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Say What?

One day, Paul was writing a letter to the Roman church. He is quite clear about his intention in writing – he wants only the best for his readers. He goes one step further in explaining his intention – he wants their salvation. His real “heart feelings” are summed up in the words of Romans 10:3 when he says, “After all these years of refusing to really deal with God on his terms, insisting on making their own deals, they have nothing to show for it.” He goes on to outline the receiving of grace by faith - not a system of "works" - in the heart action of believing we are saved, not in the doing of 'actions' to get our salvation. Then he asks a question he says has been asked for years by almost every prophet or preacher along the way, "Is what I am saying really making any difference?" I think there are times we all ask this question - especially when it comes to sharing our faith. The very next thing he said caught my attention this morning: Have you ever equated trust with listening?

Before you trust, you have to listen. But unless Christ's Word is preached, there's nothing to listen to. (Romans 10:17)

The words which caught my focus today - BEFORE you trust, YOU have to listen. There are various stages we all go through prior to trusting someone, aren't there? For example, the first time someone told me dirt did not taste bad, you can imagine I was quite skeptical because it 'looked' and 'smelled' bad! It took some convincing on their part to actually get me to take the leap of faith to actually consume even a small amount of it! Yep, you heard me right - I ate the dirt! Now, this was probably not my wisest moment in life, but I have made it well past the mid-century mark now, so it probably did not do me any serious harm! Before I trusted what my friends were telling me, I had to listen to a whole lot of arguments about how it could not hurt me. Guess what? Most of what we do in life is done in faith. When you turn on the faucet to take your shower, you expect hot water to pummel down. When you go off to the grocer to buy groceries for the week, you trust the grocer will have stocked the shelves. You are doing all kinds of things "by faith". How did you develop this faith? You listened and then you acted!

You took driver's education, listening intently to the requirements of a good driver, then you acted upon what you had heard by actually driving the car! You listened to mom or dad tell you to jump in the shower to wash off the day's grunge and you found you actually enjoyed the clean feeling it left you with. As God moves in our lives, we are exposed to a whole lot of opportunities to learn. What we do with what we are exposed to determines the outcome we will realize in our lives! As we listen to what he tells us, we might actually find ourselves being moved to "apply" what it is we are hearing! Notice, I did not say we would AUTOMATICALLY apply what we heard. Obedience is seldom AUTOMATIC. In fact, it is a step of trust and trust is based on how well we are listening. After we listen well, we likely will find ourselves desiring to act well!

When I refer to our "listening" ability here, I am assuming we are doing the kind of listening which is "on purpose", with "sincere attention", and truly "in the moment". We actually probably do a whole lot of "second-hand" listening in our Christian walk - just like when we overhear bits and pieces of conversations and think we really know what others are talking about. We are probably actually surprised to find what we thought they were discussing is really not what we heard! We often aren't "intentional" in our listening - especially when it comes to opportunities God presents to us which are for the increasing of our faith! Trust is based on listening. Listening is based on attentive focus. Therefore, if we are to build our faith, it is the intentional application of what we are listening to which produces the building of our faith! BEFORE we trust - we have to listen. Not sure what God may be speaking into your lives this morning, but it is definitely worth the "listen"! Just sayin!

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