One of the takeaways I keep coming back to with our reading of 1 John is that the key for all of our choices between light and dark always returns to this question. Are we abiding in Jesus? If we are abiding in Him, walking with Him, growing with Him, we will have the discernment and grace to choose light over dark. We will know which path is right and we will have the grace to follow it.
So then the question becomes how do we do? How do we abide in Christ? What does that look like? This is where I like to turn the teachings of so so many saints who have gone before, but especially, for me, John Wesley. Wesley spoke to his followers about what he called “the means of grace.” These were things that we did, and in doing them, God would give us the grace to grow more faithful. This is not “works” theology or “earning our salvation” but these are ways that God has given us to grow, to learn, to be faithful.
For Wesley, the five primary means of grace were: prayer, searching the scriptures, communion, fasting, and holy conferencing. For us today, and each day, I believe that prayer and searching the scriptures are things we can do now to grow and abide in Jesus.
So, today, I want to share with you two practices that I believe can help us pray and read scripture more faithfully.
For prayer, I want to encourage you to learn the ACTS method of prayer. Here is a great link from Billy Graham talking more about it. I would encourage you to go and read more about it. In short, this method means
- A – Adoration, the worship of God.
- C -Confession of sin.
- T – Thanksgiving, thanking God for all He has done.
- S – Supplication, giving God our concerns and requests.
This method is not the only way to pray, but I have found it a helpful tool.
For scripture, I want to encourage you to look at the SOAP method. Here is a great link from Olive Tree, a wonderful bible study tool. In short SOAP means
- S – Scripture, read the passage slowly, looking for what speaks to you.
- O – Observation, what do you see, what jumps off the page to you?
- A – Application, what is the passage speaking to in your life right now?
- P – Prayer, prayer about what God has shown you and for Him to reveal more to you.
These methods are not perfect and not everyone will love them. But I found that for me, these two helpful tools help me to better abide in Jesus.
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