Monday, July 14, 2008

SOAP Study - 7/14/08 (1 Thess 2:17-20)


1 Thessalonians 2:17-10

"But since we were torn away from you, brothers, for a short time, in person not in heart, we endeavored the more eagerly and with great desire to see you face to face, because we wanted to come to you--I Paul again and again--but Satan hindered us. For what is our hope or joy or crown of boasting before our Lord Jesus at his coming? Is it not you? For you are our glory and joy."



"Even though we had to personally leave you for a short time (even though you really have been in our hearts this whole time) we desire, in fact we are very eager, to be with you once again. We have wanted to come to you--I Paul have continually wanted to come to you--but Satan has stopped us each time we tried. Why are you so important to us? When Jesus comes back we are going to tell him about you. You have been our hope and joy. You have been the crown of our ministry. You make us shine giving us great joy."

What is God saying?

If God's ultimate command to us is love, then what does the completion of love look like? It is seeing others loving and obeying God. It is seeing others doing what we have done. It is seeing those who we have invested ourselves in loving others just as much as we do. Paul was never concerned about fame or fortune. He was always concerned about the destiny of people's souls and the quality of life they lived, quality only found in living life in a relationship with God. He wanted to see people accepting, in faith, Jesus as Savior and Master. When people fully gave their heart to God and lived a life style that reflected such Paul was the most happy. He was completely filled with joy.

What is God saying to me?

What am I truly concerned about? Am I concerned about how I look? I admit that I am tempted to do this, but the truth of the matter is, I can't look any better then when I allow myself to be instrumentally used in the life of a person in bringing them into a relationship with Christ and seeing them become more like him. In essence there is nothing I can do to make myself look better than forgetting about trying to make myself look good and concentrate on helping others.

God has given us a purpose and that is to become more like Jesus. What did Jesus do? He came to reveal who God is and to bridge the gap that separates us from God. I cannot be the bridge to God like Jesus, but I can be a bridge between others and Jesus.

I want to be able to say to God on that final day "Look at all these people who came to you as a result of you using me to be a bridge to Jesus." The only thing that will really count in the end is how dedicated I was to doing this one thing.


I constantly need to remember what my purpose is. It isn't about me. It is about God!!! It is about helping others come to know God and helping them walk in close relationship to him. How do I constantly remember this? By communing with God everyday so that he is always on my mind. I need to also be aware of how I am making him look to those around me. Jesus said, "If you love me then you will obey my commandments." I need to carefully obey his commands. What are his commands? Love the Lord your God with all your heart, strength and mind and love others as yourself. Two very simple commands that make Jesus look good. Not only do I need to make him look good but I need to engage people respectfully and strategically. They need to hear the Gospel message and be given a chance to respond.


Father, it is my prayer that you would fill my heart with a passion for helping others see and learn who you are. Fill me with a passion to help others come to know you and grow in their relationship with you. Please help me to put my tendency to only look at myself aside. Help me find contentment in doing this. Help me to know a sense of accomplishment in my life as I do this so that I will not look in any other direction but yours. I am your servant. Thank you for hearing my prayers.

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