By: Staci Stallings
I happened to be driving while I was listening to Dr. Lee A. Simpson yesterday. He was talking about Romans 10:17: “Faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.” This is the way Dr. Simpson always starts every teaching. He makes the audience repeat a small prayer, and in that prayer is this verse. Now prior to Dr. Simpson, I don’t remember ever hearing this verse or hearing of this verse, but when you understand it, it’s very powerful.
It starts with “Faith cometh by hearing.” That means that if you’ve never heard about faith or if you do not expose yourself to good words–going to church, listening to CD’s about God’s love, reading about God’s love, discussing God’s love with those around you, then you will have no faith. Faith comes by HEARING. Remember the parable of the scattering of the seeds. Some fell on the path and was eaten by the birds. That’s those who are exposed to God but close their hearts and ears to Him. Some fell on the rocky ground and did not have a chance to grow. These would be people who might hear something about God, but they are so overcome with “their own” problems that they don’t listen to what God is saying.
There are those seeds that fall among the weeds. These would be people–maybe even Christians–who go to church on Sunday morning, but do not listen and then walk out into the world intent on being part of that world. They fall among the weeds. They see others cheating and figure that’s the only way to get ahead. They see others being unfaithful and decide that everybody’s doign it so why not? They “hear” the word of God, but they choose to live among the weeds.
Finally, there was some seed that fell on the good ground, and it sprang up and was fruitful. These are the ones who understand Romans 10:17. “Faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God.” That second hearing is not about natural hearing. It means that you become spiritually aware of what God is doing in your life. The verse says that you get faith by hearing, but you hear (understand, GET IT) when you really get into the Word of God. Becoming God’s best friend, or more precisely letting God become YOUR best friend, through deep contemplation and understanding of God’s Word is how you begin to hear–it’s choosing to “fall” on the good ground.
As Dr. Simpson talked, he began to use the metaphor of a car. You have F for Full, and E for Empty. Because I was driving, I could look down at my gas gauge, and the point hit home in a dramatic way.
If you are driving and you “forget” to check your gas gauge, how long will it be before you are sitting on the side of the road in a world of hurt, trying to figure out how far the next gas station is and how you’re going to get gas from there back TO your car? Or worse, what if your gas gauge is broken? Last year, my van was in the shop, so I drove my mother-in-law’s car. The gas gauge was broken, and let me tell you, that’s a real issue! I was constantly watching the odometer and trying to figure out exactly how far I had gone on X number of gallons of gas… It was not fun.
But think of it this way. How many people in our world are WALKING because their gas tank ran out of God gas? From the misery I see, A LOT.
“Faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God.”
How often do you fill up your Faith tank? Every Sunday? Is that enough Word to get you through the week, or does it only last a couple of days?
If you’re feeling more world empty than faith full, maybe it’s time to get into the Word. Get some God music, sit down with your Bible–not because you have to but because you can. Read The Message Bible–one of my favorites to read the Bible in today’s language. Get together with God friends. Whatever you do, don’t stay world empty.
And just like driving, don’t wait to fill up again until you’re running on fumes. Fill up, every day, in some way. You will be surprised how much better your seed grows, and how much better your life car goes if you do!