives, this means submit to your husbands as to the Lord. For a husband is the head of his wife as Christ is the head of the church. He is the Savior of his body, the church. As the church submits to Christ, so you wives should submit to your husbands in everything.
For husbands, this means love your wives, just as Christ loved the church. He gave up his life for her to make her holy and clean, washed by the cleansing of God’s word. He did this to present her to himself as a glorious church without a spot or wrinkle or any other blemish. Instead, she will be holy and without fault. In the same way, husbands ought to love their wives as they love their own bodies. For a man who loves his wife actually shows love for himself. No one hates his own body but feeds and cares for it, just as Christ cares for the church. And we are members of his body.
As the Scriptures say, “A man leaves his father and mother and is joined to his wife, and the two are united into one.” This is a great mystery, but it is an illustration of the way Christ and the church are one. So again I say, each man must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband. Ephesians 5:21–33 NLT
While a human marriage is created by God to last “until death do us part,” the ultimate marriage relationship between Jesus and his bride, the church, is ETERNAL! Therefore, whether you are married like Peter or not married like Paul, your most important relationship is with Jesus. Out of the significance and security Jesus brings flows the mutual love and respect husbands and wives should have for each other.
Husbands and wives enter into a voluntary relationship that has roles defined by Jesus and his relationship with the church. If you are not married, how can you encourage those who are? If you are married, how will you honor Jesus first and your spouse second?
Lord, submitting to others does not come easily for me. Thank you for teaching me that love and humility are not weak but incredibly powerful!
Dear brothers and sisters, if another believer is overcome by some sin, you who are godly should gently and humbly help that person back onto the right path. And be careful not to fall into the same temptation yourself. Share each other’s burdens, and in this way obey the law of Christ. If you think you are too important to help someone, you are only fooling yourself. You are not that important.
Pay careful attention to your own work, for then you will get the satisfaction of a job well done, and you won’t need to compare yourself to anyone else. For we are each responsible for our own conduct.
Those who are taught the word of God should provide for their teachers, sharing all good things with them.
Don’t be misled—you cannot mock the justice of God. You will always harvest what you plant. Those who live only to satisfy their own sinful nature will harvest decay and death from that sinful nature. But those who live to please the Spirit will harvest everlasting life from the Spirit. So let’s not get tired of doing what is good. At just the right time we will reap a harvest of blessing if we don’t give up. Therefore, whenever we have the opportunity, we should do good to everyone—especially to those in the family of faith. Galatians 6:1–10 NLT
Why are godly relationships SO valuable?
Why is gentleness and humility essential in helping someone who has been overcome by a sin—for you AND them?
What sort of pride is encouraged and beneficial for the Christian?
We all want the “harvest of blessing” – review the stipulations for receiving this…
Lord, someone once said that with great power comes great responsibility. You have given me both. Help me to assess myself with your value judgments; help me serve others with wisdom, gentleness and humility; and help me not to get tired and give up, so I can harvest your blessings “at the right time”!
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