Use the S.O.A.P.


I grew up in Iowa, and now live in Wisconsin.  You might immediately think of food when you think of the Midwest.  There is nothing in the country quite like Iowa corn-fed pork, best served at the Iowa State Fair.  There is equally nothing like Wisconsin cheese, best eaten at a local county fair listening to polka music.  It can get mighty hot in August at any fair in the Midwest.  It’s likely you’ll clean up when you get home, after visiting the food tents and the animal barns.  Make sure and use the soap!

As good as Midwestern cuisine can be at its prepared best, there is something that is even better and something that I crave even more.  No matter where I live, what my means of making a living, or my season of life, what I desire above all is to know Jesus better and dwell with him.  I want to sit at his feet, listening and learning.  Being with Jesus has the dual effect of bringing great satisfaction, even better than a great meal of pork and cheese; and, feeling clean and refreshed, even better than taking a cool shower on a hot summer day (or a hot bath on a cold Midwestern winter day!).

One way of enjoying Jesus and connecting with the triune God – Father, Son, and Spirit, is simply reading the Bible every day and writing a few thoughts in a journal.  Reading Scripture (especially out loud) puts beneficial thoughts in your memory.  Writing your insights of from that reading into a journal presses the benefit even better and deeper not only into your mind, but into your soul.

I often use a simple method, S.O.A.P. as a means of learning from God.  Just today, I wrote this in the quiet of the early morning.  Come and see what the Lord taught me today….

S cripture – Luke 2:41-52, especially verse 45: “When they [Jesus’ family] did not find him, they returned to Jerusalem to look for him.  After three days they found him in the temple.  He was sitting among the teachers, listening to them and putting questions to them.”

O bservationJesus put himself in the posture of a listening learner.  Yes, Jesus is God.  Yes, Jesus is human.  He needed to discover, develop, grow, and learn just like we do.  At 12 years old, Jesus did not put himself in the position of pushing his identity on others.  This practice of listening and learning served Jesus well throughout his earthly life.

A pplication – If Jesus found the need and created the time to be a listening learner, how much more do I need such a practice in my life?  In today’s Gospel story, not everyone was happy with Jesus for doing this.  His hunger for learning was misinterpreted by his family as disobedience.  They were upset with him.  Sitting at the feet of Jesus in the posture of listening learner is going to be sometimes misinterpreted by others who think you should be doing something else, be somewhere else, or be somebody else.

P rayer – Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner.  I fail too many times to sit at your feet and learn from your words and ways.  Help me to faithfully carve-out time each day to be with you.  And may this humble posture of a learner and grower translate into the whole of my life so that my faith will be strengthened, and others will be blessed; through your great and powerful Name, Jesus Christ, my Lord.  Amen.

Just minutes a day being at the feet of Jesus can change your life for the better.  Imagine if you did this every day, what your life would be like, how it would transform your relationships with others, and improve your outlook on your current situations.

Today is the day to either find that journal that is hidden away, or to go out and purchase a notebook or actual journal to start recording what the Holy Spirit is teaching you at the feet of Jesus.  Maybe even stop and get an Iowa pork-chop and some Wisconsin cheese curds while you’re out.

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