Scripture – “Grieve, mourn and wail. Change your laughter to mourning and your joy to gloom.” James 4:9
Observation – There’s a time to let go of joy and be dejected and gloomy. A time to be downcast. That’s when we’re convicted of our own sin. When we see our own selfishness, pride, and ugliness of heart. At that point God wants our hearts to be downcast. He wants us to humble ourselves in genuine sorrow over our sins. He doesn’t want us to be happy in sin. We’re to humble ourselves, confess and turn to Him. James also says, “Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up.” v. 10
Application – My heart is heavy because of my impatience, pride, self-focus, complaining spirit, and self-indulgence. I feel weak and helpless. I want to be a loving, kind, giving woman but that’s not my natural bent. Yesterday, I pitched a terrible fit because things didn’t go my way. I let my heart be filled with grumbling, complaining, negativity, and self-focus. I know God loves me. I know my soul is secure in Jesus. My life doesn’t always show that.
Prayer – Please forgive me Lord. I can be such a mess. Please take over in my heart. Help me today to walk in Your strength. I can’t do it Lord. I need You. Please have mercy and work through me in spite of my weakness. You said when I’m weak, You’re strong. Please be strong in me. (2 Corinthians 12:9-10)
Scripture – 1 Peter 1:3-8 “His divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life through our knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and goodness. Through these He has given us His very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature, having escaped the corruption in the world caused by evil desires. For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; and to godliness, mutual affection; and to mutual affection, love. For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.”
Observation – God has given us everything we need to live for Him. It’s all there. Even our faith is a gift from Him. We have all we need to live a godly life but our part is to make every effort. His grace doesn’t mean we have no responsibility or our own job to do. He gave us life, salvation, redemption. He has given us His Spirit in our hearts, His promises to empower us. His presence always. But we need to make every effort to add to that faith: goodness, growth, knowledge, and love so that we won’t end up ineffective and unproductive. I don’t want to waste what He has given me.
Application – Am I making every effort? Am I adding goodness by making choices I know will honor Him? Am I adding knowledge by studying His word and hiding it in my heart? Am I adding self-control by obeying what He shows me is right and by denying my flesh its self-indulgence as often as I can? Am I adding perseverance by not giving up? Am I adding godliness by seeking to love God with all my heart? Am I adding mutual affection and love by choosing to show love to those around me? I don’t want to just indulge my flesh and please myself.
Prayer – Father, help me to live for you. I can’t do this in my strength and power. I need you. Help me to use what you have given me to live a godly life. Help me to know and claim your promises that help me participate in your divine nature. Please help me make every effort to grow so that I won’t be ineffective. I love you Jesus.
SOAP Bible Study
Scripture – “Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You give a tenth of your spices—mint, dill and cumin. But you have neglected the more important matters of the law—justice, mercy and faithfulness. You should have practiced the latter, without neglecting the former. You blind guides! You strain out a gnat but swallow a camel. Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You clean the outside of the cup and dish, but inside they are full of greed and self-indulgence. Blind Pharisee! First clean the inside of the cup and dish, and then the outside also will be clean.” Matthew 23:23-26
Observation – Jesus spoke boldly to the teachers and Pharisees. He confronted them about their hypocrisy. They claimed to be holy and righteous but it was all an outward show. God looks at our hearts. If we’re unrepentant and sinful inside, it doesn’t matter what we appear to be on the outside. Outward appearance doesn’t prove anything.
Application – It’s so easy to focus on keeping the rules, dotting the i’s of the law and yet neglect what’s most important to God. God’s looking for mercy, faithfulness, love, generosity, and justice. He’s looking for the one who loves Him and loves others sacrificially. Keeping the law doesn’t matter if our hearts are full of pride and self-indulgence. I don’t want to strain a gnat and then swallow a camel.
I’ve been there before. When I was sure not to take a drink, smoke a cigarette, have intercourse outside of marriage, cuss but inside was full of self-indulgence and pride. I was judgmental and selfish. The outward behavior doesn’t bring glory to God if it comes from a prideful heart. What brings Him glory is humility, generosity, self-sacrifice, and service given out of love@Saken53. Click to tweet
Jesus is the only hope for any of us. No one can earn grace or salvation. It’s a gift when we believe in Him. But believers can get caught up in “behavior” and neglect what’s most important–love and humility.
Prayer – Father, please cleanse my heart of selfishness and pride. I need you every minute of every day. I love you Lord. Please help me to love others as you have loved me.
SOAP Bible Study
“The wise woman builds her house, but with her own hands the foolish one tears hers down.” Proverbs 14:1
It’s easy to destroy but constructing takes work and patience.
Join me at Crosswalk.com to read my thoughts.
“From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded; and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked.” Luke 12:48b
While praising God at a concert, He whispered to my heart: “To whom much is given, much is required.”
“What’s required, Lord?” I asked. “What does this mean?”
Join me at Crosswalk.com to read my thoughts.
And look for the devotional called Drawing Near coming from Wholly Loved Ministries in the months to come!
Scripture – “So also you have sorrow now, but I will see you again and your hearts will rejoice, and no one will take away your joy.” John 16:22
Observation – Jesus was giving His last instructions/teaching to the disciples before He would be arrested, tried, and crucified. He knew they would be filled with sorrow. But He promised He would see them again. And He did when He rose from the dead! Then, He told them, “No one will take away your joy.”
NO ONE CAN TAKE AWAY OUR JOY
Application – The truth that Jesus died for our sins and conquered death can never be erased, taken away, or canceled. Our joy is in Him and therefore it is unshakable and can never be taken away. We are His forever and we will live forever with Him. He will wipe away every tear and make all things right.
Prayer – Praise you Jesus! Praise you that no one can steal our joy. We are yours forever and forever. Help me to live in a way that glorifies you. Thank you that even though we have trouble and suffering in this world, no one can take away that with you we will have everlasting joy and peace. Please help me keep my eyes on You instead of on the troubles of this world.
SOAP BIBLE STUDY