SOAP = Scripture, Observation, Application, Prayer.
S : Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, so now, not only as in my presence but much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure. (Philippians 2:12, 13 ESV)
O : Paul encourages to not only be a light in the world in his presence but even more so in his absence. His very next words are: work out. I like to compare this “work out” to an actual gym workout. The ones that make you wish you were dead. I recently did a crossfit workout with a friend, by the end of the workout my push-ups went from being military worthy to almost eating concrete with every rep.
Those are the kind of workouts I believe Paul is referring to in his “work out”. There will be incredibly difficult decisions while following Christ. Decisions that have you in fear of losing a friendship, being called a hypocrite, and even decisions that make you question your calling. Decisions that make you fear and tremble. The battlegrounds to hash out this fear and trembling is many times found when no one else can see. I heard an author once write that you can see an individual go to church, you can see them serve in church, you can see them attend a small group, but you can’t see that individual spend alone time with God and that could be more important than all the other events put together.
A : Learn to utilize alone time with God. It’s easy to become motivated to do this by a good sermon or thought provoking book, but when motivation dies let discipline take its place. Learn to find comfort in asking other people whom you trust (close friends, pastors, elders, and leaders) who will dedicate time in prayer for you and your decisions.
P : God give me the discipline to serve you not only in the public eye but also during times I am alone. Help me gain and keep the desire to spend alone time with you to “work out” my salvation, my calling, and my decisions. Thank you for your blessings.