Wow, I am still digging my study of the book of James in the early morning darkness. I prefer to sleep later than I am sleeping, but I just don't work in my quiet time later in the day if I put it off. I am still using the S.O.A.P method and I still like it. I encourage anyone to try it.
So many people say that they don't know how to study the Bible or what to do to study. I can understand that, and I am still learning myself. But, this S.O.A.P. method is a pattern that you can follow. I told Gene that I could use it with every book in the Bible and stay busy the rest of my life.
Today, I studied James 1:22-24 which says, "But prove yourselves doers of the Word and not merely hearers who delude themselves. For if anyone is a hearer of the Word and not a doer, he is like a man who looks at his natural face in a mirror. For once, he has looked at himself and gone away, he has immediately forgotten what he looks like."
My commentary had a great sentence about this verse: "We can measure the EFFECTIVENESS of our Bible study time by the effect it has on our BEHAVIOR and ATTITUDES." That is a pretty powerful statement.
Is my behavior and attitude being changed for the better as I read and study the Word of God? I am a work in progress as my last entry showed.
I was listening to David Platt, a pastor from Birmingham, preach a sermon on these verses and he said that too many people think that they are alright with God because they go to church once a week or because they read a 3 minute devotional in the morning. But too often people just go to church and they never take a note, they never write down one thing that they want to remember or one thing that they can apply to their lives, they don't reread the verses that were taught throughout the week, etc. Within a day or two of hearing the message, the person cannot even remember what was taught. If such a person thinks he is OK, just because he went to church or read the devotional, he is deceiving himself.
I do not want to fall into that category. I don't want to deceive myself. I want to retain what I am learning and what I am studying. I want it to change the way I think and the way I live my life. The Word of God is supposed to evoke an action within us and if there is no action, then there has been no acceptance. The American church today, according to Platt, listens to the Word and then picks and chooses what to obey, rather than obeying everything. We can probably all share some examples of how we do this.
The book of James talks about the Word of God being implanted in you. You can tell that the Word is in you by what is happening outside of you. If there is nothing happening outside of you, then chances are, there is nothing inside of you. The Word of God is powerful and will change you from the inside out.
Your life cannot be built on Sunday after Sunday attendance....just listening to the Words of Jesus and that is where it stops. Your life will end in destruction. (David Platt)
Obedience is so important. I can be "willing" to listen and obey without ever following through. For example, I can be willing to share the gospel, without ever sharing the gospel.
I want a heart that will hear and obey. I don't want to just be a "believer" but a true "disciple". I don't want to debate with God about things I study in His Word, waiting for the conditions to be just right before I step out in faith. I just want to obey. I don't want to pick and choose, laying aside the things that challenge me and just obeying what is easy.
From the verse, that would be like looking at myself in a mirror and then forgetting what I look like. Pretty ridiculous!
Well, I just wanted to share some of the things that I have been learning this week.
Until next time...
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