“I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you”—Psalm 119:11 (NIV).
Most followers of Christ do not want to intentionally sin against God. Yet, sometimes we do. So, how do we clean up our hearts so that we are less likely to sin against God? By applying God’s Word to our lives. So, I want to give you a simple strategy for applying God’s Word to your life. It is called using some S.O.A.P.
What is S.O.A.P.?
S.O.A.P. stands for Scripture, Observation, Application and Prayer. It is a way of getting more out of your time in God’s word. I got this from a pastor named Wayne Cordeiro who serves our Lord in Hawaii (nice place to get a call to).
How does it work?
When I sit for my daily quiet time read the Bible as anyone normally would with one simple difference. Underline or make note of any verses that jump out at you with special significance. Let me show you a real life example.
Say I begin reading Colossians 2.
Scripture: As I’m reading I find a verse or verses that stuck out to me. For me it was the following:
Colossians 2:6–7 (NIV84)—So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live in him, rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness.
Observation: What did I observe about the scripture that struck me. This can be one sentence or a whole book. So, I write out my observation:
Jesus is who and what we need. We received Jesus in faith, so let us live daily in faith in Jesus. Our foundation and strength and source of our faith is in Jesus Christ. Let our lives overflow with thankfulness.
Application: How can I apply the observation so that it affects my life today. So, I wrote this:
Focus my faith in Jesus because the foundation of my faith is Jesus.
Prayer: Write out a prayer to God based on what you just learned and ask him to help you apply this truth in your life.
Thank you, Jesus! You are more that enough and all that I need. Keep my focus on your today.
See how the text comes alive when you do that? Try it for a week and let me know how it works for you.