We hear this scripture all the time in church, “Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of God.” (Romans 10:17) We are taught that in order to have more faith we need to read the Bible more, study more, and come to church more so we can hear the Word of God.
Rarely, do we understand that this is a two-part sentence. The first part says, “Faith comes by hearing.” This is the part that is rarely taught in its full spectrum. Whatever we put in our hearing, whatever we are listening to gives us faith in that thing. That’s the thing we are trusting in.
For example, if you are constantly listening to the news, which mostly reports only bad things, then you come to believe that the world around you is bad.
The Word of God is a double edge sword. It works both ways. It tells us to be slow to speak1, which most of us aren’t. It tells us to that we are who we think we are in our hearts2. It tells us that we can have whatever we want if we just speak it and do the right things3. It tells us that life and death are in our tongues4.
But somehow, we don’t connect any of those scriptures to faith working in our lives. If we are constantly talking, we may not even realize how much we are actually dooming ourselves. Truly our faith is based on what we hear. Every day we have a choice to listen to one of three voices at any given moment. Today, we’re going to talk about the first voice and the second part of that scripture.
What is God Saying to You?
The first voice belongs to God. When we pray, whether in the morning, noon, night or all day, do we take time out to listen to what God is saying to us? Or are we forever babbling on about what we want, who needs His help, or what He should do for the world? Or do we stop at some point, shut our mouths, and sit quietly waiting on Him to speak to us? Do we even pause for a moment, in between our requests, to see if He has something to say about whatever we are talking to Him about?
How can we have a conversation with God and not let Him speak? Prayer is just a form of communication. It’s supposed to be a two-sided conversation. However, most of the time we treat it like it’s only one-sided.
We get on our knees, or walk around asking God for everything under the sun for ourselves, our families, our brethren in the Lord, and the world. We can spend hours doing this, but not once do we stop and say, “Ok, God. Your turn. What do you want to say to me?”
We’ve been brainwashed into thinking God is our genie. We go to Him with our requests and we expect Him to fulfill them, oftentimes, on our time schedule at that.
God wants to talk to us also. We are His children. Who doesn’t want their child to talk to them? Who doesn’t want their spouse to talk to them? How would you feel if your child or spouse only came to you when they wanted something?
I bet you would be mad. I know I would be. I would also feel like they don’t care about me. That all I’m good for is to give them things. That the only reason they would miss me if something happened to me is because they couldn’t get anything else from me.
Is that how you would feel? How do you think the King of the Universe feels? He actually created you and me. He actually made the decision to bring you to this earth to live. He did so to have a relationship with you. Yet, every time you come to Him it’s to ask for something. God wants more from you just like you would want more from your child or spouse or friend.
The simplest thing you can do is to stop periodically and ask God to speak to you, to give you ears to hear what His Spirit is saying, and to unstop your ears so you can hear Him clearly.
How Do You Know It’s God Speaking?
Once God starts speaking to you, how do you even know it’s Him? You have to get to know Him and the only way to do that is to study His Word to know if He would even say something like that? His Word shows you how He acts and reacts in certain situations. It shows whether He can keep His word or not, how merciful or giving He is, how tolerant or intolerant He can be.
You can know who He is by what He has already done, which is written in the Bible, His holy scriptures. It’s just like you can know what your child or spouse will and will not do. He created us in His image. We operate just like He does.
You can’t hear the truth if you don’t know the truth, which is written in the Bible.
For example, when my children were in high school my youngest child’s teacher asked for a meeting. I sat there listening to her say all of these things about my daughter. When she finished I asked her one simple question, “What did you do to her?”
“Nothing,” she replied. Then she continued, “Ms. Woodson, sometimes parents think they know their children, but they don’t. When they come to school they do things that they wouldn’t do at home.”
I stopped her and said, “That may be true, but I know my children. Now if you had called me up here for my other child, I would have believed you. But because you called me for this child, I know you’re lying. You had to do something to provoke her. It’s not in her character to act that way.”
See, I raised my children to trust me. They told me everything and I was honest with them about all the stuff I did growing up so they could learn from my mistakes. I’ve watched my girls closely, constantly praying over them. I made it my business to know them. I spent time with them, talking and disciplining them when necessary. Therefore, I knew the teacher was lying.
My youngest child had a quiet spirit. She didn’t start trouble, talk back to adults or anything bad. She balanced her sister out. All I could think of was that God thought it was a good idea to give me a break when He gave me her. Now as adults, I still have a great relationship with both of my girls. I thank God often for them.
You Must Know What God Will or Will Not Do
You have to know what God will or will not do also. He shows you His character through those actions. The more you learn the scriptures the more you’ll know Him and that no matter what, He can’t break His own rules. That would make Him a bad ruler. How could you trust Him if you don’t know whether or not He will keep His Word? His whole character is based on Him keeping His Word, just like ours are.
Build your faith up in God, by knowing what He will or will not do.
If you want to build your faith up in Him, I encourage you to read His Word daily. Pick a scripture that speaks of His character and memorize it that day. Speak it out loud several times a day so you can hear it and it can become a part of you. This way you will know whether or not it is Him speaking to you in your prayer time.
Next week, we’re going to talk about the second person you’re listening to and how to overcome that voice with a simple process guaranteed to work.
I’m curious to know. Do you allow God time to speak back to you? If so, how long? How do you recognize God’s voice? Leave your answers in the comments below.
Until next time, peace be unto you,
- James 1:19
- Proverbs 23:7
- Proverbs 12:14
- Proverbs 18:21