SOAP stands for Scripture, Observation, Application and Prayer. Today’s journal comes from reading 1 John 4.
“They are from the world; therefore, they speak as from the world, and the world listens to them. We are from God; he who knows God listens to us; he who is not from God does not listen to us. By this we know the spirit of truth and the spirit of error.” –1 John 4:5-6
John often makes a clear delineation between the people of God and those of the world. Here he is speaking of a “spirit.” This word refers to an unseen influence–most likely the Holy Spirit for truth and demonic spirits for error–that affect how people think, feel and will (choose).
There is a “spirit of error.” A demonic spirit that influences people’s thinking. This helps explain why many people simply can’t see or understand obvious truths. Changing their minds involves more than giving good, rational arguments–it involves setting them free from a “spirit of error.”
Be careful that I listen to “the spirit of truth” and not the “spirit of error.”
Don’t be surprised, and don’t take it personally, if people of the “spirit of error” don’t listen to me.
Most importantly, recognize the real issue when I teach and evangelize. People must be spiritually liberated. Their spiritual eyes must be opened. Satan must be bound! Prayer for the lost is essential, or preaching will have no success. Remind myself EVERY DAY that this is a SPIRITUAL BATTLE above an intellectual battle.
Father, I acknowledge that there is a great SPIRITUAL battle raging in the world. It’s so easy to only see the physical and to argue the intellectual and believe I can persuade people. Father, open my eyes to see where the real battle rages–in the spiritual realm. Train me in how to use my spiritual resources of prayer and the word of God. Help me to always rely on You to show Your power because You are far greater than he who is in the world. When I preach, I ask You to free people from a spirit of error–free them from demonic deception–so that they might listen to Your truth and be truly saved.
This I pray in the name of the Great Liberator, Jesus Christ!