S.O.A.P. a method of spiritual journaling
Observation (What does it say?)
Application (What does it say to me?)
S - Hebrews 12:11 “No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.”
O - Discipline is a very necessary part of our Christian training towards spiritual maturity.
A - Lack of discipline in our lives produces unhappy, unproductive and sometimes self-destructive tendencies. Discipline (correction), whether from outward sources or inner Spirit-led drive, boosts our self-worth, makes us healthier physically, emotionally and spiritually. I know in my own life when I make the effort to correct a bad habit or strengthen a good one, I am more content, focused and productive in my day. My thoughts and intentions are clearer, my soul is more at peace - a general sense of well-being surrounds me. I have always been keenly aware of being disciplined. From an early age I was encouraged in many ways to live a disciplined life. I was taught to keep an orderly bedroom which transferred in later years to keeping an orderly house of my own (most of the time!). My classroom at school was kept in order and I encouraged my students to keep their space tidy.
I have always been a “collector” which lends itself to organizing and placing things in compartments and categories. I thrive in an orderly environment. My soul is more peaceful when I am not surrounded by chaos and mess. We serve a God of order and consistency. The chaos of this world is manmade and not found in the intricate, delicate, carefully designed creation around us.
When we are out of control or undisciplined in any area of our lives:
✦ physical - poor eating habits, lack of exercise or sleep
✦ emotional/mental - angry, anxious, depressed, worrying, lack of joy or patience
✦ spiritual - limited time in the Word, lack of a meaningful prayer life, unconfessed sin
✦ social - isolated from fellowship with believers, meaningful communication, healthy relationships then our harvest of righteousness and peace will be poor and scarce.
I learned at an early age to memorize scripture and am thankful now for the harvest of verses that speak to my mind daily. I was disciplined in school to work hard and do well on projects and assignment which helped lead me to a career in teaching. I worked hard to pass on that sense of self-discipline to my students to help them succeed in school and ultimately in life. I’ve tried to avoid any addictive behaviour that could lead to sinful habits. It’s not always been easy or even pleasant. I’ve failed many times and been tempted to give up. But with the Spirit’s help and guidance I’ve come to realize it’s not a one time effort. As today’s verse points out, it’s in the training - a lifelong focus of throwing off whatever hinders our race toward Jesus and eternity with Him. I am in daily training, guided, prompted and cheered on by God’s Spirit. He loves me enough to discipline me and urges me to keep moving in a forward direction, equipped to live in His righteousness and with a spirit of contentment and peace.
P - To God be the glory!