S.O.A.P. – “Scripture, Observation, Application, Prayer”
Jesus said, “Beware of false prophets who come disguised as harmless sheep but are really vicious wolves. You can identify them by their fruit, that is, by the way they act. Can you pick grapes from thornbushes, or figs from thistles? A good tree produces good fruit, and a bad tree produces bad fruit. A good tree can’t produce bad fruit, and a bad tree can’t produce good fruit. So every tree that does not produce good fruit is chopped down and thrown into the fire. Yes, just as you can identify a tree by its fruit, so you can identify people by their actions.” Matthew 7:15–20 NLT
Jesus told some church-going, law-abiding, stand-up pillars of the Jewish community, “For you are the children of your father the devil, and you love to do the evil things he does. He was a murderer from the beginning. He has always hated the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he lies, it is consistent with his character; for he is a liar and the father of lies. John 8:44–45 NLT
The Apostle Peter wrote to the church, “Stay alert! Watch out for your great enemy, the devil. He prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour. Stand firm against him, and be strong in your faith. Remember that your family of believers all over the world is going through the same kind of suffering you are. In his kindness God called you to share in his eternal glory by means of Christ Jesus. So after you have suffered a little while, he will restore, support, and strengthen you, and he will place you on a firm foundation. All power to him forever! Amen.” 1 Peter 5:8–11 NLT
To be successful in life, I must know my Enemy. “Satan is a liar.”
As you continue to grow in your ability to navigate the Bible, consider looking up the verses and reading the surrounding context. One of the most important principles that lead to good interpretation is to simply read the section in context.
Do you have an example in your life of someone influential who appeared harmless but turned out to be very destructive?
There are people who, like Satan, hate the truth. What is your attitude towards truth? Do you share it or keep it to yourself?
If “staying alert” can keep us from being devoured by our great enemy, the devil, then we have a choice to make. What safeguards are you putting in your life so you are not deceived and destroyed by Satan’s deception?
Lord, thank you for teaching us about our enemy. Help me remain alert, prayerful, and well connected to trustworthy people so we can be safe from the attacks of the enemy. Thank you for calling me to share in your eternal glory through Jesus.